James Joyce once puzzled whether it would be possible to cross Dublin without passing a pub. As it turns out, despite having more than 22 pubs per square mile, with the help of a computer algorithm, it just barely is. Today, after The Center for an Urban Future released its fifth annual study ranking the national retailers popping up all over in New York City, it might have found a harder puzzle to solve. With a reported 24 locations per square mile, is it possible to cross New York without passing a chain store?
The report showed a 2.4 percent increase in the total number of chains over the past year, despite prominent retailers like Filene’s Basement and Betsey Johnson closing their doors. It is boom maintained by trusty stalwarts like Dunkin Donuts, which opened 18 stores in the last year for a total of 484 citywide, followed closely by Subways, with 454 locations, and despite seeming to be on every street corner, Starbucks, with a mere 272 locations.