July 26, 2021

In New York, on the Upper East Side, commerce is dying … in favor of e-commerce

After browsing Amazon, we find a CD player to buy, but the delivery time is four days. Too long, in the connected world. So let’s go to Best Buy, on the 86e Street in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side, for shopping. The cheap distribution chain store looks like a poorly stocked warehouse, many traders are there to sell next to nothing. An unfortunate CD player is on the shelves, which does not correspond to our wishes. Back to Amazon.

After a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, New York is coming back to life, but in a different way. Confusedly, everyone notices that things have changed. Life in this residential area is more welcoming, with covered terraces having conquered a lane on the huge avenues, which give Manhattan a European air. The quality of the menus is improving.

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The inhabitants have become accustomed to going out in their neighborhood on foot instead of going down into the city, beyond the still empty business districts. But behind this newfound gastronomic life, the commercial desert looms, in particular around metro stations, deprived of travelers for more than a year. The Barnes & Noble bookstore has definitely closed its doors. “Too big and too expensive”, had let the owner know. Poorly arranged, above all, this bookstore where the customer wandered without finding anything to arouse his curiosity. Again, back to Amazon, which delivers the next day.

The list of closed businesses is endless

We could add the cinema, which had closed its doors before the pandemic and will not reopen either: the premises are under construction. But also clothing stores, less and less numerous. The H&M chain has adapted its schedules for the pandemic, but reassures passers-by with a beautiful sign in front of their door: “Remember: H&M. com is open twentyfour hours a dayfour. “

The stroll around the 86e Rue is just a succession of disappointments: trying to close a telephone line at T-Mobile, on the way to the store where we had taken out the subscription. The store has moved across the street to more spacious premises. We are delighted in advance of the personalized service that promises to be, when the seller very kindly explains that the requested service is carried out … only by telephone.

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During the pandemic, New York’s digital seesaw accelerated, including in surviving stores. At the Fairway supermarket, customers are invited to scan their products as they shop with a smartphone app and to checkout themselves. Otherwise, it’s an endless wait in the line of the old traditional checkouts. The same goes for the CVS pharmacist.

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