New York City’s All-Felt Bodega Sends a Strong Message

published Jun 8, 2017
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(Image credit: Lucy Sparrow)

New York City has no shortage of bodegas, also known as corner delis. The Big Apple is reportedly home to 12,000 bodegas, although their numbers are dwindling due to rising rent and the growth in chain franchises. Now a new one has popped up at the Standard High Line in New York’s trendy meatpacking district and it’s a little different from the rest: it’s made entirely of felt.

The art installation, called “8 ‘Till Late,” is by British artist Lucy Sparrow, and it features 9,000 everyday bodega items made entirely of felt. Roughly nine tons of faux felt goods — from pregnancy tests and candy to Spam to cigarettes — were shipped to New York.

With the number of bodegas shrinking, Sparrow’s message is a fitting one. She says it’s about “communities being lost as neighborhoods are transformed.”

(Image credit: Lucy Sparrow)

Sparrow is no stranger to felt-based art. In London, the artist has created a felted corner store and a felted sex shop, and sold felt versions of guns.

“I’ve always been fascinated by things made out of materials that they’re not,” Sparrow tells The New York Times.

All the items are available for sale at prices that are escalated from their non-felt counterparts — you’re buying art, after all. A pack of felt cigarettes will set you back $20, while aluminum foil will cost you $51. Or you can purchase the entire “fauxdega” for $500,000. Those who cannot make it to the brick-and-mortar convenience store can peruse Sparrow’s collection online at her e-shop.