There’s no food to eat at New York City’s newest bodega, because everything at 8 Till Late is made of felt.
The pop-up bodega, now open for four weeks next to The Standard High Line’s seasonal biergarten, is fully stocked with everything from canned goods to toiletries like any regular corner store, except it’s they're all plush toys.
The 1,200 square-foot store — wonder what that adds up to in yards of yarn — is the largest ever installation for British artist Lucy Sparrow, who’s making her NYC debut with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.
Her first such project, Cornershop in the U.K., opened in 2014 to rave reviews, and its American version is — insert rimshot here — even bigger. Customers can walk among the aisles and fill an actual shopping basket full of huggable bags of Doritos and boxes of Lucky Charms, browse a fridge full of felt treats like frozen pizza and Gatorade, and even make their own fabric sandwiches at the deli counter.
There’s even a hot dog stand right outside the shop, where your condiments include glitter glue mustard and ketchup. Every item is hand-stitched and available for sale, with prices ranging from £10 ($12.90) for a candy bar to £50 ($64.50) for a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food.
Plush play food may not seem like a medium for social commentary, but Sparrow’s bodega also has a message about the demise of the real-world neighborhood corner store and the identical chain supermarkets and convenience stores replacing them.
"I want the work to make people think about the loss of community spaces when these small corner shops disappear,” Sparrow says in a statement, “to remind them how valuable these corner shops really are and the color they bring to our lives."
In that community spirit, 8 Till Late will host a singles night called 8 Till Date and other weekly events like a lottery to win one of the plushes. What's more New York than finding love in a bodega?
If you go
8 Till Late
June 5-30, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
69 Little West 12th St.