In an alternate reality where everything is made out of felt, all bodegas would look like Lucy Sparrow's current installation in Manhattan. 8 'till Late, which opened earlier this month on Little West 12th Street in partnership with The Standard, High Line, is a storefront exhibition space packed to the gills with stuffed felt recreations of typical bodega products, including gefilte fish, Cheetos, and Vagisil. Sparrow's attention to detail is admirable, and 8 'till Late includes other objects commonly found in a bodega like a mop, bucket, and of course, a bodega cat.
Just like any other corner shop, all the products in the installation are for sale, and Sparrow tells Creators that business has been brisk. "The first to go was champagne, Jameson, Campari and Vagisil! Everybody that has come to see the installation has responded in a way that I could only have dreamed of. Someone today described it as the happiest place in New York, and we are seeing people coming day after day to visit, enjoy the work, select their favorite nostalgic products, and we really are building a little community down at the Standard High Line!"
Having already created an entire British corner shop in felt in 2014, as well as a sex shop in 2015, Sparrow knows how to pull off an ambitious artistic undertaking and she prepared for 8 'till Late accordingly. "It's all about the research. I spent months studying product labels and the specifics of the New York bodega. I made two trips to the US and found two bodegas I particularly enjoyed in New York, one on the Lower East Side and the other in Brooklyn," she explains.
8 'till Late is so popular that Sparrow says that she and her team are hustling to keep the store's shelves well stocked. "We had to amend opening hours because of the huge demand and [lines] around the block! But we're trying to keep up and painting and stitching furiously in our work room behind the bodega!" Luckily, Sparrow says they've been able satisfy daily fluctuations in consumer tastes and even add some new products to their inventory. "We are restocking products daily, keeping up with the popular items and adding new ones. For example, today we added Cheetos and they flew off the shelves and added some new vegetables to our selection—red and white onions that are shedding tears," says Sparrow.