Things have changed a lot in the mere fourteen months since I first called Ft. Greene, Brooklyn my home. Gnarly Vines, a wine shop catering to bookish, bespectacled white people, has opened across the street from neighborhood staple Crown Fried Chicken. A second Connecticut Muffin has added a decidedly more pronounced air of East Coast Elitism at the corner of Lafayette and Fulton. And a new Walgreens franchise has been erected on Myrtle and Clermont, promising to shake the foundations of pretty much every bodega in the surrounding ‘hood with its wide selection, competitive prices, and brand name comfort.
There’s one problem, though: the goddamn thing doesn’t look like it’s ever going to open. The construction of this particular Walgreens has been going on for just about a year now, and at the moment it’s been sitting there with its doors locked, seemingly completely stocked and ready to go, for at least two months at this point. As a bespectacled, bookish white person, I acknowledge the homogenization and the edging out of local authenticity that goes hand in hand with the increasing prevalence of chains, brands and franchises (and, let’s be honest, white people), but I’ve also been very much looking forward to not having to scour bodegas for a very specific brand of skin-rejuvenating, blackhead-preventing Neutrogena face wash, or walking twenty minutes to the Atlantic Target, only to find that everything’s out of stock, picked over, and generally out of sorts. So, over the course of the past year, I’ve accepted the Myrtle Ave. Walgreens into my conceptualization of the Ft. Greene landscape, and looked forward to the ease with which I would be able to stock up on my beautifying man-toiletries.