What’s a Bodega?

Latino USA

Convenience stores and corner stores are staples of American life, but New York City’s bodegas take them to another level. These modern day general stores are woven into the fabric of city life, temples of necessity, as integral as the subway system and bagels.

With the help of average New Yorkers and not-so-average New Yorkers Dallas Penn and The Kid Mero, we explain what a bodega is and why we decided to spend a whole day in the Red Apple Deli in Harlem.

Morning Rush

In a bodega in Harlem, NY, we meet a colorful cast of characters including loyal customers who arrive before the store even opens, the gregarious owner Ramon Murphy and his children, plus the bodega cat.

In New York City, many bodegas are run by Dominican families. We hang out with Juan Carlos Hiciano, the man behind the grill. We hear his immigration story, his plans for the future and how it all relates to the history of Dominicans in New York.

Beiconeganchí for breakfast

Ramón Murphy, owner of the Red Apple Deli Supermarket, is the American Dream brought to life. He shares his story of entrepreneurship starting back in the DR before revealing his rules for success. We go with Ramón and his son on a trip to a giant warehouse where bodega owners buy their products.

We take a quick look at the bodega’s relationship to unhealthy food.

Soda Sales
Credits: Story

This story was produced by Marlon Bishop.

Feature image by Marlon Bishop.

Special thanks to the producers at Latino USA and The Futuro Media Group team.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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