Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Second Gristedes Supermarket For Roosevelt Island? Maybe, But Definitely a Whole Foods For Nearby Second Avenue and 57th Street Before Next Olympics!

Vacant Riverwalk Retail Store adjacent to Duane Reade

Long Island City and Roosevelt Island have several things in common including close proximity to Manhattan, beautiful waterfront views, new residential developments and residents salivating for more and better retail amenities than are currently available. Long Island City bloggers Liqcity and A Fine Blog report how happy the neighborhood is with the opening of a new area supermarket, Foodcellar (formerly the Amish market) and the soon to be open Duane Reade.

Fortunately, a Duane Reade opened on Roosevelt Island earlier this year to the delight of retail service starved Roosevelt Islanders. Many Roosevelt Island residents have eagerly waited to see what retailer will occupy the vacant space adjacent to Duane Reade in the Hudson/Related Riverwalk development at 425 Main Street. Though not definite, the long held speculation of Gristedes taking over that space may be close at hand. If true, will Roosevelt Island residents be as happy at this news of a second Gristedes on the Island as their LIC neighbors were with their new supermarket? Not if this opinion by an Octagon resident about shopping at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes is common among other Roosevelt Islanders.
The Gristedes is DISGUSTING. I really mean it... you should go there and check it out... my favorite place is near the dairy, it actually smells like shit so they put an air freshener there to make it smell a little better. Not to mention in the summer or maybe early fall when I was in there I heard the manager say right in front of me and other customers "Wow, I really can't believe we passed that health inspection!" Since that day I have not shopped there.
And these excerpts of comments from 2007 Roosevelt Island grocery shopping post do not shed a positive light on the Roosevelt Island Gristedes:
  • Gristedes has always been a major disappointment long before I moved to Roosevelt Island. Their stores are by far the most disgusting, confusing and over priced grocery stores in NYC.
  • The only time I set foot into our Gristedes is when I really need something that I don't have at home or ran out of.
  • Does Gristede's deliberately try to stock the worst possible produce that it can get? There's a reason why Fresh Direct chose Roosevelt Island as its pilot. If that store didn't get a fantastic break on the rent, it would have been out of business long ago.
A contrary view from our Italian correspondent Alain:
All I care about a Grocery store is the quality and the variety of the products it sells.
That clarified, I must say that Gristedes fully satisfies my standards.
Image of Roosevelt Island Gristedes from Roosevelt Island 360

And fellow blogger Roosevelt Island 360 asks if Roosevelt Island residents would mourn Gristedes Departure? The answer?
Thank heavens for Fresh Direct.
Happily, Fresh Direct, the 59th Street 1st Avenue Food Emporium and Saturday's Farmers Market will not be the only options Roosevelt Islanders have for good quality grocery shopping in the future. However, according to the NY Observer we will have to wait until the next Olympics rolls around in 2012.
Whole Foods has signed as the anchor tenant for a new development at 57th Street and Second Avenue, making it the sixth outlet for the Austin-based food retailer in foodie-laden New York City.

The World-Wide Group announced this evening that Whole Foods would, starting in 2012, occupy 47,000 square feet in its mixed-use development.

Image of Whole Foods Columbus Circle Store at Time Warner Building from SF Bart

Hopefully, by that time the Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization program will have been completed so that a trip to Whole Foods will be very easy and convenient. (Just kidding - I know the tram modernization is scheduled to start in 2009 and last for 6-9 months).


mushr00m said...

Another Gristedes? Why don't you just slap me and take my lunch money?

Anonymous said...

The owner of Gristedes, John Catsimatidis, plans to run for Mayor next year as a Republican. And his campaign manager is Rob Ryan, who was kicked out as head of RIOC a few years ago for paying himself and his staff extra money after 9/11. Roosevelt Island should cast a record breaking and unanimous vote for whoever is running against Catsimatidis.

Anonymous said...

Another Gristedes? So much for competition...

Anonymous said...

the thought of another Gristedes is just chilling. The prices are through the ceiling, the quality is horrendous and the cleanliness, smell and general ambience of the current one leave much to be desired. Although I live in the building where it may reside, I too also say thank heavens for Fresh Direct and will not darken the Gristedes door.

Anonymous said...

Catsimatidis is no Bloomberg. Once voters realize he is responsible for a mediocre retail chain(he claims he makes no money from it), he will likely be rejected.

If Hudson/Related reads these comments, PLEASE don't put Gristede's in that wonderful space. I'd rather see it empty. I'd rather see Dunkin Donuts - how about Boston Chicken? Anything but Gristede's. I am fortunate enough to have a car, and I slowly got into the habit of shopping in Manhattan on my way home from work, and also over in the ghetto - Trade Fair is surprisingly clean and reasonably priced, probably because they don't rent from RIOC.

The retail food business is brutal, I know. But if the Motorgate Gristede's is as mediocre as it is, why reward them with more space?

A big part of a successful supermarket location is the manager. I'll bet if you put a good manager in the Motorgate location, it would improve the store at least 50%.

One of Gristede's problems at Motorgate is they have too MUCH space. The store area should be cut by at least 1/3, and the balance of the space should be leased to a different food retailer - Boston Chicken, anyone? Dunkin' Donuts? I'm sure there are some good chains or franchises that would like to take a crack at Roosevelt Island. The poor RIOC(state-enforced) policies have made this impossible, so far. Shame all around, but especially to RIOC for not finding a quick solution. The current administration has been in office almost 20 months.

Anonymous said...

Gristedes has that much space because they expanded a few years ago. And why improve quality if you have no competition? As for Trade Fair, it's ok, but if you have a car, Associated is only a few blocks further away on 21st St.

Anonymous said...

I'm planning on moving to Roosevelt Island in a few months (from San Francisco, CA). When I was there last time I went to look at Gristedes and it was pretty gross, hence my renaming it Grosstedes.
I'll be moving in the Riverwalk Court building when it's finished so I'm looking forward to seeing any other kind of grocery store opened in the space next to Duane Reade.

Anonymous said...

Something like a Trader Joe's would be nice. The space looks kind of small from the outside, though, so I am not sure how any grocery store would be able to fit in there unless it is a deli-like kind of place. How would they receive deliveries?

Anonymous said...

I'm in NYC this weekend checking construction progress on the RiverWalk Court building where I will move in next year. I spent all afternoon and evening on Roosevelt Island and I spent a good 30 min inside Gristedes. I must admit that my memory failed me. That place is not nearly as gross as I remember it. It's a fine place for all the basics. I would not buy my premium meats and cold cuts (or fancy cheeses) there but other than that it's a decent place. Maybe the store itself is old, so that's why it looks the way it does, but the merchandise was fine and I didn't smell anything bad anywhere.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: It would be great if a store like D'Agostino groceries, moved in the space next to Duane Reade's. Good competition!


Welcome to Roosevelt Island and thanks for adding your comments to the discussion. I agree that competition among grocers would be a good thing for Roosevelt Island. I hope Hudson/Related thinks so as well.

What did you think of the construction progress going on at the new Riverwalk building? Are there any particular issues that you think need to be addressed?

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Islander! :) Construction is right on target, which is a good thing because it's usually late.
I went to look at the model unit in the adjacent building (the Duane Reade’s building), to see how the internal finishes will look like in my condo. Very nice, I must say.
Everything is proceeding as expected. I learned today that the Island has a garbage vacuum disposal system, which I appreciated, being a bit of a geek.
I noticed your blog’s advertisements on the tram’s stations in Manhattan. Good job! I saw more than one person stopping to read them.
BTW click here to see some pictures I took at Gristedes last night.

Anonymous said...

Once we bought juice here on sale (aka it wasn't $7) and it was rancid. We looked at the label and it was 2 years expired!!! And they were selling it! Now I always check the expiration dates and almost every time things are expired - Even on canned items sometimes. I have made complaints to management. The sell by date for meat will be 3 days in advance yet when you get home and open it up, it's rancid too. I think we should start some sort of boycott of Gristedes and see what we can do - start a petition or something to health inspection. Oh and if the icecream is on sale, it's probably b/c it melted and then they refroze it and are selling it at $5 instead of $12. I had pre sliced watermelon once from there and it tasted like vinegar. SICK