Type of Work

Research Paper - Limited Access

Publication Date



Anthropologist Ashanté M. Reese writes in her ethnography Black Food Geographies that “the grocer is where the neighborhood speaks.” In her work which focuses on low income black neighborhoods in DC, corner stores are often the only source of food in a given area. Indeed ‘corner stores’ have, in much food justice literature, become associated with ‘food deserts’ or the now-preferred term ‘food apartheid,’ the social phenomenon where supermarket redlining has left entire neighborhoods without access to fresh and healthy food. The corner store serves not only as the sole source of food for neighborhood residents (oftentimes selling only processed foods and liquor) but also becomes a sort of community center, an important part of peoples’ sense of place and belonging.

In my paper, I seek to investigate the role that corner stores, more often known as bodegas, play in New York City neighborhoods of varying racial and economic backgrounds. Does the role or meaning of the bodega change from neighborhood to neighborhood? What do these differences tell us about racial dynamics and social inequalities within the city? Throughout my research, I position the bodega as a site of change – a vital place of support for lower class communities of New York City that are key to addressing food poverty.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Center Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Julie Starr