The scene outside of Gourmet Heaven — the new upscale deli and grocery proclaimed to be inexpensive by University Properties — was perfect. Six well-dressed Yalies, probably straight out of a prep school on New York’s Upper East Side, chatted outside the newly opened store. They gleamed in the early spring sunlight like trendy young adults from a WB show.
Gourmet Heaven has arrived. And if the six Yalies outside the store are any indication, so has the primary clientele: Yale students who could not stand to go to Krauszer’s because it was overpriced, not upscale and full of townies. Once Krauszer’s leaves, the rest of the student body will have no choice but to follow.
University Properties scoured all over Manhattan for the perfect upscale, inexpensive grocery store. Had they bothered to travel to Queens, Brooklyn or even Chinatown, they would have discovered that stores looking like Krauszer’s are the norm, not the exception. Even in New York City, not everyone buys grapefruits and milk in style.
How destructive is it for Yale to kick tenants out and bring new ones in continuously? In 10 or 20 years, Gourmet Heaven will likely be tagged as an overpriced and dingy dump that needs to go. They will be pointed towards Interstate 95, like Krauszer’s and Store 24 before it. Origins will no longer be trendy, Urban Outfitters will no longer be in style and Ivy Noodle will somehow fall out of favor because University Properties staff that year hates Chinese food.
And so they will also be shown the exit like Broadway Pizza. Businesses that pay their rent, maintain store quality through good service and periodic renovations and stay open late to serve students nonetheless face the threat of eviction.
University Properties may pat themselves on the back for throwing out a legitimate business in favor of Gourmet Heaven’s beautiful wooden exterior and meticulously organized interior, but students are more likely to notice how similarly overpriced the new store is. Oriental snacks cost nearly twice as much as those in the Asian goods store on Whitney Avenue. Small boxes of cereal cost $4.49. The buffet had not been set up yet, but I have never seen a cheap buffet in either attractive or rundown Manhattan delis.
Needless to say, the high prices found in Krauszer’s have not been corrected. Upheaval of businesses without solving students’ chief complaints shows a lack of foresight and consideration for those evicted.
Figuring that Gourmet Heaven could not overcharge on Snapple drinks any more than Krauszer’s, I bought a peach-flavored Snapple iced tea. Not surprisingly, it tasted like any of the peach-flavored Snapple iced teas I purchased from Krauszer’s. How has Broadway improved when the Snapple I buy from Gourmet Heaven tastes the same and costs the same as the Snapple I buy from Krauszer’s?
Henry Wong is a senior in Davenport College.