Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang launched his bid for mayor of New York City this week, but is off to a rough start after being roasted on social media over a newly released video.
“New York City relies upon its 14,000 bodegas so much. I love bodegas. We gotta make sure that they continue to stay open and do their thing,” Yang said as he bought a bunch of bananas and a green tea.
“New York City, support your local bodegas. Can you imagine a New York City without bodegas? I can’t imagine it. Let’s not have to.”
But New Yorkers pounced, saying the store where Yang shot the video was more akin to a deli or grocery store.
There is no clear definition of what a bodega is, but one person comically said on Twitter that “if you can spread both of your arms and spin around without literally knocking over two shelves full of expired laundry detergent you’re not in a bodega.”
The New York Times highlighted the importance of bodegas to the city during the pandemic in April. It described them as “small, scrappy 24-hour corner stores most often found in working-class neighborhoods” that “are oftentimes extensions of the home for many of their customers.”
Yang, for his part, appeared to take the criticism in stride, tweeting, “Haha I love New York” with a smiling emoji.
He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
It’s the second controversy to erupt around Yang this week after he told The New York Times in an interview that he has spent more time at his upstate weekend home than in his Hell’s Kitchen apartment during the pandemic.
“We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan,” Yang told the Times. “And so, like, can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?”
Given that thousands of New Yorkers have done exactly that during the pandemic, many weren’t pleased.
Despite the rocky start, Yang will continue campaigning and try to gain enough traction to win the Democratic primary on June 22.
“We need to launch the largest basic income program in history, invest in a human-centered economy, return to fact-based governance, and create an accessible healthcare system,” Yang explains on his website.