Inside the fight to save a late-night institution from the forces of gentrification.
New York City’s Punjabi Deli was once a 24/7 haven for cab drivers working late-night shifts and looking for a quick, cheap, and vegetarian bite to eat. But over the past five years, ongoing construction on the restaurant’s side of the street has hindered business, and now they’re under threat of closure. This new short film puts a spotlight on their fight to save the store from becoming another casualty in the rapid gentrification of the Lower East Side. Meanwhile, online, champions of Punjabi are mobilizing support with the hashtag #SavePunjabiDeli. It’s clear from the community’s emotional appeals that Punjabi Deli is not just another grocery store, but a cherished member of the locale—the campaign underlines how critical these kinds of independent institutions are to the unique spirit of neighborhoods.