It’s July, I’ve tossed my graduation cap up in the air, and into a crate. I’ll miss the NYU housing, just a stone’s throw away from Washington Square Park. Mamoun’s will no longer be my go-to dinner spot, and I finished my last Smith’s brunch for a while yesterday morning.
The two movers from Queens that I found on Craig’s List arrived with their van, and we begin the elevator dance, squeezing what we can into the freight in our 3 hour reserved slot. I’d managed to find a new three bedroom in a hot new neighborhood. Well, just outside of a hot new neighborhood – Bushwick; it’s more affordable. It’s a walk-up, but I’m only on the second floor, and there’s three of us — we can handle.
Six hours later, with 30 minutes of coach maneuvering, we’ve arrived as a sweaty mess of cardboard boxes in the living room. I don’t know were my new work wardrobe ends and my pots and pans begin. I think to myself, If I can make it here, I can also get it delivered. Already salivating, I pull out my phone and open up Seamless, visions of chicken pad thai dancing through my mind. I scroll. And scroll. And scroll. Polish food. All Polish food. No thai food even touches the map of possibilities. Even if I pretend to be a few blocks closer to Manhattan, I seem to be just one block further east than any Thai restaurant is willing to go. And it fully dawns on me, I’ve made a horrible mistake — I have moved into a delivery desert.
I lived in a land with sushi as far as the eye can see only 6 hours ago. In the depths of my despair, I realize I need to pay the movers. As they open Venmo to make the request, I notice a *whole screen* of food apps. “Hey, which of those apps do delivery around here?” I ask, trying not to sound as desperate as I am. “All of them,” my mover says. I gape in disbelief. “Want a referral? I can send you all of them – DoorDash, Postmates, maybe Caviar because – treat yo-self”. Hell. Yes. “That would be awesome, I owe you a tip as well, add it to the Venmo.”
My world had just contracted and expanded in the space of minutes, the Big Bang of delivery. Just because I don’t live in the Village, doesn’t mean I can’t eat like I do. The confines of my local neighborhood erased, the city is once again my bread basket.
Download #1 complete. Postmates. I open, and scroll, and scroll. It was there. It was all there. Restaurants that had mysteriously disappeared from Seamless months ago, now available to me, miles away. I now saw the shifting tides for what they were: the Great Unbundling. The restaurants no longer had to hire delivery people, or share a cut with Seamless. They could just outsource it.
Further down the list: Shake Shack. This explained the mysterious lines of this non-delivering burger power house. These delivery services will order for you, and wait in line! And after a day like mine, I am more than willing to pay the service and delivery costs. I upgrade from my #2 to my #1 Thai place, now that it’s back on the map, and place a double order of chicken pad thai. And while I’m at it, I delete the Seamless app. Goodbye peirogis, hello world.