Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brooklyn Chain Map: We're All Capitalist Playthings Now

I've been meaning to get going on this project for quite a while. I recently read an article in the New York Times on the growth, and occasional retrenchment, of the restaurant and bar empire of Jim Mamary and Alan Harding, with a spread of restaurants in South Brooklyn and parts south, if that makes any sense.

A stroll through Carroll Gardens the other day reminded me of how many businesses open multiple locations in Brooklyn. And after seeing this map at Gowanus Lounge, I decided to plot them all. Google Maps gives me a way to do so, though I have not spent the necessary amount of time to make the relationships between establishments readily apparent. That will wait for another day.

The rules are somewhat arbitrary. I'll tolerate a couple of Staten Island or Queens offshoots, but anything else is bang out of order. Bars, restaurants and the odd boutique predominate. I'm fairly certain I'm missing a few obviously-paired bodegas, and I get much weaker in the more northern parts of Brooklyn such as Prospect Heights, Fort Greene and Williamsburg . Suggestions welcome in the comments, if you can be arsed to go past the spambot protection.

To stress, this is not an exercise designed to hate on gentrifiers, chains, or anything else that flows from capitalism. A second branch is a fairly good indication you're doing something right for your local customers, though whether catering to the whims of the Brooklyn gentrifying set is the foundation for a wildly successful national career I'll leave to your imagination. Still it's a good sign that there are plenty of people in the Borough that do have the smarts to build up a franchise and still keep it local.

Anyhow, here's the Brooklyn chain and stealth-chain map.

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