Driving around Kingston this morning I was struck by the number of chain pharmacies there were to grocery stores within a 1/2 mile radius. 50 years ago, could one imagine it would be easier to get a prescription of some sort over a bag of fresh produce?
There isn’t any doubt that having meds when we need (or can afford) them is a great advancement to modern medicine. But what ever happened to healthy eating first? It’s kind of poetic that a new Walgreens is opening next to a Burger King – across from a gas station that sells all the beer and cigarettes one could want.
Luckily for the people living in that part of town, there is also a small locally owned market hidden away (the locals know where it is). Although it might be more accurate to call it a ‘deli’ rather than ‘market’, it is one of the very few in the city that at least carry some fruits and vegetables (even if the distance their produce has traveled to get to Kingston is anyone’s guess).
Food for thought at least.
Here is a little reading on this very thing: MORE PHARMACIES THAN FOOD
– Rebecca Martin
9 thoughts on “In the City of Kingston, More Pharmacies Than Food”
We have processed food. First and foremost is the processed food industry. From there, it is an easy thing to place them on shelves.
Second, we have corn products and sugars: huge industry. It’s sort of a real life analog to the question: where does a 900 pound gorilla sleep? (answ: anywhere it wants)
then, we have the legend and lore and religion of “free speech”… we have ruled and accepted that corporations are business and advertising is speech
finally, we have modern science and psychology and the art of the film, ubiquitous communication (or, briefy, The BrainDead Megaphone, an essay by George Saunders… absolutely brilliant) the notion of speech as persuasion is meteoric…
And we will NOT let government at ANY level intervene! (We should be acknowledging and celebrating the end of cigarette machines altogether and the removal of bad crap vending from the schools… so, really, we can change things, can’t we?)
I note that avoiding crap food is not part of the Health Insurance reform bill.
I would say, too, that the drug store phenomena is a product of poor government seeking revenue to spend on itself. We failed to stop the project uptown.
But then, many could reasonably ask, what else was happening? Maybe “nothing happening”, that’s the result of poor government as well.
The problem is a much deeper one than meets the eye. Our town is not owned by its citizens. The Garden project was the first sign of health and ownership by the locals. We need to continue this. Kingston also needs better and enforceable ZONING to guard against the laissez-faire market forces. Right now, anyone can claim a space in Kingston and plunk down a “competitive” business. We have 5 gas stations on Broadway for this reason. There is NO COMPREHENSIVE PLAN for Kingston while the Town of Ulster did one in 2007. Newburgh just completed one. Comprehensive plans help city planners to control spurious unwelcome growth while creating a city that actually works. As KINGSTON citizens we have to rally to create a comprehensive plan. We cannot stop until we have one. Unless, of course, everyone likes having a strip mall full of gas stations and pharmacies as the heart of their town.
Right on, whosecity. Updated and citywide zoning and planning is so badly needed in the city of Kingston. It’s hard to understand the reasons City Hall continues to dodge it. A group of citizens was moving the city ahead recently on the prospect – but it was suddenly dashed by the planning and mayors office. This was back in 2007 I believe.
It must also be difficult for individuals who would like to open a grocery store to compete with fast food places and drug stores for real estate or cost of rent that a grocer could afford and still make a profit. Somehow, we need to find ways to help start new businesses that we would like to see flourish in our community
The garden project was wonderful, and it was the unique creation of Rebecca Martin: I don’t know if another person on the planet could have done that, let alone in Kingston. She worked hard, she worked brilliantly. We were totally lucky Rebecca did what she did. I absolutely do not know how to do what she does.
That’s something I’d like to see addressed in that new leadership program Marist is putting on at their new campus: the deconstruction of talented and effective person.
Meantime I’ll be bringing up another issue on the KingstonCorridor.com site: Front and Wall was wonderful with the stop signs, for traffic and pedestrians. The uptown business people loved it and you can ask them. The government of Kingston obviously marches to a different drummer, and that is wrong.
What can we do: shop local. Get your feet and eyes onto the Corridor. Make yourself seen and you have a much better chance of being heard.
But Rebecca Martin? Oh my!!! 🙂
gerald (jerry) berke
26 maiden lane
By the way – there is some positive movement for Kingston Natural Foods which is currently a buying club, but set to become a natural food store in the Rondout by Spring 2010. Jennifer McKinley has acquired a small business loan. She needs more, but I am confident it will come. What she has (and will) accomplish will help the citizens in the city on the food front in a massive way. Check out her website, become a member – and give her a hand. We most definately need her to be successful and the citizens of the city should rally around her effort. http://buyingclub.wordpress.com/
Finally a kindred soul, whosecity. I have been voicing the same thoughts for quite a few years and I feel that it has fallen on deaf ears in the planning dept. and city hall. I am so disgusted at the behemoth that is being erected on the corner of Broadway and E.Chester. It dwarfs the other buildings-Rondout Bank for one. Not one bit of architecture resembles the outlaying community or neighborhood. So now we have a gas station , pharmacy and a fast food joint on the major intersection and a huge traffic tie up in the makings. A comprehensive plan and a revamping of the city zoning is sorely needed. Sadly, I feel that with the city just concentrating on staying alive that this will not be addressed in the coming year.
A comprehensive plan, although needed, would be directed more at controlling our elected officials than any other forces. And the absence of accessible bulding codes comes up again: I see the sign on Broadway for the Mini Mart which violates some codes but cannot be enforced. Contrast that with people who did approach the city, and got a small sign made that cost the $2500 and took them 2 years to get done with the “help” of the city.
By the way, I was at a couple of meetings on the latest drug store on the corridor: it was well attended by suits, but there were almost no citizens there, except the once, the few, that always show up, always to a great job, and are simply too few in number.
If the kindred souls don’t number more than the few that show up (and I can’t count myself as one of the tried and true I-will-be-there kinds, this isn’t going to change.
The only group I know of is the Friends of Historic Kingston… is there another? Maybe, with more members, that would be enough?