From the Daily News:
Bargains abound at the 99-cent store that opened on 37th Ave. last fall, replacing the Cavalier Restaurant in Jackson Heights.
But locals gripe that the deals are a poor substitute for what the Cavalier had provided - a place where friends met for the familiar faces and unique atmosphere that was a part of the community for half a century.
Some refuse to patronize its discount replacement, still longing for the Cavalier's neon signs and camaraderie.
"I get a sinking feeling in my stomach," said filmmaker Celeste Balducci, 53, who has lived in the area for nearly 25 years. The 99-cent shop doesn't "add anything to the neighborhood - no personality, no charm," she said.
It's a common refrain nowadays in Queens.
When locals lose sites that defined their neighborhoods, experts contend, their sense of place drops.
The transformations aren't all negative. Queens has gained many ethnic eateries, for example, that have become the pride of their communities.
But the last decade alone has seen so many deeply rooted establishments close - including the Cavalier - that some worry Queens is losing its identity.
Worse, those spots are being replaced with unexceptional offices, banks or chains, leaving a homogeneous look.