“Hello, I would like a grape blunt wrap, this tall can of Bud, and a panini, please.” — Average Customer
“I’ve only been in there once and never want to go back. I felt so uncomfortable; it’s run by upscale Muslims.” — E.J., notable T.F. historian
By now, you know that fears over life having to continue at the T.F. without a franchise deli were premature. A remodeled Tompkins Finest Deli recently opened, but it is clear that we have a frail, haphazardly fancied-up version of the original, which seems disinterested in catering to its most loyal consumer base.
The first red flag was the fabric signage. “Bodega” signs made of fabric typically denote Korean ownership. Though it is unlikely that there is a masked Korean store lord ruling over the Middle Eastern or “upscale Muslim” employees, the store’s management has adopted many of the Korean grocer hallmarks, namely an all-around spike in prices (though not exactly reaching the inevitable overpricing that exists at all New York corner stores with Korean owners.) Saddest of all, these price hikes were likely instated to cover costs of trivial matters — employee uniforms (Really? What happened to the workers still desperately holding on the tall tee craze of 2003?), better lighting, and a selection of baked goods.
If yesterday’s sight of a white guy dressed in business-casual attire, purchasing a red velvet cupcake from a place that previously only specialized in Dutch Masters, Arizona, Newport, and UTZ products was not a blatant-enough indicator of shifting economic interests at Tompkins Finest, they even had the nerve to get rid of their Tropical Fantasy account. Skateboarder staples like 12 oz. cans of brown sugar water, small Poland Spring bottles, and candy bars have remained at $1, but it is easy to see that we are not wanted here.
A hollow remnant of a once-slightly-below-average bodega is better than no bodega, but it’s unfortunate that Cafe Pick Me Up is the only TF-day-one institution still standing on Avenue A between 9th & 10th.
In brighter news:
Extended: Daylight saving begins Sunday. Sun: Sunny. High: 60. Mon: Partly sunny. Evening showers. High: 65. Tue: Warm. High: 67.
— NY1 Weather (@NY1weather) March 9, 2012
Many know that “Closed For Renovations” is often code for “Closed Because the Landlord Raised the Rent to a Price Only a Multi-Million Dollar Chain Could Afford,” but Tompkins’ wishful thinking lead us to believe otherwise. The bodega across from Tompkins officially has a “Business For Sale” sign on its front window, after a month-and-a-half of leading its devout skateboard-riding consumer base to believe that it was merely undergoing a non-existant renovation.
So, we salute you, Avenue A Mini Mart, for most likely earning more money from skateboarders’ pockets than ABC and Autumn combined over the past ten years.
We salute you for selling quarter snacks when they were still a quarter, and allowing the expired ones with the old price tag to sit on your display late into 2004 when Little Debbie doubled the price.
We salute you for providing the sugar, tobacco, and alcohol that has inevitably heightened Tompkins’ collective risk for diabetes, lung cancer, and liver failure throughout these years.