Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Perk of Gentrification

When I first moved into my apartment a year and a half ago, I was one of perhaps three white people living on my block. Since that time, the number has grown exponentially and at a highly visible rate. Modern apartment buildings are slowly springing up between the Brownstones. The incongruously cute coffee shop on the corner is packed from open to close. But the most significant change I've noticed? Is at the grocery store.

It started slowly, with a small section of withered-looking "organic" produce nestled between the okra and jicama. Then, in recent weeks, something bigger has been thrown into motion. Aisles have been stacked with boxes. Workmen squeeze through the narrow spaces to build the shelves up higher.

And then, last week, there it was, atop a shelf in the dairy case like a shining beacon from beyond the void of low-quality imitation cheese...

My brand of pickles.

I nearly wept with joy as I scooped this entirely unnecessary luxury item into my basket and practically skipped to the register.

Today, it was even more apparent.

Previously the selection of "organic" or "high end" packaged foods had been limited to approximately 4 square feet of shelf space. But now? Half an aisle! Of fancy things I will never buy but am so gratified to have available withing three blocks of my house. No more going to Manhattan for Traditional Medicinals tea or Annie's Naturals Organic Ketchup! (Which, FYI, is even better than Heinz and contains no high fructose corn syrup.) And look! Over there! The obscure flavor of Campbell's soup that is my hangover cure-all!

And then... I saw it. The one item I cannot live without, that previously I've had to walk a mile and a half or else travel into Manhattan to procure. Sitting in the aisle, case upon case, just waiting to be stacked in the cooler...

The original, milk-flavoured Coffee Mate.

And it was even fat free.

There, beside the dairy case, I succumbed to a full on joy-gasm.

While the process of gentrification may be negative on many, many levels, I've got to confess...

I absolutely love what it's done to my grocery store.


Elizabeth said...

That's definitely a perk! I am still waiting for my closest grocery to start carrying some of the things I need, but for now I have to go just a little out of my way to Whole Foods.

Jess said...

This is so exciting! Congratulations.