In 2010, the city of New York began construction on a sidewalk park in front of Punjabi Grocery & Deli — an indispensable refuge for cab drivers, not to mention one of the best places in town for cheap curry.
Though the park was supposed to be finished in 2013, the construction is still far from over, and after five years of having the street obstructed and its parking taken away, Punjabi Deli’s business has plummeted to the point that it’s now in danger of closing.
We’re talking about more than the potential closure of a taxi drivers’ port in a storm. (Though Punjabi Deli has everything a worn-out hack could possibly need: $4 garbanzo bean curry, free water, a bathroom, Urdu CDs for the road, Aloe Vera juice, Red Bull, and at least five brands of pain killers).
We’re also looking at the demise of a 24/7 source of cheap, tasty, healthy sustenance for all New Yorkers, the end of a deli locals call “superb” and “essential,” a place that has anchored the East Village to its funky, free-spirited, melting-pot past.
There are two things you can do today to #SavePunjabiDeli:
- If you’re in New York City, join other supporters of Punjabi Deli at a community board meeting on Tuesday, May 12 (that’s tonight!), at 6:30 p.m., at University Settlement at Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery.
- Wherever you are, you can show your support online by signing up for a timed social media blast through Thunderclap.
If we make enough noise, we might be able to persuade the New York City Department of Transportation to finish the construction, build a Taxi Relief Stand in front of the deli, create a sidewalk park that serves the neighborhood – and save Punjabi Deli in the process.
Punjabi Grocery & Deli – Map it
114 East First Street (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) – East Village
New York, NY 10009
Open: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Snacks/Meal Combos: $1.00-6.00