Is the Food Emporium Closing?

“I heard from a neighbor that Food Emporium on Greenwich St. will be closing at the end of August due to an insane rent increase (surprise, surprise),” emails L. “I have not had a chance to speak with the manager yet but I thought you might be interested in following up.” I went over there, but I found the staff as uncommunicative as usual; someone I think was a manager said it was news to him, if true.

The closing wouldn’t be a huge surprise, given (a) the near-total devastation of the Independence Plaza North retail strip; (b) how Whole Foods and FreshDirect have decimated the supermarket’s traffic; and (c) owner A&P’s general woes. From the Wall Street Journal yesterday: “A&P filed for chapter 11 on July 19, its second bankruptcy of the decade, with the plans to sell and close some stores quickly and shop the others. The ones that aren’t bought will likely be closed. […] A&P is seeking to auction 120 of its 296 supermarkets and is looking to close another 25.” (A&P’s brands include A&P, Food Basics, The Food Emporium, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum’s.) I put a call into the A&P media reps. [UPDATE: A media rep for A&P said it’s not among the announced store closings, which we already knew.]

We’ll find out soon enough whether the August end date is accurate. In the meantime, if you know anything, I’m at and 917/209-6473 and anonymity is always guaranteed.



  1. They are only closing for a short period of time for a small renovation. They are taking out the cracker & meat depts. to add more cash registers, so they can sit unused and make the store fill more cramped.

  2. They don’t need registers … they need more cashiers / less attitude. Oh please , let this be an opportunity for Trader Joe’s!

  3. I find FE kind of a relief from the danger of the aggressive stroller/lululemon scene at Whole Foods.

  4. I have heard the rumors about the Food Emporium also. It is hard to argue that the Food Emporium is a good store. (That they let their food rot rather than give it away after the power went out after 9/11 still rankles!) But it is convenient.
    Does anyone have any idea what IPN management’s plan is?
    As a long term resident, the gutting of the retail stores is disconcerting to say the least. The Deli was there for some 3 decades. The familiar faces lent a real stability to the neighborhood experience that I, for one, miss a great deal.
    Rumor has it IPN wanted $56,000 a month for the deli. That wasn’t really an offer to renew; it was an invitation to leave.
    I wonder what IPN is planning to do. Peace and Love has been empty for a year. They must have big plans to forgo the revenue from all those stores.
    Some neighbors say there will be a Duane Reade superstore. But no one seems to know,

    • Duane Reade aka Walgreens is becoming a dangerous “megastore” who really offers NO good prices anymore. They have become overgrown and no longer want to please customers – they want to take over huge “real estate” (have you noticed they take over old banks and office space in areas like Wall Street, etc.) and sell the same garbage at 20% over even Bed Bath & Beyond for toiletries or household goods. It’s a joke. I was so happy when Manhattan started to respect that their residents needed REAL supermarkets – not things like a frozen food freezer in CVS or Duane Reade – it took decades to do it – now they are dismantling it. What a CRIME.

  5. I’m surprised — I thought more people would be upset. The place isn’t a treat, to be sure, but I have a decent-size list of stuff I buy there because Whole Foods doesn’t carry it: Hellman’s mayo, Grape-Nuts, Schweppes tonic in tiny bottles, pretty much all paper products and cleaning supplies….

    And when Whole Foods doesn’t have something I need, it was always the second-best option. Yesterday, I went to Whole Foods looking for stone ground corn meal, and the store had “extra coarse” corn meal and corn flour, butt not your basic corn meal. The Food Emporium had it.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. I purchase all of the things on your list and more at FE. Is it a great store? No, but they have many items that I need and/or want and I find it a great convenience. My bet is that it will be missed by many, whether their organic, sustainable, non-hydrogenated selves will admit it or not.
      As for remarks about attitude and disinterest among the staff, who cares? I’m not there to make friends, and I can get a smile and a kind word elsewhere. People reflect back what they are given and I see plenty of rude customers. Rant over.

      • I can’t believe we all go there for Hellman’s & tonic water (I would add Cheeze-It Hot & Spicy to the list)- we must be the reason they are still in business.

        I have issues with FE, high prices being a major one- milk is cheaper at WF, and hormone free- but ultimately competition is a good thing, so when we are down to one real supermarket, I expect prices to rise at WF.

        Would love a Trader Joes, so I don’t have to go uptown for my giant chocolate bars. I always wonder why no one has thought to open a supermarket in northern Tribeca to service the endless apartment buildings being thrown up- I mean constructed- I mean thrown up there.

    • Agreed. The nearest, best alternative is the Fulton Street Market (Key Food). It’s a store in a similar vein with actually better prices on all that basic stuff, and a more polite and proficient staff. But it’s some distance for most people in the neighborhood. I was actually in the store on its opening day (1980? 81?). At the time it was the first established supermarket anywhere around. It was a big, gleaming, bustling deal that offered double coupon days.

    • Where will I get my Eggos?

  6. Seems the rumors of the new rents are largely true.

    My favorite is that closet sized space next to the 40 Harrison Entrance that’s asking almost 13k per month for 500 Square Feet. It’s not very difficult to understand why these places haven’t found new tennants.

  7. It’s a horrible place. I would rather pay more than deal with the attitude and the general disinterest in any level of customer service.

  8. True, Food Emporium leaves a lot to be desired. But if you need Windex, Bounty, Oreos, or Frosted Flakes–you can’t get that at Whole Foods. Personally, I prefer my cleaning products to have chemicals, I like my cereal to have lots of sugar, andI’m not embarrassed to admit it! And while the majority of the cashiers are painfully bored, I’ve always found the bakery staff and the delivery guys (especially George, who has been there forever) to be extremely helpful and courteous. I’d be sorry to see them go as it leaves us with no options now that Fairways is a little more than a pipedream.

    • George delivered today and I asked him but he says they don’t know yet. Judging by the shelves though, they are not restocking. I too continue to go to Food Emporium for certain staples but have found myself ordering from Peapod more and more for my regular groceries. Peapod is Stop & Shop and has the same prices as the suburban stores.

      • Amazon fresh is a really great service and has more delivery options than Fresh Direct. Great prices too!

      • Going to give them a try as I have been increasing frustrated that Fresh Direct has eliminated certain name-brand products for their own generics.

  9. Hey, if all the storefronts go vacant at once, the neighborhood will lose all magnetism for shoppers, & commercial landlords will be forced to leave, having gambled and lost. And then tenants can go back to naming rents. (see: NYC 1970-1988)

    • I was just having this conversation this week. How does it benefit the landlord to have an empty storefront? It only invites more homeless and vandalism, and then why would a business want to move in?

      • Whether correct or not, the landlord’s strategy is to avoid locking in low rents in a rising market. This is predicated on the fact that leases are generally 5-10 years. If rents are $500/SF today and you project $750/SF rents next year, the landlord is better off waiting to sign a $750 lease and forgoing $500 in rent for one year, vs prematurely locking in a 10 year deal at $500.

        They also have the ability to reposition the entire streetfront now that it is largely vacant, to appeal to more upscale (higher paying) tenants.

        • That is the first explanation I’ve heard that makes sense.
          Sadly it doesn’t bode well for the quality of life.

          • Um, the quality of life started going south about 15 years ago. All the stuff that made the Washington Market district a joy began going away. Riverrun was fun; Tribeca Grill is just Hollywood. Go down the list: Fun went away and what’s left is just glitter. Lots of old residents applauded it; now they can move out. The city government will applaud and your electeds will rejoice. REBNY will say “good riddance” — even the first wave of post-9/11 types no longer fit the profile of “desirables”.

      • This is the best explanation of the shuttered storefront epidemic in lower Manhattan – Tim Wu is a terrific mind and a lot of questions I had similar to yours (and a lot of other people) are answered here:

        • I did not know The House of Cards and Curiosities had closed. What a pity. It was a special place. The entire store was curated. And I don’t mean “curated,” with a dress here, a napkin there, a sofa here, a lamp there. I mean brilliantly curated and affordable, eccentric, unique and enjoyable.

  10. Good riddance from a 25+ year customer

  11. Charango’s right. That’s the strategy. But that strategy is also a gamble, at least for the neighborhood, which may lose control of the re-positioning of the whole streetfront. Landlords working together, too, is another gamble. And so enough vacant storefronts at once, or enough cop-out nail salons and fast food joints, and foot traffic drops overall, and not even those chains that can afford the higher leases will bother to name-brand their chain here.

    • This makes little sense. There’s not much appealing about these spaces with their low ceiling heights, ugly recessed fronts, and a lifeless windswept plaza in front crossed by garage access ramps.

  12. The people who work there have a bad attitude because they are paid peanuts and work long hours.

    • Right. And being friendly to them generally returns a friendly response from them. These are real people who work long hours for a miserable billionaire boss at low pay.

  13. Is the Duane Reade on Greenwich doomed as well?

  14. I’m coming out swinging for Food Emporium, because it’s the one opportunity to live a middle class life left in Tribeca (for those few of us left here who moved here middle-class and managed to hang on 20 years later as middle-class). Sure there are better supermarkets, many of them, but they didn’t come down here so this is what we’ve got vs. tony, tony tony.

    I manage to be friendly with the clerks, who are working minimum wage jobs and many of whom are putting themselves through school with this job – for them, middle-class is an aspiration, and I respect them for that.

    I actually lay awake last night, before I even heard this news, thinking about a map of all the places my family has loved and heavily patronized in Tribeca that have closed over the past 20 years. All because of the upscaling of rents that’s come from landlords’ desire to cash in for more profit. Their right, I suppose, but our loss.

    Could we start a Wall of Loss – Tribeca Citizen would be a place to house it? In no particular order, a short partial list, very personal to my family, to get us started: Commodities, Socrates, Thai House, Yaffa’s, Bazzini’s, Bell Bates, Kitchenette…

    • Riverrun, Ruby’s Books, How’s Bayou, The Harrison, Tribeca Deli, Tribeca Pizza, Cheese of All Nations, The Pushcart, Washington Market (the real one), the West Side Highway, United Fruit Piers, Hoboken and Jersey City Ferries….How far back should we go??

      • More places we’ve lost…

        Tenbrooks, Barnabas Rex, The Breadshop Cafe, Ralph’s Discount, Good Enough to Eat. I’m sure others will come to mind.

  15. Crossing Greenwich to Food Emporium last night I heard, then saw, a cashier calling to a couple who were crossing in the other direction. They had forgotten one of their purchase bags. After the handoff, I fist-bumped the cashier as we headed into the store. The service I got from the deli guy and another cashier was superfine as well. A smile can go a long way. Empathy too. (See Judy’s comment, above.)

    Fresh Direct’s business model has been built on idling trucks that hog curb space and pay nothing for the privilege. Its fabulously subsidized ($100M in our tax dollars) expansion into the South Bronx is bitterly opposed by a diverse coalition of community groups, for a dozen good reasons. We can add to that list the decreasing viability of neighborhood supermarkets.

  16. I’m with Judy, and Tina, and the others who feel this loss. Profoundly, I have to say, I’ve been depressed since I first read this post yesterday. In addition to the Tide and the Windex (and Cheerios, come on, my kids wouldn’t eat a pseudo-Cheerio if you paid them money, there’s a reason Cheerios are Cheerios!), I want to chime in (or rant in) that it’s just super convenient. I admit I don’t really cook, I get that re: Whole Foods. But I’m a really busy person, my time and energy are precious, and frankly grocery shopping is a chore. Isn’t it? I may be an outlier still feeling that way… But that means the fact that FE is small: primo. I walk in, I know where my staples are, I can be a master of efficiency cause there are no shiny objects that slow people down in the aisles, I’m out in 20 minutes or less with a full cart (could be cause it’s less crowded for a reason, but hey, my gain!). George or someone else absolutely lovely — they all are — arrives at my door by rule within an hour but usually within 15 or 20 minutes, sometimes follows me home. And I don’t have large paper bags to fold and find a place for or boxes to break down if I ordered, just those delightfully crappy plastic bags that practically fall off the food — and y’know, it sounds so silly, but breaking down all those bags and boxes is work, it is, it means shopping doesn’t end when you put your food away, you’re never done! I think they changed it, but when Whole Foods kicked off they had a 4 hour delivery window. Who is home for 4 hours at a stretch, or knows they will be, or wants to be, and I’ve already spent an hour strolling Whole Foods! And with Fresh Direct (they’ve also shortened their window, but still) or the others (except Max Delivery, but the delivery itself is pricy), I have to decide when I’m gonna be home the day before. My life just doesn’t work that way, and I don’t want it to, waiting for groceries, thinking about them in advance… lordie. I’m just not good at that. Yeah, a little surly, who cares, it’s groceries, and not if you smile at them. I’m done in less than an hour, I don’t have to think about it for a week, and everything I buy from there is FINE. They’re groceries, day-to-day stuff. I love Trader Joe’s, much more than Whole Foods actually, but as a primary grocer? I dunno about getting my toilet paper from them either, I mean, I guess they have that. And wherever TJ’s arrives, it’s instantly a mob scene. And like Whole Foods, as soon as you walk in you’re entering a corporate culture almost cult-like in its specificity. Sometimes you just wanna go to the grocery store, y’know?

    • I totally agree! Found this really comforting to read. I’ve been depressed. I don’t even live there (my child goes to school, but I’m in Chelsea) yet I had really depended on it for quick snacks after school and sometimes grocery shopping after I dropped my son off. It felt cozy and relaxing. It made shopping, like you say, feel totally manageable and okay, not like a huge hurdle in the day.

  17. I recall when FE was the “only game in town” and I have always been troubled by their high prices on many staple items.

    When you consider that IP has historically dominated the neighborhood and that the store continues to attract a mostly middle and lower middle class customer, many of whom are on fixed incomes, they just don’t have a viable business strategy. The only items I buy there are their sales items.

    The place I really miss is Tribeca Deli.

  18. Whole Foods is a HOLE in the city – it is full of HUGE PRICES – people with a feeling of ENTITLEMENT – and NOTHING SPECIAL when it comes to selection or items for people with a budget. I used to feel FE was overpriced until I started to check out prices at WF and good lord, GRISTEDE’S! 20% HIGHER than FE! To all of you who are rich, congratulations. To the rest of us,we can no longer afford to buy groceries in NYC – including SHOPPING IN PERSON – the rest of you get it delivered to your front door and unloaded by your “housekeepers” ……..URP!

  19. They won’t let me add the reply to “DM” here again -but I think it is worthy of reading if they let it post – so please read there. It basically says that we waited for decades for there to be supermarkets in all parts of the city so we wouldn’t be subjected to drug stores to provide our groceries. I live in a “residential neighborhood” — why do I need to buy my food from a delivery service or the local “convenience” store? Keep our supermarkets SAFE!!!

  20. i go there virtually every day… so sad but inevitable.

  21. this morning I was in there and overheard a couple of the employees discussing their unemployment benefit situation… so I think this IS happening. And in other Tribeca news..noticed the hottie homeless guy is back in front of the Santander Bank.

  22. In reading through all the comments, it makes me really sad. These are people who are losing their livelihood. Some of which I am sure have families who count on them bringing home a paycheck. What the heck is happening in New York and this neighborhood. It used to be the best neighborhood in the city, full of decent people and families, everything has changed. The vibe is gone, everything is so commercial and lacks the character and original vibe that once existed. I for one am done with it all. I wish there were something we could do to help keep the FE open but like everything else that is going on around here, don’t know. I am going to miss some of the people who work there, especially those who have been there a long time. So sad, so very sad.

  23. what origianlly started Tribeca ( no one wanted to live there at the time). Indepence Plaza North, Food Emporium and PS 234. this is how the neighborhood started. Diverse Middle Income people who fought to build this area from nothing. Yes I am upset about the Food Emporium closing. The people who work there will lose their jobs. People who live in the area are stuck with the expensive Whole Foods. Not everyone is rich. But slowly all the stores on Greenwich are vacant. All the people who move in and out like a hotel because the rents are $5,000+ leave. Our neighborhood is losing its character. Where are the seniors going to shop? Yes, there are Seniors who live in IPN. Once the Food Emporium closes we better hope a new grocery store opens. At night without the store the block will be dead and dark and with this new mayor the crime is up. All the originals that started this area are gone. I think its terrible.

  24. Sounds like Tribeca is returning to its gritty, desolate, ratty and dicey beginnings. Now, all of those “pioneers” can shut the cluck up about what it was like back in the day. REJOICE, those days are returning! Praise the Pope, it’s an early-Christmas miracle!!

  25. for the rude remarks above pack your bags and move out!!

  26. I feel really sad seeing Food Emporium closing up. It was great having it there and I agree with the above posts that they had things WF doesn’t carry and it was a calm, peaceful shopping experience. There is something SO different about WF – the panic and pushiness. I find it just awful that all those people are out of work and the whole friendly delivery scene in the morning – it will all be gone. Really depressing.