Gentrification is a word used a lot these days, particularly in New York City, where we talk about how all of the boroughs are getting more and more gentrified and wonder about whether people who aren’t ridiculously wealthy will continue to be able to afford living here.
So I have mixed feelings about the recent opening of a Pressed Juicery on Broadway between 110th and 111th St. On the one hand, I think it’s great that more healthy options are appearing around campus, but I also see this opening as a sign of gentrification.
Now, if you don’t follow health food Instagrams, you might be asking: What the hell is Pressed Juicery?
Pressed Juicery is part of the recent cold-pressed juice movement. Cold-pressed juice is different from ordinary juice because instead of being run through a traditional juicer whose blades’ fast action warms the juice, the fruit for the juice is compressed between two plates so the juice stays cold, which helps it retain its nutrients. Cold-pressed juiceries also tend to offer eclectic juice combinations. Take Pressed Juicery’s Greens 3 juice, which, according to the store employees, is their best-seller.
The Greens 3 has kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon and ginger in it. I tried this one and I’ll just put it this way: this isn’t exactly my thing. The juice is a kind of strange combination of citrus, celeriac and sweet flavors.
Some of Pressed Juicery’s products also include stuff that tastes less healthy (aka more to my taste) like their matcha hempseed or coconut cinnamon juices or their chocolate almond “freeze,” which is basically a vegan, gluten- and dairy-free, healthier version of frozen yogurt.
But carrying around and drinking Pressed Juicery juice doesn’t just reflect that you like weird combos of nutritious juice. I grew up in Los Angeles, CA, the home of the first Pressed Juicery and where the pressed juice fad has run rampant. Suffice it to say, I’ve seen my fair share of Pressed Juicery’s signature bottles. Bottles of cold-pressed juices like these serve almost as status symbol: of being healthy and trendy…and also financially well-off, because this trend isn’t cheap.
Pressed Juicery’s juice costs $6.50 a bottle. That’s right. That’s just slightly less than what I pay at Dig Inn for an entire meal. Their 3-day juice cleanse? Upwards of $199. I can’t help but think that that makes their juices a trend only accessible to the elite, their products only available to a certain sector of the population here.
#SpoonTip: Use this coupon before April 28 to get your juice for $2!
The opening of this newest location in Morningside Heights doesn’t make me think of gentrification just because its products are expensive though. As a chain with more than 30 locations, its opening here reminds me of the fact that rents and the number of chain stores like Starbucks here are rising. This isn’t the first health food chain with pricey offerings to open its doors around the Columbia campus this academic year (*cough* Sweetgreen). Where are the good old mom and pop shops?
So while I think it’s great that Columbia’s area just got a bit healthier, this opening makes me a bit sad, because I can’t help but see it as a symbol of the gentrification of our neighborhood.