Jeremiah Moss is the pseudonymous creator of Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, a local blog launched in 2007 to document NYC's ever-changing landscape. For the past 10 years, Moss has meticulously chronicled the closures of everything from classic punk bars to cafes with cult followings. This summer, his book, Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, will be published by HarperCollins.
Over a decade ago, I began to notice that the New York I loved was vanishing. While the city is always changing, this change was much bigger, more intense, and very specific. The local diversity of the streetscape was getting wiped out by a global corporate monoculture of chain stores and luxury. In that moment of crisis, I started the blog "Vanishing New York" to record the closures of local businesses and expose the phenomenon I call hyper-gentrification, a powerful force that's killing the soul of the city.
Almost without variation, the shops I chronicled were forced to shutter because the rent was hiked to impossible heights, or a developer bought the building and demolished it. What replaced them was almost always a chain store, a luxury shop, or a bank.
Every year, we lose countless small businesses. To take stock of some of the biggest losses, I picked one for each year of the blog's life, from 2007 to 2017. My choices are personal and idiosyncratic; for some years, the choice was easy. For others, not so much.