Open Phones: Food Shortage in New York City?

Monday, May 05, 2008

The New York Times reports that supermarkets are disappearing in New York City neighborhoods. Has your neighborhood lost a supermarket? What has taken its place?

Comments [83]

b from cobble hill

i'm days late, but that lady who called about the whole foods and the trader joes not opening in Carrol the Met and Key Foods not good enough for you? I call those supermarkets.

May. 15 2008 03:07 PM
Gustavo Gomez from Whitestone, NY

CVS or Duane Reade are not only pharmacies but are the equivalent of a C-store like 7-eleven. The reason these stores survive is that the market supports them. If you don't want them in your neighborhood then don't support them. Yet the fact is you enter one of these stores they are many customers buying OTC, milk, sodas, and cigarettes. On 23rd & 5th Ave a Duane Reade express (now we need express) just opened replacing a great deli. Maybe soon our only food choices in the city will be Duane Reade or Starbucks.

I also wondered why the study made the case that many don't live within 5 blocks of a grocery. Isn't five blocks a short distance? Six, seven blocks is out of reach? Seems a short distance for our type of city.

May. 12 2008 10:18 AM
linda from brooklyn

the keyfood grocery store in carroll gardens closed last year and a friggin cvs took over the spot. the store traffic there is a fraction of what the keyfood was; not to mention the rite aid that also opened last year 2 blocks away.

May. 09 2008 01:51 PM
Rick from NYC

The food shopping situation in the East Village (7th St/2nd Ave area) is terrible. There's the Met food. Anybody who signed the petition to save it from eviction by NYU probably only did so because it's the only chain supermarket for many blocks. The Met is dirty, the staff unpleasant, and they refuse to give rain checks (despite having a sign posted about a "rain check policy"). People signed the petition because some supermarket is better than no supermarket. But the yuppie grocery store on Saint Marks actually underprices Met on many basics such as cereal and vegetables (Met is very fond of the six-dollar box of cereal, so it's not like underpricing them qualifies as a charitable activity).

May. 09 2008 12:03 PM
Kate from Northeast Bronx

The Pioneer supermarket 3 blocks from my Bronx apartment is transforming into a CVS. There are many senior citizens in this area and the nearest supermarket is now a subway stop away.
CVS has promised to stock a wider variety of groceries at this location but we can't buy a chicken at CVS. Fresh Direct deliver to my neighborhood? Fuhgetaboutit!

May. 09 2008 11:59 AM
Claudia from Upper East Side

I live on East 85th Street-there used to be a Gristedes on the corner of E 85th & Madison. The problem of food storage there was awful. That store emitted a smell all year round.
The store subsequently moved out. It was replaced by a Dean & Deluca, which seems to be thriving, however there was about a year of work to bring the basement storage up to code. However, the lobby of the residential building definitely gets odors from the food storage.

The Gristedes that moved out went to a new location on E. 86th between Lex & Park. I have friends in that building, and there was definitely a concern about the basement and food storage. After about 3 years, the Gristedes went out again, and now a Walgreens has moved in. The Walgreens is across from a Duane Reade and a Citibank!!

May. 09 2008 11:45 AM
Carolyn from Long island

I stand in line at check out counters at my local supermarkets here on Long Island in a middle-upper class neighborhood and am absolutely appalled by what people are buying here to feed their families. But, at least we have supermarkets. NYC is having a real problem. There was something in the Times not too long ago about setting up green grocer carts in Manhattan areas to serve those places. And with all this, there is widespread famine and food shortage in so many places.

May. 07 2008 07:00 PM
Melissa from Brooklyn

I just want to comment on the fact that in my neighborhood, there is a Met Food and a couple decent fruit stands, butchers, fish stores and gourmet cheese places, and yet, I am constantly breathing the exhaust of idling Fresh Direct trucks. Fresh Direct is a completely inefficient model of food delivery- expensive, non-local foods, delivered in massive idling trucks and packaged in an abundance of plastic bags and cardboard boxes. Unfortunately, most patrons of Fresh Direct live in neighborhoods that are affluent and well-served by grocery stores, etc. Why do people shop at Fresh Direct???

May. 07 2008 12:18 PM
Donna Compton from Denville NJ

The big grocery stores in downtown Dover NJ closed in the early ‘70’s. The Acme is now a Salvation Army Thrift Store. Now people have to drive out to the highways to shop, or walk to the new little corner markets that started springing up. Many of those markets specialize in foods for the Latin population. In nearby Denville, citizens were blindsided by news that Key Food will become a Walgreens pharmacy, even the there are four other pharmacies within half a mile in this town of 15,000 residents, and one of those pharmacies is inside an A&P that put another pharmacy, as well as a small bakery and florist, out of business. The “food store” used to mostly sell food, like the “drug store” mostly sold medicines. Now the food stores, with their lower profit margin, have pharmacy departments, and the drug stores sell flowers and lawn chairs – and bad food. After all, why should a pharmacy sell anything healthy when they can sell the drugs to make people (think they're) well when they get sick from undernourishment? There’s an article in today’s NY Times about urban farming. No surprise.

May. 07 2008 11:27 AM
Rose from Queens

I live in South East, Queens, one of the areas that were featured in the New York Times article. Everyday, I pass by the closed Associated on Farmers Boulevard. Funny thing- when it first closed I thought they were closed for renovations but after four weeks I came to the conclusion that they had shut down. There is another grocery store within walking distance. However, there isn’t much variety at this supermarket and there produce isn’t fresh. I work in Manhattan, so I do my grocery shopping in the city. I know many people who shop at these local supermarkets who are unsatisfied with the quality but who would never make the trip into the city to grocery shop. I propose a Food Co-op or a Natural Food Market to be built in South East, Queens. What we put in our bodies is so important and shouldn’t be regarded as a small issue. I think that the community would enjoy this.

May. 06 2008 02:32 PM
Alice from Manhattan

I used to shop at D'Agostino's on 20th Street near Avenue C, which has now become a gym. D'Ags had a steady trade, especially among the older residents of the StuyTown community. When it closed, D'Ags kindly offered to take telephone orders and deliver from its 2nd Avenue store, but it seems that more D'Ags stores are closing than are staying in business these days. FreshDirect does a land-office business in the neighborhood now among residents who are connected to the Internet.

May. 06 2008 12:20 PM
kK from stamford, CT

Seems we are being over-run with CVS stores. Really, how many do you need in a 3 mile area? The profit margins must be incredible!

May. 05 2008 02:32 PM
Gretchen from Queens

I have seen one supermarket (near public housing) close and remain vacant. I think the problems with profit are related to the same forces creating the global food crisis: reliance on oil. Most of the food in these supermarkets travels an average of 1500 miles, including produce. This means it was picked weeks ago and miles away and shipped here. This system was developed in an era of cheap oil, which seems now to be behind us. My local CSA recently did a study comparing the farm produce with conventional produce in the local supermarkets and the prices were in fact comparable. We did this study preparing to offering low income shares. We also have other products available through the CSA, including meat, cheese, bread, yogurt and other things. We seem to be in the early stages of developing an alternative food distribution network, which is local and sustainable. I do think there is a direct correlation between the lack of markets selling real food and the health problems in underserved neighborhoods. When organic food seems expensive, think about the medical bills that come with obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and the health issues that come from eating fast and over-processed food.

May. 05 2008 01:17 PM
csg from Westchester County

One grocery store was replaced by a CVS, the other by a gym.

May. 05 2008 01:10 PM
Anne Maloney from Closter NJ

Hi ... re the earlier conversation about supermarkets ... I live in a very up scale community (I am NOT so upscale!!).. we have lost the one competing shop in the town .. We had Stop & Shop and the A&P ... now just the A&P ... which has become more expensive as a result of the lack of competition ... nothing has replaced the S&S ... the location is still empty .. there was a rumor of Whole Foods but it appears the space is too small. We have to drive about 5+ miles to get to a Safeway which is a lot less expensive than the A & P... we have literally dozens of banks ... not so much with the pharmacies.

May. 05 2008 01:05 PM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

Sunnyside is fortunate to have several supermarkets as well as many, many corner delis. There is a Key Foods on Queens Blvd and 46th. However, the best produce in the neighborhood goes to the Met Foods on 43rd Avenue and 44th St., which even has a small organic produce section. It also carries a fair amount of organic and vegetarian dry and frozen goods. Second place would go to Sunnyside Market on Skillman. There's also a number of ethnic grocers, such as the Irish-run Butcher Block on 41st (best place for fresh meat) a Turkish grocer on Skillman and a wonderful Egyptian (I think) grocer on 43rd Ave. and 43rd St.

I do have a car, so I've taken advantage of the new Trader Joe's that opened up in Rego Park over on Metropolitan and Woodhaven. It's a bit of a drive, but the savings and selection are worth it.

May. 05 2008 12:43 PM

One active area in Big Consulting firms has been upgrading the role of a business' land value as part of their overall business plan.

Hence if a supermarket doesn't make much profit BUT their properties are quite valuable that business is often obliged to sell that land to the highest bidder.

Implementing this strategy is an extra service provided by Big Firms to their existing clients. I was involved w this activity directly.

Anyway that's why your CVS replaced your supermarket.

In addition, a guess -- in the case of pharma, the govt. supports the stores (as pharmas profit from a % of items sold) but the way food is sold is less profitable from the govt. handout perspective -- in that case the govt. pays out the farmers but the stores are cut out of that handout.

May. 05 2008 12:33 PM
Phil from Kensington Brooklyn

Do you know on Ditmas Avenue in Kensington where there is a subway stop there is no nearby supermarket? At least there are none between MacDonald Avenue and Coney Island Avenue which is quite a stretch. (And if you go over to Newkirk plaza there isn't one there either) There is a CVS though and two small produce stores where the produce is generally not that good though cheap. In addition, there are no banks at all. Where other parts of the city have a glut we have none. For example look at Montague Street, Court Street even Smith Street--even a little out of the way place like Hamilton Avenue over by Columbia Street there's an ATM machine. It all has to do with race and class. Let's call it the conspiracy of corporate capitalism.

Kensington is a neighborhood made up of Hassidic Jews, various ethnic groups of Muslim faith, Mexican immigrants and Russian Immigrants. Many if not most of the people I see shopping use their food stamp cards. Now the white 20, 30 and 40 somethings are moving into the neighborhood, buying up available co-ops and crying the blues on the various blogs about lack of services--they mean of course outdoor cafes and the kinds of stores that you find in Park Slope or Cobble Hill or Williamsburg. I haven't read or heard a cry out for supermarkets or ATM machines. . .

May. 05 2008 12:33 PM
Nell from Brooklyn

In Brooklyn Heights there is a gult of Starbucks and drugstores. We've lost a D'agastinos to a CVS and a Gristedies has recently closed and remains empty. There are too many drug stores to count.

In Bay Ridge, there are no supermarkets close to me. However, from my apartment to the subway, there are FOUR drugstores.

May. 05 2008 12:31 PM
Rena from Fair Lawn, NJ

About 5 years ago, the Grand Union in the center of Fair Lawn went out of business and was replaced by a pharmacy (of course)- Eckert. I and probably many people boycotted it and now it has been replaced by Rite-Aid, which is directly across from a large 24/7 CVS. The many senior citizens who live in apartments within walking distance to the town center do not have a walkable super market any more.

May. 05 2008 12:23 PM
Frozan Sabeh from Manhattan

I grew up in Japan and there is a regulation that franchised stores as well as same/similar businesses have to be a certain distance from each other. For example, a gas station can’t not be open in a intersection that already has a gas station therefore the new one has to be a few blocks away from the existing one. Since New York City is highly neighborhood oriented, it would be more convenient for us if the city could adapt such a regulation.

May. 05 2008 12:22 PM

Debra (51) who is traveling from Hoboken to Park Slope Food Coop:

1. Purple Dragon Coop (Janit London) delivers boxes of organics, based in N. Jersey (findable via google)
2. Mitsuwa Japanese Marketplace, Edgewater NJ -- massive Asian/Japanese Marketplace
3. Ironbound District/Newark: A&J Seabra's Supermarket and Popular Market, Ferry St. for fish

Speaking as a former Park Slope COOP and UWS Fairway snob I don't look back w my current options including the above.

May. 05 2008 12:20 PM
Yevgeniy from Bensonhurst

that comment about Barcelona's markets is right on. i have vivid memories of that produce (as well as people recommending those markets as one of the places to see in the city). i say we conglomerate a few extra pharmacies star bucks and banks into farmers markets.

May. 05 2008 12:15 PM
Rose from Morris County

Concerning the question of whether this is happening in New Jersey, I don't see it out here in Morris County at all. Less then five miles from my house in Parsippany there are two ShopRites, a Stop&Shop, and a PathMark that I know of and I'm sure there are others. There are also several small food shops like Krogers. It's like that around my friends' houses in Morristown and Madison as well. If there are areas with a shortage of grocery stores it's not anywhere near me. I've seen the need for supermarkets in New York because it seems like every time I stay with family or friends there, they have to dedicate an entire day to getting out and going to the store.

May. 05 2008 12:14 PM

Here in Central NJ (Somerset/Middlesex/Union counties) CVS and several banks have specialized in purchasing older supermarkets, logical enough. This effects ones' method of shopping for food.

Now we visit separate immigrant run produce, fish and poultry markets (yes I can buy an old soup hen!), and 1-3 times a month to a Wegman's for some dry goods and organics -- far better than my former local supermarket -- 10 miles away. Of course enjoying the difference in cultures from place to place.

Immigrants from North Asia, South Asia, as well as Ecuador, have improved the selection of available foods in terms of freshness, quality and variety by about 1000 percent.

May. 05 2008 12:10 PM
Paulette from Brick, NJ

I think we have a sort of opposite problem in that our supermarkets are all growing 'super' and larger! All of our supermarkets have gone from regular size to the so called 'superstore' size. I, along with many people in town find them difficult to stop in for a few items; so many of us have started to frequent the smaller grocery stores on a day to day basis and save our trips to the supermarket for more weekly or monthly shopping.

May. 05 2008 12:10 PM
Dan Edelstein from Greenwich, Ct

For whatever reason, supermarkets are not closing, up here in the Greenwich area. Actually, there are a few more stores now than there have been in recent years. And in spite of perceptions to the contrary, we're all not filthy rich up here. There's quite a diverse population here, so I don't think relative wealth of the community has much to do with it.

May. 05 2008 12:05 PM
Yevgeniy from Bensonhurst

I can certainly relate to the last few callers who had neighborhood supermarkets replaced by some sort of chain stores (a staples took over a Scaturro, in my case). now when my family needs groceries we either have to go to the next closest supermarket which is far enough away that we usually end up driving to the Fairway in Redhook, since it's only a little further away, and the products are FAR better. Or what happens most of the time, because it's cheaper and easier, we end up going to 86th street, which between Bay Pkwy and 23rd ave has 10-20 local grocery stores, these vary greatly in price and quality (and also the selection tends to vary based on the ethnicity of the proprietors) but for the most part the quality is low enough to keep driving elsewhere an option. which brings me to my last point on fruit carts, or smaller grocery stores, sure in some cases thats the only source available, but in many cases the quality of the food is so bad it's better to forgo it altogether.

May. 05 2008 12:04 PM
Debra from Morris County, NJ

Brian asked what we see happening in NJ. Supermarkets in my semi-rural/suburban area seem to be doing well; I've seen new ones open. However, such stores here generally include full-service pharmacies, as well as most of the items one could find at Duane Reade. That probably helps these supermarkets offset the generally lower profit margins on food. I've also noticed that when supermarkets anchor a strip mall that also includes a pharmacy, those pharmacies seem to be devoting more floor space to seasonal products and 'dollar store'-type stock. For most consumers not in the city, a trip to the supermarket involves a car. 'One-stop shopping' makes in-store pharmacies much more convenient than schlepping to various outlets. (Although, if we 'schlep' it's likely to be to a big-box retailer or warehouse club, most of which now have their own pharmacies, and where prices are even lower than they are at the local pharmacy OR the supermarket.)

May. 05 2008 12:02 PM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

I live in Jackson Heights and there are quite a few supermarkets within easy walking distance: a couple of Mets, a Trade Fair, and some others. However except for one or two items I will take the subway into Manhattan to shop at Trader Joes's and Whole Foods near Union Square, as well as go to the Farmer's Market. As far as I'm concerned, the prices are not only equal but sometimes less than what I see at the supermarkets in my neighborhood and the quality of the food is better.
Organic or local food is not a rip-off as one of the previous posts claimed.
It's interesting: Michael Pollan wrote in "The Omnivore's Dilemma" that families spent much more of their dollar on food in the middle of the last century than what they were spending decades later. He said that maybe we were going to have to rethink our priorities and understand that quality is not supposed to come cheap. You have people who don't mind spending a thousand bucks on some dopey plasma TV, yet get all bent out of shape for having to spend 50 cents more on a loaf of whole-grain bread or twenty-five cents more for a pound of apples.

May. 05 2008 12:00 PM
lisa from park slope

D'agostino's suddenly closed last spring and lo and behold, under construction- Bank of America.

May. 05 2008 11:59 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

I live in Ditmas Park (flatbush) on Cortelyou Rd and our local Associated closed, leaving us with a Met Food that smells like spoiled milk and a C-Town that just remodled. The C-Town isnt bad, just more expensive then the assocated.

The Flatbush Food Co-op opened in the associated's location - its great but very expensive.

For anything else you need a car or a bus ride to reach. Fresh Direct just came to the area about 6 months ago.

May. 05 2008 11:59 AM
Debra from Hoboken

I used to live in Park Slope and was a Food Coop member/owner. I moved to Hoboken and was appalled by the high food prices at the two nearby Kings grocery stores and local health food store; the other big market is a mile across town. The health food stores in town have limited selection and are very expensive. We have one new gourmet grocery which is also exorbitant. So I rejoined the Park Slope Food Coop and try to do most of my shopping once a week or so. The money I save makes the time spent on the work slots worthwhile (2 hrs 45 minutes every four weeks for each person over 16 in the household).

May. 05 2008 11:58 AM
Bess from Manhattan

I live in the west village. A supermarket on Hudson Street closed down this year and was replaced by a massive duane reade...(I should mention that there is another duane reade a few blocks away). On a more positive note--there's a mini farmers market across the street on Saturday mornings that is less expensive than the one in union square.

BTW-the Duane Reade has put up a new large sidewalk-sign that says it accepts food stamps. Perhaps farmers markets should compete with that.... Do farmers markets in NYC take food stamps? Perhaps welfare recipients should get a price discount as well. If fresh produce isn't introduced into their diets at a young age, they won't develop a taste for veggies and non-sweet fruits....

May. 05 2008 11:57 AM
Jay from NYC

Food Emporium on 12th and 6th renovated the store a year back...
The quality and selection has become terrible and their prices have gone way up.
I'll rarely shop there anymore opting to go to Citarella, which has much better prices. Food Emporium has become a rip off.

May. 05 2008 11:56 AM
John Hahn from Glen Rock NJ

Here in HIGH PROPERTY TAX NJ We are awash in Food Stores.
I did a map.
With in 1.5 miles (30 Blocks) I have
(1) Whole Foods, (2) Kings, (1) A & P, (1) Stop N Shop, (1) Pathmark, (1) Shoprite (1) Food Basics.
(0) Duane Reades (3) CVS (1) Rite Aid, (1) Walgreens
Don't get me started on BANKS. We have (6) in our little (2) Block down town area.
Banks are the WORST. Too MANY BANKS!

May. 05 2008 11:56 AM
Dave from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Many store fronts along Smith Street and Court Street in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Boerum Hill neighborhood have been replaced by chain pharmacies like CVS and Duane Reade, but also by bank chains or ATM centers. The rents have have gone so high that these are the only businesses that can afford to open. One business lost to these chains is a large grocery store that served the community.

One resident of this area called the show to express concern that the soon-to-be-opened Trader Joe's might negatively affect Arab-owned businesses in the area. Speaking as an Arab-American who patronizes Arab shops on Atlantic Avenue and who also has been known to travel out of town to shop at Trader Joe's I can say that I plan to shop at both Trader Joe's when it gets here and at the Arab businesses in the neighborhood. There is little overlap between the types of things I purchase in each store.

May. 05 2008 11:55 AM
Rebecca from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

I'm lucky enough to have a Met food about 5 or 6 blocks away, as well 2 independent butchers, a great fish store, and a couple of green grocers nearby (and the Trader Joes is coming soon, as well as the Whole Foods eventually). But I think that's the exception to the rule nowadays, and the Starbucks, banks, and drugstore are certainly starting to encroach.

May. 05 2008 11:54 AM
Helen from Mount Kisco, NY

Also, when I did live in the city I was shocked by the condition of the markets (I lived near an Associated and a Dag). The Associated especially was dirty, cramped, had suspect meat and produce, and surly employees. Why should people have to go to Whole Foods for a decent shopping experience?

May. 05 2008 11:54 AM
Don Wade from Jackson Heights, Queens

It's been a few years now but a Key Food closed and a Duane Reade moved in from a smaller space across the street. Commerce bank moved into the then vacant space. Fortunately there are still 2 supermarkets 3-4 blocks away.

May. 05 2008 11:53 AM
rich from Stuyvesant town

Dag's on 20thst now a gym. Gristedes on 14th now a Duane Read--around the corner CVS down the street Rite Aid...still have some in the general area but for how the meantime Union Square has Trader Joes/Food emporiam/and whole foods----at much higher prices--

May. 05 2008 11:53 AM
Melissa from north NJ

In northern NJ, close to our house (in a 5 mile radius), there's a ShopRite, 2 A&Ps, a Stop and Go, 2 Kings Supermarkets, a Whole Foods, a C-Town and several other smaller grocers that I know of. I'm sure there are other supermarkets that I'm not aware of, these are just the ones that I know and/or visit myself.
I used to live in Brooklyn and hated going to the supermarkets there, as they were all small, overpriced and filthy. There was a Key Food store in Park Slope that I avoided--every time I went there it seemed to get dirtier. I hope it's improved since I moved out. ( And I agree with a previous poster on Eagle Provisions...small but great store.)

May. 05 2008 11:53 AM
James from New York

This is one problem EVERYONE has it in their power to vote on whenever they go shopping. Patronize the stores that you approve of & avoid the ones that you don't (is this a 'duh'-moment yet?).

If your 'community' has more stores in it which u disapprove of than approve of, maybe your neighbors are making poor choices.

May. 05 2008 11:53 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

of course drug stores feature junk food--by undermining health of the neighborhood, they increase demand for the prescription drugs where they rake in their high profits.

the solution is simple, people have to exercise more and eat better thereby dramatically reducing their need for drugs. as a senior citizen, who exercises daily and shops greenmarkets, fairway, whole foods, i haven't bought any prescription meds in years.

May. 05 2008 11:53 AM
Sara from Greenpoint

In Barcelona, for example, as the city expanded from a collection of small neighborhoods to a proper city, the planners built into the urban design large covered farmer's markets in each neighborhood. All beautiful covered, year round structures with permanent booths built in for not only produce sellers, but also dairys, bakers, butcher's, and dry bulk goods. It's one of the best things about Barcelona for locals and tourists alike; I'd love to see such an initiative here.

May. 05 2008 11:53 AM
Dorothy from Chelsea

3 Gristedes within a 3 block radius (26th & 8th, 22 & 8th, 24th & 9th) -- too many banks, too many drug stores. The D'Agostino's (23rd btwn 8th/9th) closed 12-18(?) months ago and was replaced by a Duane Reade and a nail salon.

I also go to Trader Joe's at 14th & 3rd -- take the bus -- and also stop at the Green Market at Union Square. Western Beef moved from 14th Street to 16th Street in a much smaller space, but except for meat their prices are comparable to Gristedes, based on the stuff I buy.

We have a produce cart at 8th Ave. & 23rd Street -- couldn't manage without it.

One more thing: I order some big stuff from Fresh Direct once a month. I have an order coming today -- with Canada Dry ginger ale, soy milk, eggs, carrots (same price as Western Beef) bananas (cheaper than Western Beef) and brocolli (cheaper than Western Beef). Fresh Direct is terrific on customer service and their quality is outstanding. I can justify their delivery charge simply based on the time and work they save me as well as less expensive or same price on what I buy.

May. 05 2008 11:52 AM
Alison from Teaneck, NJ

It's just the same in the suburbs. When we moved to Teaneck thirty years ago, we had three supermarkets very close by. All have closed--two are now drugstores and one a curtain store. Elsewhere in Teaneck three other supermarkets closed, all becoming drugstores. Now we have only one supermarket, a Stop and Shop.

May. 05 2008 11:51 AM
IshopatTraderJoes from Queens

There's 1 grocery store closed in my neighborhood. The store's currently empty and a homeless person sleeps by the front door. There are still a lot of other grocery stores in the area so I'm not worried.

May. 05 2008 11:51 AM
John Averill from White Plains, NY

Hello- the city should rebate to the store owners a certain % of property or sales taxes for any store whose inventory includes 50% (or some amount) perishable goods i.e. fresh vegs,fruits,meat & fish.

May. 05 2008 11:51 AM
Marcia from Long Branch, NJ

I think this is definitely a NYC phenomenon. Here in New Jersey (where you can hop in your car to go to the many grocery stores), there are lots of huge, well stocked, wide-aisled super-supermarkets as well as a few smaller grocery stores. It's one area in which the 'burbs really excel. It probably has more to do with the cost of real estate than the wealth or poverty of a neighborhood.

May. 05 2008 11:51 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

We had a Keyfood store, which closed and became Value Depot. Don't ask me what they sell there. We try to eat organic, so we drive into the city to Trader Joe's once in about 3 weeks and shop there. there is a farmers market by my office (downtown Brooklyn) and a very nice organic store (Perelandra), so I carry bags from work, and hate doing it, but the food is so much better and cheaper!

May. 05 2008 11:51 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

NYC can give large tax relief to supermarket chains and land lords that rent to the chains. Unsanitary vegetables carts is a lousy idea.

May. 05 2008 11:50 AM
heli from Stuyvesant Town

D'Agostino's supermarket was replaced by a health club near Avenue C and 20th Street. More people order from an online supermarket that delivers home until 11pm.
I would rather have had a bookstore since the closest bookstore to us is in Union Square.

May. 05 2008 11:50 AM
eastvillage from nyc

Manhattan: 1st ave and 14th st. Dueanne Reade replaced Gristedes about 4 months ago.

May. 05 2008 11:49 AM
Tom from Westfield, NJ

Re the supermarket closing in urban areas -- I live in Westfield, NJ, within a mile of my house there is a Kings, Shop Rite and Pathmark (which I guess is now an A&P. There was an A&P closed but it reopened in a different location.


May. 05 2008 11:49 AM
Helen from Mount Kisco, NY

I have wanted to move back into the city, but refrained to a certain extent because I couldn't find an apartment in my price range near amenities like a super market. That being said this phenomena is happening in Westchester as well, albeit not to the same extent as one can take a car to another store. A Stop n' Shop near me in Mount Kisco recently closed and will soon reopen as a 24-hour CVS. This location is across the street from a hospital. While it will certainly be helpful to have a 24-hour pharmacy across the street from the hospital, the CVS will certainly squeeze out the independent pharmacy down the street.

May. 05 2008 11:48 AM
Zach from Upper West Side

the D'Agostino on 7th ave in Brooklyn went out of business - it was a crap supermarket but still - it is being replaced by a Bank of America. There is another Bank of America less than five blocks away.

A couple of ideas to retain supermarkets:

1) The city should create a zoning code specifically for supermarkets or places that sell fresh food.
2) Reduce property taxes for supermarkets.
3) Use city land to build supermarkets/green markets and keep the land in city hands to ensure that rents stay low.

May. 05 2008 11:48 AM
mc from manhattan

So what's up with this? Why are so many grocery stores replaced with convenience chains? Who's been lobbying who? Anyone have any insight into the behind the scenes of this?

May. 05 2008 11:48 AM
R from Bed-Stuy near Bushwick

What can be done?
1) The government can provide financial incentives (such as tax breaks) to opening grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods.
2) Consumers can get together to create food coops. I hear that the Park Slope Food Coop is working with groups in other parts of Brooklyn to open branches...

May. 05 2008 11:48 AM
Robert from NYC

In the E Vill Banks, Parmacies, Starbucks and sushi bars/restaurants are saturating the area.

May. 05 2008 11:47 AM
andy from manhattan

when we first moved to our neighborhood at e. 103rd @ lex, one of the best features was our local, incredibly priced and regularly busy, associated grocery store.

it's been "closed for renovation" for 5 months now, and a sign has been put up suggesting we go to their new location in brooklyn!!!

there are other grocery stores near by, but give me my old one back.

and it seems obvious that the whole cannibalistic store acquisition by duane reade and cvs will only go so far before they will suffer as starbucks is beginning to suffer.

buy local!!! support those local food outlets!

May. 05 2008 11:47 AM
Avivah from Brooklyn

In my area of Brooklyn there is a Compare Foods with such a distinctive smell that many people do not feel comfortable shopping there and another grocery store - a former Pathmark - that while within walking distance that walk is through a portion of the neighbourhood that is not safe. As for the chain chemists, NONE.

I will often leave the house very early to shop before work and store perishables in the office refrigerator. In the evening I am often one of many subway riders toting groceries from Fairway (UWS), Lifethyme (Village) or Perelanda (Downtown Brooklyn health food store).

May. 05 2008 11:45 AM
anonymous from park slope

In the South Slope (Brooklyn) we have one of the best small grocers in NY; it's called Eagle Provisioners. Other than that, I have to drive at least 10 blocks for the nearest full size grocer.

May. 05 2008 11:45 AM
Nick from Manhattan


I lived in Queens for a few years, and I was so disappointed in the quality of the produce.

Also, why are there relatively so few farmer's markets in the outer boros, where the population could so benefit from them?

Partial answer to my own question: the prices are too high! The produce is great, but my local farmer's market in Manhattan has greens for (gasp!) $32 a pound (it's true!)

The city should use policies to encourage greenmarkets with affordable prices in neighborhoods where people need access.


May. 05 2008 11:44 AM
Robert from NYC

That's another of the big rip-offs that we were brainwashed into thinking, i.e., organic is better albeit a bit more expensive and now we're stuck with outrageously overpriced products deemed organic and we're told it's worth it because it's healthier. Bull dung! We're all getting ripped off by farmers too now whom I always thought got screwed by the middleman. Well he's gone and we're getting screwed by the farmers.

May. 05 2008 11:44 AM
dara b. from Brooklyn

Also, we participate in our neighborhood CSA which is seasonal, a ton of healthy, fresh, organic, biodynamic food and extremely affordable.

May. 05 2008 11:44 AM
diana from Queens

There are two supermarkets in my neighborhood in Queens and I can only buy dried food and other things that do not require being 'fresh' because the vegetables and meat on sale at these supermarkets look horrible and simply not safe to consume. I often buy food near my workplace in the union square area and carry it home on the train. The prices are higher and it is inconvenient to transport heavy bags on the train, but if you don't have a car the options are limited.

May. 05 2008 11:43 AM
Shelley from work

In Stuyvesant Town, D'Agostino's was around the corner. It is now a GYM. There is an emporiam on 1st and 20th;

I shop at Trader Joe's and take a cab home or pay for delivery

May. 05 2008 11:43 AM
Peppino Disgusta from Bklyn

Carroll Gardens: Come for the CVS, stay for the 297 bank branches!

May. 05 2008 11:43 AM
Steve Gleit from Carroll Gardens

Carroll Gardens did lose a Key food; however it still has a Met Food on Henry and Sackett Street.

May. 05 2008 11:43 AM
Zach from Upper West Side

I live in South Park Slope. When I moved in there were no supermarkets within a half-mile. then a Union Market opened a couple of blocks away, but it is ridiculously expensive. I ended up joining the Park Slope Food Coop because its cheap and great food but its so far away. I got too many groceries one day and had to crawl ten feet to the bus stop and wait 30 minutes. North Slope has like 4 different supermarkets of varying quality. The South has nothing. And I can't recall seeing any supermarkets further south

May. 05 2008 11:42 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

Park Slope has a lot of super-bodegas (e.g. Met, Apple Tree, etc) and medium bodegas. We even had a Key and a Dag's along 7th Ave (i.e. the main drag). On the edges, we still have a C-Town and an Associated (the best of bunch, but the furthest from me).

But the Dag's recently closed.

Oh, the humanity! There's no real supermarket between my closest subway stop and my home! How will I make it through the days!?

May. 05 2008 11:42 AM
dara b. from Brooklyn

We were resistant in joining the Park Slope Food Coop for a while but have since joined and save so much money!!

It is SO much better then trekking to Trader Joe's or the too pricey Citeralla. Please we have a say in what is sold.

May. 05 2008 11:42 AM
eric e. from Astoria

There used to be a MetFood, which is now a CVS pharmacy. The reasoning was that there's a Waldbaum's, Keyfood, and Trade Fair and Costco's within the vicinity, but one needs a car to get there (which fortunately for me I have a 15 year old car). However for those who doesn't they take the bus or hitch a ride or take a gypsy cab just to go food shopping. I guess they expect us to eat whatever food items they sell at the CVS stores (chips, soda, microwavable foods, etc.) Now wonder the kids nowadays are now unhealthy and obese.

May. 05 2008 11:42 AM
In Chicago

can you call out for a supermarket company executive to get on the phone and explain what are the benchmarks for building a market? is there redlining in the supermarket industry? i'd have to say, yes. here in chicago, public housing residents subsisted for DECADES without proper markets. but now, where public housing is being replaced by $500,000 condos, markets are springing up like tulips.

May. 05 2008 11:41 AM
shindig from nyc

When I moved to Red Hook, the only option was the overpriced store I'll call Rotten Fair, or the trek across Hamilton Ave to Pathmark.

Now there's the Added Value Farm and Fairway. I initially grumbled about Fairway, but now I feel really fortunate.

May. 05 2008 11:40 AM


Cookie cutter banks need to sell something besides weird financial instruments, right? I vote produce.

May. 05 2008 11:40 AM
Jeremy from Manhattan

The Upper East Side seems to have a generous smattering of grocery stores, both high end and "standard" (even without Whole Foods). Near my apartment, there are: D'agostino's on York and 79th, Agata and Valentina on 1st and 79th, Gristedes on 2nd and 75th, and Citarella on 3rd and 76th. And then you have Eli's (3rd and 80th).

May. 05 2008 11:40 AM
Robert from NYC

Duane Reades and Starbucks. Three Starbucks within 6 blocks in my neighborhood.

May. 05 2008 11:39 AM
Zach from Brooklyn

I live three blocks away from my neighborhood Key Foods (off the Halsey J in Bushwick). This is very close and convenient, however the supermarket keeps the same hours of a chase bank. If you don't get to Key Foods by 7:30PM on weekdays, you have to go to a corner deli. Most people, myself included, get home much later. Sometimes I resort to one of the crazy supermarkets on 14th street.

May. 05 2008 11:38 AM
Jay from NYC

Bodegas are usually run by the new immigrants, as are news stands, delis, diners, taxis...
When I was a kid in the 70's the delis were run by Italians, the diners were run by Greeks, bodegas by Puerto Ricans, etc... When that generation retired, their kids had gone to college and took other types of jobs.
News stand are now run by Pakistanis, Pizzerias by South Americans, some sushi restaurants are even run by Chinese, delis by Koreans...
This is New York... the next generation of Deli owners, taxi drivers, diner owners, etc, are just arriving now.

May. 05 2008 11:20 AM
Robert from NYC

Two weeks ago I signed a petition at my MET market in the E Vill to prevent NYU from throwing the market out of their property. So, that is maybe not the reason you're looking for, MET nonetheless may be closing soon if NYU is successful and they usually are, unfortunately.

May. 05 2008 11:11 AM

the upper west side has lost a bunch of supermarkets in the last 25 years. there was a Daitch Shopwell (remember them - they were once a major chain) on Broadway between 77th and 78th. that closed and became a Crazy Eddie store (remember him/them - also once a major chain). there were a couple of Red Apple supermarkets, Sloan's, Gristedes, Dagonstinos and A&P - all are now gone. so what's left now? a Food Emporium every 20 blocks, 1 or 2 Associated supermarkets, a Pioneer (great beer selection), Fairway, and some larger bodegas (please explain why bodgeas are run by Asians).

May. 05 2008 10:03 AM

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