The East Village's ongoing 7-Eleven "problem" has caught the attention of the Times. The paper of record today takes a look at the ongoing neighborhood fight against the metastasizing chain and one line in particular caught our eye: "A few 7-Eleven stores have already opened in the gentrifying East Village." Wait, what? Is it even appropriate to call the East Village "gentrifying" anymore? While yes, the neighborhood still has some economic diversity (especially further East) this is also a neighborhood with its own Standard Hotel, an historic district designation from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, tenements converted to mansions and more. The gentrification ship has sailed. (Castaways have regrouped on ProCro Island.)

But 7-Eleven. The newest threat for the anti-7-Eleven set these days is the planned opening for an outpost on East 11th Street and Avenue A—to join recent neighborhood additions including the Bowery 7-Eleven, the St. Mark's 7-Eleven and the 14th Street 7-Eleven (y'know, the one next door to the IHOP). It seems some locals have suddenly noticed that the "boring and bland and not New York" Slurpee-emporium is really serious about its threats to take over the city and isn't afraid of crossing into the letter avenues to do it. But is threatening untenable SF-style bans on chains actually going to do anything?

The issue here is that those trying to fight the expansion—which, we noted last week, does not yet seem to include many actual bodega owners—are doing it to try and protect a neighborhood that is long, long gone.

Look, I grew up in the East Village. A 7-Eleven is now operating in an old kitchen supply store that was my elementary school bus stop. But it's worth noting that not one person I know from the old neighborhood has ever gone into a 7-Eleven except to use the Citibank ATMs (though I'm sure there has been a Slurpee slip-up or two). The people who shop at 7-Eleven? The people who are making its recent expansion such terrifying success? They've been shopping there for their entire lives. They are not going to be shamed out of shopping—and at this point there are a lot more of them then us. As a 7-Eleven spokesperson put it to the Times:

The company had decided that “a high concentration of young adults and young families on a budget” made the East Village a good spot to open stores.

“We want to make the lives of neighborhood residents better by offering a dependable and convenient environment with value-priced goods,” she wrote. “If we fulfill that mission, the community will support these stores as they have in other areas of New York City.


The thing is, they will fulfill that mission (for the people they are targeting). So. Pick a fight you can win, guys. Because short of a revolution this one is DOA.