Thursday, May 20, 2010

Avenue A by the numbers

While walking north on Avenue A starting at Houston, I counted the number of storefronts. I decided to break the storefronts down into five categories:

1) Restaurants/pizza places/coffee shops (including places that serve alcohol, but where food is usually thought of first)

2) Bars

3) Mom-and-pop shops (questionable usage of that term, for sure, but I'm couting these as dry cleaners, bodegas, liquor stores, tattoo shops, laundromats, psychic readers, etc.)

4) Empty storefronts

5) Regular old businesses (Key Food, Citibank, the more higher-end speciality shops)

And here's what I counted (numbers could be off by one or two...I got distracted a few times...but they're pretty accurate):

Mom-and-pop shops: 39
Bars: 31
Restaurants/pizza shops/coffee shops: 28
Empty storefronts: 18
Businesses: 16

Now, you can quibble with these categories and numbers. For instance, would you consider Sidewalk a bar or restaurant? Or both? I put it in the restaurant category. Ditto for Yerba Buena on Seventh and A. And many of the restaurants also serve at least beer or wine. I'm not sure about a few places, like Ost Cafe on 12th and A.

So, there are plenty of places to get a drink on Avenue A... and there would have at least been one more addition if El Camion had been approved Monday at the CB3/LA meeting.

And for some reason I took photos of 16 places that serve beer or wine above 10th Street on Avenue A ... several of which I like. (I wanted to be clear that this wasn't some sort of condemnation of bars.)

I included the empty space that El Camion wanted at 12th and A... plus the fish market/restaurant that will be opening some time next to Hi-Fi.

Anyway, if my shoddy math skills are working... Of the 132 storefronts on Avenue A:

30% are mom-and-pop shops
23% are bars
21% are restaurants/cafes/pizza shops
14% are empty
12% are businesses

Previously on EV Grieve:
There are 21 empty storefronts along Avenue A


Anonymous said...

How did you count Ray's? It serves food like a restaurant, but the spirit seems pretty mom-and-pop.

ev grieve said...

good questio re: ray's. i counted it as a mom-and-pop.

RyanAvenueA said...

Nice work--thanks for doing what I've been...I'd say waiting for a nice day but really I've just been too lazy to do that.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I love that you took the time to do this. Like you, I am not against bars, but I am against there being bar overkill like there is on Avenue A between 12th and 14th Streets.

Also, it would just make the neighborhood more interesting to have other types of businesses. In my dreams, Alphabets or another store like that would move to the space on Avenue and 12th where The Raven used to be.

Billy said...

Did you get a number for banks? Because those are enemy #1, imo (until I need one of course). Also, chains (not NYC ones, but national)?

ev grieve said...

hmm, what are there, three bank branches? the chase on second and a, the citibank bt 3rd and 4th snd whatever that is on the southeast corner on 4th. chains are at a minimum too.... so far.

prodigal son said...

We're talking fourteen blocks, right? That is about two bars a block, ever block, which is overkill (and isn't Avenue B worse?). A bar a block would be alot of bars and that is half the number.

However, I think the reason for the oversaturation of bars is that commercial rents are too high to support everything else. The bars are a symptom of what is wrong with the city, not the cause.

Anonymous said...

The bars are a cause because of the noise and insanity they generate. It's crazy to think that you can open a bar on the first floor of a residential building!

By the way, I can't believe anyone can even afford to drink in this economy. Where are all these people getting the money to party?

EV Grieve said...

Hi Prodigal Son,

Hmmm, good question on A vs. B and bar saturation... I'd guess A has more bars... I should count that too...

Agreed about the high rents too... too much for, say, a tailor or something useful...

Harpy said...

I wish you could break the bars into categories,such as fun bars and douche-bag bars.

EV Grieve said...

Good idea, Harpy... though that's awfully subjective... or maybe fun places that turn douchey after a certain time...

Nic Fit said...

"It's crazy to think that you can open a bar on the first floor of a residential building!"

Uh...a lot of these bars were here decades before you were. Mixed use is what makes New York great. Please go live in suburban Long Island.