From the NY Times:
Guess what: Your neighborhood isn’t a Hollywood back lot. “Liking the idea” of a store doesn’t pay its bills. I’m not talking here about the venerable old places that close because the landlord is quintupling the rent, or because the proprietor’s children are not interested in continuing the family business and would rather be rap producers or America’s next top model. I’m talking about the businesses that are gamely hanging on and would gladly continue — if they had customers.
So don’t just stand there and admire Russ and Daughters’ retro neon sign. Go in and order a quarter-pound of their life-changing whitefish salad. Buy a book at an independent bookstore every once in a while, instead of ordering it on Amazon. Patronize a restaurant that offers “chops.” That quaint old hardware store that’s been around since the Truman administration? Venture in and buy some light bulbs. Yes, they may cost a little bit more (although finding an actual clerk or the product itself in a big-box store will almost certainly cost you more in time), but I consider it a tax to ensure that New York City doesn’t look like anywhere else.
You’re only allowed to complain about that Chase bank or Duane Reade on the corner if you actually give business to the mom-and-pop stores that you cherish so much. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear about it.