East Village Counterculture Ambiance Threatened by Starbucks
Starbucks is making a move into St. Mark’s Place in New York’s East Village, and the trendy hipsters in the area are not too happy about it. The East Village has long been the home of counterculture in the Big Apple and traditionally was home to head shops and tattoo parlors along with grungy bars and plenty of punks. These days the landscape is changing and the locals are not too thrilled about the direction it is heading.
Protests have been occurring outside of St. Mark’s Place where Starbucks will be opening to demand more measures to help protect independent store owners from their corporate counterparts. The activists claim that Starbucks is the latest, but not the only chain store that is threatening to ruin the counterculture reputation of their neighborhood.
This has been a major problem across NYC in general as independent smaller stores are getting moved out because the price of leases has skyrocketed. Trader Joe’s and Target are also looking at spots in East Village making even more small business owners nervous.
This particular rally aimed at Starbucks and any chain that wants to move into the East Village was organized by local groups and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The rally asked local businesses and community members to speak up and vote for a ‘special business district’ distinction.
The group of counterculture activists clearly stated that they are not attempting to prevent Starbucks from moving in, but would like regulations in place to make sure that the entire area is not eaten up by large business chains. In other words, they don’t mind a few intruders, but don’t want to lose the charm of the place they are paying dearly for to call home.