As far back as I can remember, the northwest corner of St. Marks Place at Avenue A was a pizza parlor, namely Nino’s. Frankly speaking, I didn’t find it to be an especially distinctive pizzeria (I much preferred Sal’s down Avenue A a couple of blocks), but it sold perfectly reasonable, dependable fare, and it made perfect sense being at that end of a well-traveled strip, just across from Tompkins Square Park.
It vanished a while back, of course, as things in that neighborhood have had a tendency to do for the last several years. The space Nino’s occupied was dormant for a while. The rumors started circulating as to what was going to take its place. Many rightly feared the worst, expecting the go-to standbys like “a bank” or “another CVS.” What we’ve ended up with, if you ask me, is worse than either of those.
As unveiled via EV Grieve below, that corner is now occupied by a --- WAIT FOR IT -- Starbucks. `Cos ya know … we need another one of those.
The reasons to be dispirited by this are legion, but one supporter spoke up on Grieve’s Facebook thread….
Starbucks is a great job they pay for 100% of college tuition, paid parental leave, paid adoption leave, $12000 bonus to help adopt a child, and gave free legal counseling to employees who are affected by Trump's executive orders regarding immigrants. Also, Starbucks is like the #1 best place to be a homeless person. There's worse places to hate. Also I'm pretty sure the ones in the city pay $15/hr.
I’ll let you debate all that, if you like.
Personally speaking, the infestation of Starbucks in Manhattan reached an epidemic level years ago. Regardless of the myriad benefits they may offer their employees, the FACT remains that this borough does not need another one. At all.
Moreover, the Starbucking -– for want of a better term – of this particular corner in this particular neighborhood just feels like one more insult to its decimated character. There won't be anything left of it, at this rate.
Upon spotting EV Grieve’s photo, I was reminded of this post of mine from 2011, which focused on the photography of one Brooke “Silence of the Lambs” Smith, who documented the NYHC scene. She snapped the photo below of the same corner at some point in the early 80’s, prior to the arrival of even Nino's. It’s quite a contrast.
ADDENDUM from the great RB Korbet: That's Lazar and Blue (both RIP) in that photo. The deli was good for cigs, booze and Little Debbie cakes when they were only 25 cents.