My kingdom for a magazine rack

I really wanted to spurn the Holy Foods that just opened next to the greatest neighborhood Greenmarket in the system, but my consort dragged me in to check it out and we both slowly realized we have been subsisting in a food desert. We’ve lost our butcher and had no baker, and the only fish to be found except from Pura Vida on Friday is displayed amid brazen roaches. Just the night before I had had to spring for a crappy geriatric Murray’s chicken for my consort at the best bet for food shopping for more than a mile. Now I’m afraid I could get used to having better birds — not to mention Balthazar and Sullivan Street Bakery bread and padron peppers and Illy priced like Zabar’s — only two blocks away. This time of year almost everything we eat comes from 97th or Union Square, but in winter you can’t live on Greenmarket alone. I would worry about the little guys in the neighborhood getting killed, but they are already getting slammed by fast crap I would never patronize (can you say Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts?) The smart among them will upgrade to compete. (I will not soon forget the clerk at the corner condescendingly informing me when I said the baguette she had just sold me was hard as a baseball bat: “That’s what French bread is supposed to feel like.”) And the liquor-free wine shop at HF should also be a serious corrective; as times have gotten tougher, all the other stores have gotten greedier. Guess I should be saying a little prayer to Michael Pollan, who just advised against boycotting HF because its honcho is a health care cretin — better to focus on the support a huge, powerful chain provides farmers. I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever chooses new locations had not scoped out the thriving scene on 97th on Fridays: rich people, regular people, food stamp shoppers, all drawn by producers selling (roughly in westward order) fruit, wine, organic herbs and heirloom tomatoes, milk, Jersey produce, baked stuff, cheese, honey, turkey, NYState produce, eggs, plants, beef, fruit and juice, more produce and incredible fish. If you’re going to stake a tent in a desert, be sure to do it alongside an oasis.