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Alert: Something, or someone, is killing corner groceries in the lower parts of East Village. Before you step out for a pack of cigarettes or toilet paper, take a moment to survey the damage clustered around East 3rd and 4th Streets:
1) "20/20" Grocery and Deli: This little deli, at 53 Second Avenue and East 3rd Street, has always been a nasty one, with sordid types lingering out front and an even sadder assortment of food and sundries inside. All that could be changing, though. The store has been cleared out entirely, and a permit states that it's undergoing refurbishment and the installment of new air conditioning and cooking equipment. Possible destination for roast beef sandwiches is in the works, people...
2) Betances Grocery: Betances, at 73 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Ave, was a popular Spanish deli for years, but, like Centricity Vintage a few storefronts away, it's been permanently shuttered because of high rent increases. The place was a little scrappy—think stale red Swedish Fish in counter top bins—but it was a default for locals anyway. A sign in the gated windows reads that the space is available for rent.
3) Bowery Food and Convenience: Bowery Food, at 355 Bowery between Third and Fourth Streets, was not only the crappiest bodega among the three, but also the one beleaguered by the most bizarre and mysterious circumstances. This shitbox was shuttered a few weeks ago by the police. Technically, it was "seized". The place was gated on the spot—but wait, it gets better...the store's beer inventory is currently sitting outside in the middle of the sidewalk. That's right, Leffe and Amstel Light were peeking out of a giant tarp-covered mound in front of the store last night. Somebody make a run before the Bowery sanitation crew makes it disappear!