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Show your city pride with this new NYC bodega-inspired streetwear

By
Emma Orlow
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It’s easy to roll your eyes at the sneakerheads who’d line up in Soho waiting for the latest streetwear drop. But a fashion line called Deli & Grocery has us interested. With a focus on strong, playful graphic design inspired by the vintage hand-painted signage on New York bodegas, each t-shirt, tote bag or hat, is an homage to the city’s fading architecture. For the next 72 hours, 100 percent of proceeds from the sales of its merchandise will go toward the Mayor’s Emergency Relief Fund, which is providing resources to small business, healthcare workers and other displaced hourly workers who so desperately need help right now. 

“Delis are a quintessential sight of the New York City streetscape. Found on almost any block, the delis’ bold letter awnings and colorful storefronts are an iconic beacon for a snack, drink, smoke or read,” the Deli & Grocery team writes on its site. “These corner stores are neighborhood institutions that play a fundamental role in a New Yorkers day to day life.” 

The project comes from the mind of native New Yorkers Jake Buhler and Roman Finkelstein. The duo released their first two Deli & Grocery collections in collaboration with the well-known streetwear company OnlyNY. Buhler was formerly an intern to the legendary graffiti artist Stephen Powers, known for his colorful hand-painted signage throughout the boroughs. Based out of Flatbush, Brooklyn, the team now sells via their own online shop.

In an article earlier this year in the New York Post, it was reported that the city has begun cracking down on a rarely-enforced, 50 year-old law requiring stores to update their facade signage. In turn, mom-and-pops shops across the city, including bodegas, might have to make the choice to rip down vintage, character-filled signage and replace them with the homogenous modern lettering because it's the cheaper option. But perhaps more pressing, raising rents in gentrifying areas are causing these storefronts to be replaced by chain corner-stores.

Now more than ever, bodegas are a lifeline for neighborhoods punctuated by shuttered businesses and its time they got their proper due—even if it's one shirt a time. 

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