Whole Foods, of course, simultaneously symbolizes healthy living and urban development. That paradox has never more visible than today, with the government’s approval of the controversial new Gowanus location — a location rich with benzene. (The yummy PCBs and cadmium were removed along with tons of dirt.) The 86,000-square-foot store, much of which will be below ground, will have to be shielded from the seeping benzene vapors by a “protective barrier” around the foundation. We’re not saying that building the new store there is equivalent to developing on an Indian burial ground. In fact, it so totally isn’t. But if the you’re-okay-I’m-okay social contract Whole Foods has with its yuppie customers isn’t sacred, what is? Next thing you know, they’ll start overcharging us for groceries.
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