We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to fall for months now, ever since Bleecker Street Records was pushed out of its longtime home at 239 Bleecker Street in August by a massive rent increase that would have required the record store to pay $27,000 a month. What purveyor of luxury goods would fill the home from which the vinyl mecca drew its name? (Miraculously, Bleecker Street Records found a space around the corner at 188 West 4th.)
Now we know, h/t Grub Street: a Starbucks will be moving in.
Which inspires the almost pleasant sensation of throwback outrage. It could, after all, be worse. It could be yet another frozen yogurt shop, like the one that replaced Bleecker Bob’s Records. Or a juice bar, like the Liquiteria (it even sounds gross) that is taking over Gray’s Papaya (which, to be fair, also sounded kind of gross).
At least coffee is at least vaguely, potentially edgy, something of a vice, rather than yet another fluorescent-lit shop catering to the latest stupid health trend. (Isn’t the consumption of frozen yogurt and $7 kale and beet juice painful enough without fluorescent lighting and hard, plastic chairs?) We never thought we’d be saying this, but it could be worse. This was, after all, a space that was promoted as being close to L’Occitane and 16 Handles. And Starbucks, at least, performs the vital community service of providing an unlocked bathroom available to the masses.
Still, our dimmed outrage at what should clearly be an outrage leaves us almost woozy with regret and sadness. For the days when it was not a foregone conclusion that everything cool and interesting, singular or unusual would be replaced by something awful at worst and anodyne at best. For the days when opening yet another branch of coffee shop that already has 280 locations in the city, as Grub Street reported, in a neighborhood that is already blessed with a plentitude of good coffee shops, would not elicit a lazy grumble, a shrug of the shoulders or a sigh of resignation.