There Goes our “Video Store”

Earlier this morning, Blockbuster Express delivered the bad news:

Your preferred Blockbuster Express kiosk is going away.

Since moving to Long Island City, five years ago, we never had a video store other than this automated box. With the closing of our Blockbuster Express machine, the closest semblance to a video store will now be gone.

It’s not the greatest loss. We can stream just about any title available at one of these kiosks. The film studios release a movie title to these kiosks on the same day as it is available to rent on iTunes, for example, usually thirty days after the Blu-ray and DVD release. Moreover, our kiosk never had Blu-ray disks. The only way to watch a high-definition video was to either rent from a kiosk elsewhere or to stream the title. There was no real appreciable difference in price either: iTunes charges between four and six dollars for a twenty-hour rental, versus two and four dollars for a Blu-ray disk from Blockbuster Express.

To an old-timer like me, losing a “video store” would have been devastating in a different era. Did you know that people use to rate a New York City neighborhood based in part on the presence of bookshops, video stores, and record shops? It seems crazy to think about since those barely exist in any neighborhood. We’ve never had those in my years in Long Island City. And later this week, we won’t even have this video store proxy either.

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