Another Goodbye to a Local Mainstay
A resident laments the loss of a neighborhood bodega
By Lisa Klitses
Upper East Side Today Lee's Market closed. Lee's Market is a bodega, if you will, that has been on our corner of First Avenue and East 78th Street since, at least, the 1980s. Their lease was up and they could not afford the increase. Lee's was a small business open 24/7, a rarity in these parts of town. On the 78th Street side of the building, there was an abundance of flowers and someone always creating beautiful bouquets. Whatever flowers or trees were applicable for the holidays, they would have them lined up on the sidewalk to sell. During Christmas, there would be a row of trees that smelled amazing! If you needed anything from candles, batteries or milk for your coffee, they had it. During snow storms, black outs or your last minute needs, they always provided our neighborhood with supplies. They helped to keep our neighborhood safe, as their lights were always on.
I will miss this mom-and-pop store, the owners and their employees. Not only have we lost them, but also, they lost their livelihoods. They served our neighborhood with their smiles, presence and ability to always be there when you really needed them. I feel sad! Not only because they are leaving, but also because they represent how our country does not support the needs of small business owners.
In our neighborhood Duane Reade and Banks are more important than keeping the people of this country employed, prosperous and proud. Please remember to support your local small businesses. They are people who care, are talented and want to make a living and provide for themselves and their families. It is the small things in life that make a difference. From the smiles you receive when getting your morning coffee, or the flowers you bought your loved one at the last minute, to the batteries that did not come with the toy you bought your child for his/her birthday. These and more were all the small things Lee's Market provided our neighborhood.