24 October 2007

What? No Dunkin' Donuts?

The chains creep in, year by year, and one day you're strolling down a street you thought you knew and suddenly realize its entire length has been ripped out body and soul and replaces by some strip from deepest suburbia.

The stretch of Broadway between Lincoln Center and 72nd Street never had much personality, but now it bears no resemblance whatsoever to, well, you know, Broadway. I once knew it well; I worked in Lincoln Center for a time. It was an unpretty and low-slung thoroughfare. But it had pizzerias, cute restaurants, a five and dime store of sorts, a florist or two and a scruffy post office.

Now it begins with a Barnes and Noble and ends with a McDonald's. In between are a Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, Duane Reade, Chase Bank (among several other banks), Banana Republic, and any other ubiquitous corporate entity you care to mention. I don't think there are more than three or four independently run businesses along the span, and those are affairs so tiny you wouldn't even notice them.

It's a crushing walk. Do yourself a favor. Get on the 1 train at 66th Street and take it one stop to 72nd. Spare your eyes.

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