Text and photos by Stacie Joy
There’s an upbeat atmosphere at Ben’s Deli on Avenue B this Thursday night.
Local tall man Bobby is playing a DJ set from atop a stack of milk crates and plywood as curious passersby duck into the store and dance to his synth-driven set of house and disco.
Ben’s Deli has been a meeting place, a shelter in the storm (literally – Ben fed the neighborhood during the dark aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012), a place to grab a frosty drink, some munchies, a travel-size bottle of mouthwash/toothbrush/toothpaste combo pack, and back in the day: loosies, lotto tix, rolling papers.
It’s had a starring role in the Netflix series “Russian Doll” and my heart. It always smells faintly of smoke; some products don’t have any business in a bodega — or do they? — and a revolving cast of characters who can explore EBT fraud, middle-of-the-night Maalox purchases, and a mix-and-match 6-pack of beer.
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