New York is experiencing record levels of bodega fetishism, a deepening crisis that has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. (Some theorists believe this is because bodegas are one of the few places we can still go.) And today, current candidate for mayor of New York Andrew Yang fanned the flames of bodega politics, tweeting a video of himself in a store, buying a banana and bottled teas, saying “New York loves its bodegas! … I love bodegas so much.”
What happened next was like that scene in Blue Planet 2 where the whale carcass, freshly sunken to the bottom of the sea, gets devoured by weird sea creatures.
Many mocked Yang for calling the store a bodega, pointing out that the clean, well-lit store was more like “a whole ass supermarket,” with some going so far as to compare it to Whole Foods. (The ultimate slight for any food-selling business in New York City.)
So, was it a bodega? Critics were split: Obviously, talk of BECs and chopped cheese figured in, as did bodega cats (because we are right-minded New Yorkers, Grub Street is extremely pro-bodega cat, as well as hardware store cat, bar cat, etc.). Still others pointed out that many bodegas have been renovated and offer the brighter, more antiseptic aesthetic of Yang’s apparent deli of choice.
Yang’s awkward pandering was on full display in the video, which certainly didn’t help his cause, but that is beside the point in this particular investigation. The question is: Did Andrew Yang walk into a bodega, or some other type of business that he mistakenly called a bodega? And the official Grub Street verdict is: Who cares? Call it a bodega or a deli or whatever else you want. There are probably more pressing issues that New Yorkers — even New Yorkers who use Twitter — should care about, like whether Harden and Kyrie will truly be able to coexist on the Nets, and what Knicks fans should think of seeing their team relegated to second-tier status in their own city.