Whole Foods has encircled NYU and is trying to push it into the sea. Or at least, that’s what it looks like based on this snazzy Google Map I worked up. (I like Google because it makes totally frivolous stuff like this possible to do in 5 minutes)
The point is this: the Whole Foods phenomena in Lower Manhattan seems driven by NYU students with disposable income (to spend on a store that disposes a lot of food – see previous post re: dumpstering food – Whole Foods is a serious perp of unneeded disposal). The Union Square and Houston Whole Foods are both within 2 blocks of NYU dorms. The Tribeca location isn’t terribly far from the Lafayette dorm. Clearly NYU didn’t trigger the gentrification of Tribecca, but the Union Square-Houston locations sandwich the NYU ‘3rd avenue housing corridor’ as NYU calls it, and I suspect students make up a bulk of the clientèle.
I’m sure there’s another point here about NYU’s role in gentrification – even when they’re not pushing out low price grocers (Met Foods), the school carts in upper-middle class students by the plane-full, and inadvertently raising rents and cost of living for everyone else.
But really, I just liked the image of Whole Foods as a secret paramilitary invasion of Lower Manhattan, battling it out with NYU for yuppie/yupre supremacy.