Tag Archive | Bodega

Gem Spa Bodega Transforms Into a schitibank

Gem Spa Schitibank
All Photos By Gail

If you’ve passed by Gem Spa, the legendary East Village bodega that is home to the city’s Best Egg Cream (#BestEggCream) at any point since September 11th of this year, you may have done a double, or even a triple take. We know that St. Mark’s Place has become increasingly gentrified, but is Gem Spa now a bank, or wait, what is going on here, exactly?

Gem Spa Schitibank

While it has been rumored that a citibank is slated to take over the corner lot which has been home to  Gem Spa since 1957, fear not: this an art installation meant to draw attention to, but also satirize, the phenomenon known as “Disappearing New York.” It isn’t very pretty.

Disclaimer text running across the bottom of the sign above reads:

schitibank has kept the historical appeal to this building to absorb their customer base. This schiti location is not affiliated with any other schiti locations. We don’t mean to gentrify, as schitibank is co-opting this space with Gem Spa to bring you an authentic banking, egg cream and vaping experience. Every customer is on surveillance cameras. Smile, you’re on camera.

Schitibank Storefront

The Gem Spa Schitibank installation is the work of Tommy Noonan and Doug Cameron of boutique marketing firm DCX Growth Accelerator, who are known for their ‘Artisanal’ publicity stunts (Google them and be very impressed).

Gem Spa Schitibank
Click Image to Enlarge So You Can Read the Fine Print!

God is definitely in the details here. Promotional posters for the ‘bank’s’ various perks and services include artwork by Robert Mapplethorpe as well as the likenesses of The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

Gem Spa Schitibank
Click Image to Enlarge for Detail

Gem Spa Schitibank

Schiti Identity Theft Madonna

More posters and props can be found inside the bodega!

Schitibank ATM
Schiti ATM!

Gem Spa Schitibank Exterior

We clearly do not need another bank in the village (or anywhere in NYC, for that matter) but we do need a cool bodega that’s been around forever, and we need our delicious egg creams! Gem Spa is located at the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. Drop in and drop some cash next time you’re in the hood. Better yet, make a special trip to visit, so you can see the schitibank installation before they take it down!

Gem Spa Schitibank

Ron English and High Times Magazine Present: Popaganja Pop Up Cannabis Bodega!

Popaganja Brand
Image Source

If you dig the art of Ron English, and you also like to smoke weed, put down the bong for a minute and read on. English is taking his signature Popaganda brand and teaming up with High Times Magazines’ newly established Lifestyle & Apparel division to create a line of merchandise you can buy both online and at a pop up retail boutique and art gallery, opening in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, October 25th.

Popaganja Unisex Hoodie

For the pop up Cannabis Bodega, Ron English takes his signature brand-parody style and gives it a cannabis twist. Think: a KFC container that says THC, or the words Shredded Weed emblazoned on a Shredded Wheat cereal box. Oh, the cleverness.

Popganja Hoodie With Characters

And, I think I know where all of these photos were taken: Right Here!
Popaganja Clothing Fatigue Jacket
I am guessing that they will also have Ron’s art, and hilarious art toys, on sale in the store as well. Find out more about Popaganja, and (if you’re not in Manhattan and can’t make it into the shop), buy stuff online at This Link.

The Ron English x High Times Popaganja Pop Up Cannabis Bodega Will be Open From October 25th until November 8th, 2016 at The Wood Shoppe, Located at 147 Orchard Street, LES, NYC.

Popaganja Flyer

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Homer Simpson Bodega Mural

Homer Simpson Bodega Mural
All Photos By Gail

Homer Simpson dreams of donuts that rain sprinkles down on his head in this fun mural on the front of an East Village bodega, painted by street artist Jerkface.

Located on Avenue C at the corner of 12th Street, just cross from the C Town Market.

Mural Detail

MacArthur’s Park is Melting in The Dark

A Cake in the Rain
Image Source

Holy shit. I was just in the local bodega buying a bottle of dish washing liquid and a housewarming gift for some friends I’m visiting later (pot holder / oven mitt / dish towel set – so cute!) and Donna Summer’s extended disco dance mix of “MacArthur Park.” came on. And I almost lost my shit right in there the store, because that song is just insane. You know, it’s Donna’s version that goes on for, like, 20 minutes and just takes off on its own little journey? Hot damn, what a great fucking song.

When I was a kid in the ’60s, listening to Richard Harris’s overwrought, melodramatic version of this arguably enigmatic song, I thought the lyrics were meant to be taken literally, and I could not comprehend why the fuck someone would leave a fucking cake out in the rain. I mean, what the hell? It used to just kill me; wondering why the person singing had left what must have obviously been a very delicious cake (hence the degree of chagrin this act caused) out in the rain? And why would they “never have that recipe again”? What did it all mean, and why did it feel like the world was ending over some fancy pastry every time he sang that line? Even back then, I was a big fan of cake, so “MacArthur Park” never failed to cause me significant emotional distress. Because, anyone can see that cake left out in the rain is bad news.

Of course, now that I’ve lived life to adulthood, and had the opportunity to have my heart stomped on and ground into tiny pieces of detritus, I understand that the lyrics to “MacArthur Park” are a metaphor for tragically lost love. It’s a sad song, for sure.

Even now, I would still rather have the cake.