The new East Village 7-Eleven is starting to reveal itself and, just as we expected, it’s awful. The exterior is covered in cold metallic panels that possess the all the charm of a desk accessory from Staples. Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven’s robot-voiced spokesperson, has previously said 7-Eleven’s East Village location was going to make an attempt to blend in with the neighborhood.
“Our goal is to meet the convenience needs of people in that immediate trade area,” she said. “We believe that area is under -served. So we would hope to bring something clean, modern, efficient, yet something that the community can benefit from. We also have a special downtown, urban format for our stores that lends itself to Manhattan.”
What do the neighbors think of 7-Eleven’s “special downtown, urban format?” “It’s ugly as f—,” said one resident we spoke with who lives on Avenue A. “They should have looked at businesses like Tompkins Square Bagels and The Bean who have exteriors that convey the spirit of the neighborhood. Instead we have this ugly tuna can to stare at. I hate it.”
What blending in with the neighborhood actually looks like: Tompkins Square Bagels, which does business across the street from the new 7-Eleven, hired several neighborhood artists – including Edie Art, The Mosaic Man, Scooter LaForge, Chico and V.H. McKenzie – to bring some local flare to the popular shop. The Bean hired local artist Walker Fee to paint their exteriors. Even some chain stores are trying to fit in with the neighborhood. Rite-Aid recently made news by painting a vibrant mural on the wall of their First Avenue location and have made an effort to connect with the neighborhood. 7-Eleven? All they’ve done so far is serve up canned, corporate responses and tired talking points.
Texas-based 7-Eleven failed to meet their May opening date and subsequent opening dates have also come and gone. 7-Eleven’s franchise schedule says the East Village location will be open for business in October. We won’t hold our breathe.