Nearly five years ago I wrote a long rant about my increasingly disappointment with New York City after I came home from a recent trip to visit my then-husband’s relatives in New York City. At that time I felt despair and disappointment over the disturbing trend of landlords and developers pushing out longtime locally-owned mom-and-pop stores in favor of renting that space to corporate-owned chain stores from other cities (and even other countries) because these stores were willing to pay double, triple, or even quadruple the rent that the local stores had been paying. The major result is that shopping in New York City is no longer the unique experience that it once was because many of the shopping areas had stores that were no different from what one would find in suburban shopping malls throughout the United States.

I came across this blog called Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, which is documenting the numerous local businesses that have been forced to relocate elsewhere or even close altogether in order to make room for the chain stores. The last time I went to New York City was in 2011 and it looks like the pace of the corporate chains moving in has totally accelerated since then, which totally sucks. 😦

UPDATE (January 21, 2015): One day after I uploaded this entry, I discovered this video via Dangerous Minds. It’s called Doin’ Time in Times Square and it’s a 40-minute film documenting what Times Square was like in the 1980’s when director Charlie Ahearn pointed his camera outside his window in his 43rd Street apartment. As this film shows, Times Square was literally a hellhole (complete with porn theaters, prostitutes, and frequent street fights) prior to the Walt Disney Company taking over the New Amsterdam Theater in 1993, which kicked off a total revitalization of the area. I’ve visited Times Square a few times since all those renovations and, while it’s great that the renovations got rid of the worst of the Times Square’s problems, I’m not sure that replacing those porn theaters with the same kind of stores that one would find in a suburban shopping mall (such as Toys R Us) is that great an alternative. I would’ve preferred something similar to what I saw in the Camden area of London back in 2007 where I saw a bunch of funky shops (complete with facades like these) coupled together with local pubs and cafes—the majority of which were locally owned and not part of any corporate chain. While the renovations of Times Square got rid of the violence and social problems depicted in Doin’ Time in Times Square, I would’ve preferred a different solution other than just a suburban shopping mall retread with more television screens of various sizes broadcasting all kinds of stuff both day and night.

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