The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 August 2005

Latteral movement

The story goes — at least, Lewis Black tells it that way — that the world will end when there's a Starbucks built across the street from another Starbucks.

It didn't happen, but for some it's close enough; for Deanna Zandt, the world ends when Starbucks comes to the Lower East Side of Manhattan:

I've been working with a number of local organizations to address the serious problem of hyperdevelopment here; not only are the people being removed, but the physical character of the neighborhood is being destroyed. Just Saturday night, I wandered over to my former place of employment for a show to discover that one of the last holdouts against a new development had finally been demolished. Erased. Cease to exist. We've been working on campaigns and joining forces with other struggles against hyperdevelopment to address zoning, the City Council selling out the residents, etc. So far, load of energy has poured in — I never thought I'd see the day where radicals from the Tompkins Square riots would be hosting zoning forums, but it's important and it's actually happening. L.O.C.O. has been battling the violations on Orchard and Ludlow. P.S. 64 is being saved, and folks are fighting for St. Brigid's Church. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is stepping into the fray. It's mind-blowing!

Starbucks is the urban Wal-Mart, and is a powerfully nasty symbol and metaphor for the homogenization of America. To have it arrive at the home of counterculture is just plain unacceptable. I can't stand the thought of losing Guss' Pickles, or the Santo Domingo Bakery, or having to pay for wifi access because the Lotus Lounge closed up shop.

I still think, though, that the ultimate in Starbucks density — and perhaps the end of the world — will come when they open a Starbucks inside another Starbucks.

(Via Gridskipper.)

Posted at 11:54 AM to Dyssynergy

No no no, the world won't end until a Starbucks opens up inside another Starbucks.

That's when the Big Crunch will take place.

Posted by: Ian at 12:18 PM on 9 August 2005

... and that's what I get for posting a comment without actually reading the final line of the post.

Oy vey.

Posted by: Ian at 12:38 PM on 9 August 2005

I'm holding out for the starbucks and oil change combo ... good god ... is nothing sacred :)

Posted by: ron at 12:50 PM on 9 August 2005

"Starbucks is the urban Wal-Mart, and is a powerfully nasty symbol and metaphor for the homogenization of America. To have it arrive at the home of counterculture is just plain unacceptable."

Oh for god's sakes. It's just a coffee shop selling overpriced drinks. "The home of counterculture" -- oh give me a goddamn break. Someone's quite the drama queen. For one thing, the "home of counterculture" is frickin' huge -- when I went to New York a few years ago I was under the impression that Greenwich Village was this teensy little quaint district a few blocks square. My eye it was -- it's a district as big as a medium-sized town, and it goes on for miles and miles. Also, it's about as "counterculture" as the Seinfeld show, it's supposed avant-garde patina a product of advertising as much as genuine culture. Sure there are some interesting little places there. But if they sink because they can't compete with the "Walmart of coffee shops" without handouts and government intervention that's just too damn bad. Maybe these fragile, independent businesses should figure out just what it is that Starbucks et al offer people that has made them so successful instead of whining and complaining and mocking the people who go to Starbucks. In my case it happens to be the fact that the coffee shops in my area simply couldn't compete in the quality of their product and service -- yes, Orlando couldn't produce an independently owned or competing chain of coffee shops that made better coffee than Starbucks. That's pretty pathetic; don't tell me that the famous Village is in the same sad boat Orlando is in.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 6:30 PM on 9 August 2005

I seem to recall seeing Starbucks across the street from other Starbucks when I was in Seattle. Not directly across the street, but on the same block on opposite sides of the street.

The thing that struck me funniest, though, was the drive-thru Starbucks. I don't think they're as rare as I thought when I first saw it, but they don't have drive-thru Starbucks in New York City. Of course, they don't have drive-thru fast food either, and I was familiar with that concept.

Posted by: Lesley at 7:47 PM on 9 August 2005

And here I thought having a Starbucks open in Newnan, Ga -- home of Alan Jackson and birthplace of notorious Klondike Gold Rush scoundrel Soapy Smith -- was as near the end of the world as, well, Newnan itself.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:59 AM on 10 August 2005

Vancouver has a Starbucks kitty-corner across from another Starbucks & there is a third coffee shop on the other corner. If I remember correctly, on the fourth corner is a Mountain Dew machine.

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 10:01 PM on 10 August 2005