NYC: Heavy on the Food Chains, No DQ in Sight…

I’m a proud New Yorker — one who has always bragged about the eclectic nature of the city. Different cultures, different people, different foods — a place to get anything you want, when you want it and fast. One of a kind. Original. Well, maybe in it’s hay-day, but can’t deny the “mallification” of the city these days.

Retail stores have pretty much pushed out any “mom and pop” type shop you can imagine. In the course of a city block, you’ll pass at least one of the following stores (in some cases multiples of each): Starbucks, Duane Reade, CVS, or Subway. Earlier this year I wrote a post about how I’m currently working in the same area of Manhattan where I had worked three years ago. Have I noticed a difference in the stores in the area? You betcha.

For instance, when I was working on 39th and 3rd a mere three years ago you couldn’t find a Dunkin Donuts. Now, there’s 3 Dunkin Donuts in a three block radius. No joke.

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I saw Gothamist post this data compiled by The Center for Urban Future ranking national retail stores in NYC, but I was. It was eye-opening to actually see the store tally and breakdown for boroughs.

Dunkin’ Donuts actually tops the list with 341 locations throughout Manhattan, but Starbucks leads Manhattan with a whopping 186 stores! Again, not really surprising when put in context since my office is surrounded by Starbucks with six stores in a three block radius, but still crazy to process. Do we REALLY need that many coffee shops? Aren’t NYers wound up enough?

The interesting stat to note is that there are actually more Subway chains throughout NYC than there are Mc Donalds — maybe we should thank Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” for that.

I do have to give Gothamist props for this astute observation “yet despite the fact that the city’s small businesses are being rapidly replaced with chain stores you can find in any depressing strip mall across America, there still isn’t a single Dairy Queen in the five boroughs. And that burns.”

I’m with ya man. There’s nothing more defeating than seeing those Blizzard commercials on TV and not being able to get one — ever — unless you go down south somewhere. That goes for Sonic too!! Check out the rest of the table below…


5 responses to “NYC: Heavy on the Food Chains, No DQ in Sight…

  1. I think about that all the time. I’m a Chicago girl who loves Dunkin Donuts. But now that I live in San Francisco, I can’t go a day without seeing 5 DD commercials, and yet there isn’t a DD in the entire state of California. It’s enough to make me cry…well not really, but I do miss those munchkins

  2. Bianca – I feel your pain! Why must they tease us so?!

  3. expensivemistakescheapthrills

    wow – i didn’t know that the starbucks phenomenon was that crazy. we dont have a single one here (obviously – i’m from south africa) but i reckon it wont be long before they try conquer the rest of the world. after all, we do have a few dunkin donuts here!

  4. I can’t agree with you more. As a nati boy at heart (Cincinnati) There are a few local chains from home I would die to get my hands on. There are even some national chains I forget the taste of like Sonic for instance. Any business meeting near a subway hub (42nd St., 59th on the west side, etc.) you will find boarded up shoe shines, and delis that are abandoned do to lack of business, and you see BK and Subway (the sandwich shop) thriving. Why is that?

    But there are enclaves of the city where the mom and pop shops are the reg, and the chains are few and far between. For example The East Village, Chelsea, and pretty much where ever bar districts are thriving. I work in DUMBO, and some of my co-workers would kill for a chain store of some sort. We have to hike to Brooklyn Heights to get the goods.

  5. Denton, good point. There’s definitely some sections of Manhattan where you can avoid the mass retailers, but pretty far and few in between. Truthfully, I don’t know what I’d do without the CVS on the corner where my office — it’s saved my life quite a few times thus far.

    I guess people just gravitate towards what they know, i.e., chain stores. If you’ve been in one Starbucks you’ve been in them all – same with Subway, etc. Everyday I argue with my co-workers. They LOVE to go to Chipotle for lunch. I can’t see the appeal $10 to stand in line for 30 mins to get a burrito that doesn’t even taste good (most of the time). I’d rather hit up one of the smaller non-chain mexican stops near my office and enjoy something a little more authentic. But that’s just me! 🙂

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