Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The Yankee Deli-Grocery has a new awning.

It’s a minor detail in a neighborhood where change is everywhere. But this fancy new awning hangs over the same small piece of Walton Avenue and – ironically or maybe not – says exactly the same thing: Yankee Deli-Grocery, Cold Beers, Cold Sodas, Sandwiches, Ice.

So why get a new one?

The counterman shrugs, “Are you buyin’ somethin’?”

Like most things in the Bronx, the Yankee Deli-Grocery has some of everything and not enough of anything. You could survive if it was your only means of supply, but survive is a broad term.

Within its single room you can find canned soups, beans, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. There is bread, rice, cereal, water, peanut butter, snacks, sauces, tobacco, newspapers, wine, and, of course, beer, soda, ice, and fresh sandwiches. There is even a rack near the door with underwear – men’s and women’s – and pantyhose in case of a run or a bank job.

No one would rob the Grocery because that would leave nowhere to spend the bank money. And they also just invested in that new awning.

“Neighborhood’s changin’,” the counterman explains. “New Stadium. New parks. New streets. Just tryin’ to keep up.”

But everything else is the same. You have to turn sideways and suck in your gut to move around and I had to wait for a five-year-old to pick out his bag of chips before I could get my orange juice.”

“It ain’t changin’ that much,” he smiles.

“Your change.”

Keep it.

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