LINK. "Billyburg" is basically hipster ground zero as far as NYC is concerned and the main shopping street is full of boutique cheese shops, European style cafes, local designer and artist boutiques. The big controversy over there now is that Duane Reade and other chains will be moving in and this has created a divide with new and old residents. One new Manhattan-to-Brooklyn transplant saw the shift as progress, lamented on the fact that many of the trendy boutiques are cash-only and that chains like Dunkin' Donuts would be great for the neighborhood which altogether caused a big stir on a recent Curbed post: LINK.
So Harlem is a bit the opposite of what's happening in Brooklyn since it seems a lot of chain store came first before neighborhood-friendly boutiques and cafes. There's quite a few Dunkin' Donuts, Duane Reades, national bank and the ubiquitous Subway restaurant to go around uptown. This might be a rent issue because many of the new condos have a higher overhead so the smaller, intimate eateries and shops in Harlem tend to be in older buildings. Maybe some of the empty commercial spaces that are available around town these days should figure out some financial incentives to attract better businesses that are not chain stores. Harlem definitely has enough of them already.