movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Thu Nov 06 2014, 10:31pm | 14 comments
Soon, everywhere will look like America.
Sorry about that.
well to be fair, we have Top Shop and Lush here in NYC — so we could say the same about london!
And Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero and Soho House.
It was very dispiriting to go to Sydney a few years ago and see that ¾ of the shops were the same names I’d see at home.
I know…dull, dull, dull. Much of NYC is turning into one big mall of the same ole shit, just like everywhere else. It started back in the late 80’s with the luxury companies: 5th Ave was indistinguishable from Le Champs Elysees which was the same as Via Della Spiga etc. Now it’s everything. Why the hell travel?
It’s like some kind of Great Corporate Levelling.
And now Leicester Square is turning into the corporate-run version of Times Square: there’s an M&M store that is relatively new, a just-opened Bubba Gump restaurant, and a Nickelodeon store on the way. And I dread to see what’s gonna happen with the west side of the square, where an old building is being dismantled only to — presumably — be replaced by something new.
It may only be because I’m seeing it less often – I moved out in 2008 – but it seems to me that just as I did so, London sharply accelerated its rush towards the bland corporate look. Nice old buildings replaced by ugly new skyscrapers that make the skyline look more and more like an American city, with a few tall buildings in the middle and a sharp cutoff to the suburbs; pubs and cheap restaurants replaced by casinos and branded chain everything.
Or maybe I’m just getting old. But I wouldn’t want to move back now.
American cities do not have sharp cutoffs to the suburbs: they just sprawl out nearly endlessly.
Sorry, I didn’t express myself well. It’s the way you get a small contained area of high-rise buildings, then a huge sprawl of lower buildings around them that blend into ground clutter – as opposed to the occasional high-rise building among smaller ones. Because most of the new tall buildings in London are being put in the same general area, they give a similar impression. (Docklands did it first, but now it’s happening in the centre too.)
Ironically, it is getting harder and harder to find a Dunkin’ Donuts here in Dallas since its donut shops are no longer as plentiful as they were about three decades ago. For example, there used to be two Dunkin’ Donuts shops within a ten-minute drive of my current address back when I was in college. Those have since closed. Now I have to drive almost halfway across the city to find one.
I’m not sure how much of this contraction is due to the competition they get from similar corporations like Krispy Kreme and how much of it is due to the competition they get from independent donut shops — usually run by immigrants — which seem to be located at almost every other shopping center. I do know that the days of the 24-hour Dunkin’ Donut shop died a long time ago and that the remaining shops in that chain are becoming as scarce as pay phones.
And yet the Dunkin’ Donut chain still has money to expand overseas. How odd.
I’m pretty sure there are more Krispy Kremes in London than there are in NYC.
I was really surprised on my recent trip to Ireland to find out that the American fast-food chain I saw represented the most was KFC! I would have thought it would McDonalds, of which there were quite a few, but those were mostly in just the biggest towns (Dublin, Galway, Athlone), whereas KFCs were just about in every town with more than a few thousand inhabitants.
that’s for sure — there’s only the one in Penn Station. thank goodness.
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