Central African Market on 25 Warburton Avenue in Yonkers, apart from selling African and other international food items, also sells what looks like random items from the home of a hoarder. An opened slow-cooker, still in its sun-faded box from the nineties, sits in the window display. The shelves and packed with tins, bags, packets, spices, cookies, and shea butter lotions in plastic tubs, their casing covered in a thick layer of dust. In the back to the left of the store are rolled-up sheets of African wax-print fabric, piled high on top of each other. To the right is a freezer that stores dried fish and other meats. Some of the meat looks like it has been there as long as the store has existed, and the freezer, when opened, emits a strong smell.
The owner of this store is Mr. Kwaku, a short, broad man originally from Ghana, but who currently lives in the Bronx. He wears glasses, but only ever looks over them, not through them, and he walks with jaunty, active steps. Mr. Kwaku’s store on Warburton Avenue is the only one open on the block. Surrounding it are shops that have been closed for months, the roll-down security gates covering darkened windows. According to Mr. Kwaku, soon his shop will blend in seamlessly with its surroundings. His lease is up by the end of this month, and there won’t be a chance for him to renew it. And even further on, though nobody really knows when, the entire block will be demolished to make way for a new, 197.4 million dollar project.