Thursday, April 16, 2015

My Parisian Lifestyle

     I found out yesterday that the Met supermarket across the street from my apartment is shutting down and being replaced by a CVS.
     It was disconcerting information because ever since my first trip to Paris, I realized that I was living a Parisian lifestyle in Manhattan. In my Gramercy Park neighborhood I shop nearly every day for fresh produce, meat, wine and bread. The only things I don’t have access to are a patisserie and boulangerie.
     I feel as if I live in Paris, carrying home my baguette, bottle of pinot noir, croissant, chocolate or whatever. I live ten minutes from high-end stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Westside Market, Garden of Eden, a cheese shop and three wine stores within two blocks.  But when I don’t feel like going to any of them, I go to my tiny, old school Met supermarket. Besides milk, eggs and the usual canned staples, I can buy imported cheese, chocolate and sausage, European beer and junk food (I am, after all, an American).
     I’m in the Met every day picking up something, especially when I'm cooking dinner, usually four-to-five nights per week. I love to cook. It’s my hobby. I never miss Top Chef. I know the cashiers first names and have relationships with them. I like Jose, the manager. When I'm out of town on a vacation, I miss them.
Counting the CVS replacing Met, that will make three CVS stores within a four-block radius of my apartment. 
     Directly across the street is a Duane Reade and four blocks away is a Walgreens, and in a different direction two blocks away is another Walgreens. Oh, and another Duane Reade is two blocks in the other direction. Unfortunately, there are no old school supermarkets like Met nearby. The closest one is a Morton Williams seven blocks away. Oh, and seven blocks back. It’s pretty small too, unlike the gigantic suburban megastores that could house several airbuses. Paris is filled with old school supermarkets, most of which are even tinier than my Met.
     The Met employees are being driven out by increased rent: from $15,000 to $25,000 per month. Jose has worked for the company for 40 years and to keep a job with Met (not as manager), he would have to take a salary cut of $700 a week. All of the cashiers will be out of work. Some are older, in their 50s. They are frightened about finding employment. Others are in there 20s and are more hopeful they’ll land something.
     As for me, I will have to walk 14 blocks to the closest supermarket. But Morton Williams is not across the street, so I won’t be going that often, certainly not every day. It won’t be a place I can stop in on my way home to grab a baguette, imported Gruy√®re cheese or Norwegian beer.
Worst of all for me, the landlord who is almost doubling the Met’s rent, has taken away my Parisian lifestyle.
     C'est la vie!Quel dommage!