A growing group of Lincoln Square residents is attempting to coax a new supermarket company to lease the space on 68th street and Broadway that once housed Food Emporium. They say the supermarket’s closure has left a void in the neighborhood, and hurt elderly and disabled residents who now have to travel farther to get food.

According to the advocacy group, called CARTS (Community Alliance to Restore The Supermarket), there has been a supermarket on that corner for almost 50 years. The effort was launched by the 68th Street Block Association, and the organizers want to get 10,000 signatures on a petition. They’ll be meeting on Thursday night (Jan. 9) at 6:30 p.m. at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue at 30 West 68th street to plan.

Although a group of local residents has little power to demand that a landlord rent to a particular tenant, they can at least demonstrate that there’s demand for a new supermarket. The group is also getting politicians involved, although political pressure didn’t seem to work when Food City closed on 94th street last year.

Food Emporium closed in May 2013 after its parent company tried and failed to sell off the brand (nonetheless there’s still a Food Emporium on 89th and Broadway). The supermarket received mixed reviews — it was clean and generally well-stocked, but many items were expensive.

There are other markets relatively nearby — Trader Joe’s is on Broadway between 71st and 72nd and Gourmet Garage is on 66th street just West of Broadway. But CARTS members say those markets aren’t as centrally located, don’t offer enough variety, or don’t have long enough hours.

A rumor spread when Food Emporium closed that the space would be leased by Walgreens but that hasn’t happened. The broker for the space is Winick.

Here’s what the petition says:

“We, the residents, and other affected individuals, within the Lincoln Center/Upper West Side area, support CARTS in its effort to restore a supermarket operation to the vacant retail space on the northeast corner of West 68th Street and Broadway that was until recently occupied by the Food Emporium.

There had been a supermarket on that corner for nearly 50 years serving not only the residents between W 59th and W 79th Street, but the thousands of people who daily pass through the neighborhood. The closing of the Food Emporium has left this area without a neighborhood full-service supermarket which would offer a broad selection of products, long hours, central location and same day guaranteed delivery.

As supporters of CARTS, we seek to demonstrate the substantial patronage that would exist for a new supermarket operation at this site and seek to have only a supermarket/grocery store occupy this entire vacant retail space.”

There’s info on how to sign it here. Their Facebook page is here.

Here’s a photo of Food Emporium just before it closed, looking like a ghost town.

Photo via CARTS.

FOOD, NEWS | 57 comments | permalink
    1. Helen says:

      We totally support this cause. We need a grocery store to open in the Food Emporium space. You can count on our signatures.

    2. denton says:

      Going to sign now…

    3. Ezra Mehlman says:


    4. Sean says:

      Lincoln Square residents were the mainstay of Fairway. Has this changed?

    5. Harriet says:

      Since I live one block from Fairway, I don’t need another supermarket. But, much as I think another supermarket would be “nice,” I seriously doubt that a supermarket can make a profit there. The drug stores sell all the non-perishables. Fairway, West Side Market, Trader Joe’s and the Korean markets sell all the perishables. Those who have cars buy all their paper goods and big stuff at Costco. What is left for a supermarket to sell? I personally think a Cheesecake Factory could make a profit there, with Lincoln Center so close, and 8 movie theaters nearby. I know that The Cheesecake Factory has sworn, years ago, that they would never enter the Manhattan market, but here’s the place. Besides, for those of you who don’t know the menu, you get food for 2 for the price of food for 1, so it’s actually a bargain restaurant. Great huge salads. That’s my 2 cents for this cold day.

      • Noreaster says:

        That’s seriously the best idea you can think of? A Cheesecake Factory?

        • moi says:

          We really need more cake shops on the UWS.. That and pizza joints. Lots of fat people will be thrilled!

          • Harriet says:

            If you are calling The Cheesecake Factory a “cake shop” then you are not familiar with it. I go to one several times a year, I order a huge salad, take half of it home for the next day’s meal. Honest! I’ve been eating there for 15 years, and I think I’ve only had a piece of cheesecake once.

    6. Question says:

      This is absurd. Anyone who cannot walk the 3 blocks to the other 2 markets listed in the article (including the elderly and disabled) can order Fresh Direct! They will lieterally bring the food right into your kitchen!
      Seriously, these people need a better hobby. And, once you have the 10k signatures on this petition, who are you planning to give it to?

      • Jeannette says:

        Fresh direct has minimum order requirements plus delivery fees. That puts it out of the range of some people (elderly and disabled).

        In real life, people also need things, if only a few things, faster than booking a delivery.

        You have a callous attitude about what it takes for some people to get to a store and shop with a limited income or physical challenges.

        A supermarket with reasonable prices (which few in the city have) would be welcome at this location. Trader Joe’s has long lines all the time and is a place that while it has many great things, is not a one-stop only shop for most households.

        Also, physically maneuvering in Trader Joe’s and Fairway is next to impossible for some people who are frail, have issues walking or use motorized chairs, etc. And not everyone has someone else to help shop for them.

        • Adam says:

          If living in the city is cost prohibitive, then move out of the city. I would love to live on 80th and Central Park West, but I can’t afford an apartment on 80th and Central Park West, so I don’t live there. There is no entitlement to living in the City, if you can’t afford it, move out.

          • Vincent says:

            I agree with the previous poster. Putting cost aside, if the City does not have the ammenities you require, in a location and a means convenient to you, then move to somewhere that does. This is typical New Yorker thinking, we think that the world should cater to us. Well it doesn’t, so you either adapt to where you are, or, you go somewhere else. The City isn’t going to, nor should it, jump when you say jump.

          • C. Marie says:

            Ummm… No! Moving out is not the answer. There are a number of peoplle who live in the neighborhood who have been here for decades. Telling them to move out is ridiculous! I for one would love a supermarket. Not a specialty shop but an honest to goodness reliable supermarket. Remember those?! Everything is Trader Joes brand in Trader Joe’s, not that it’s a bad thing but maybe someone wants another brand. Fairway and Gourmet Garage are specialty shops period! With Faurway way too crowded. Fresh Direct as someone else posted can be costly and not immediate.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            “if you can’t afford it, move out…”. it’s hsard to know where to start with critiquing this. all the senior citizens on fixed incomes should “move out”?

            I always wonder where people like Adam are coming from.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              this seems to me to be the essence of gentrification. New, richer people move in, and immediate demand that the people who have been in the neighborhood, who are less wealthy, leave.

              there is no care for the fabric of the community, or, for that matter, for any humanistic sense of community at all. it is all a financial transaction.

              my building is changing from artists, musicians, actors, a comedian or two (even a working clown) — the old rent stabilized tenants — to bankers and Wall Street people (the condo owners). Oh, and a lot of absentee owners who rent to fairly transient young people at exorbitant rates.

              for me, at least, an awful lot is being lost. but i am at a loss to explain it to those who don’t “get it” right away.

            • Adam says:

              We don’t “demand” that anyone leave the neighborhood. But if the neighborhood no longer suits you, then you shouldn’t stay there. Suggesting that the neighborhood change because people who have lived there a long time are changing is selfish. What about the new people coming in? Upper west siders don’t like to hear this, but things change. Communities change, neighborhood change, stores change, etc. You can’t have everything you want all the time every time. If things are moving in a direction you don’t like, then you either deal with it, or, move. There is no entitlement to consistency. I am one of those folks who moved in and thing of my apartment as a current place to live and an investment, nothing else. I enjoy the community and what it has to offer, and as soon as I no longer do, or, grow out of the space, i’ll leave. That’s the generation i’m in, and there are a lot of us coming to the upper west side. There is 1) nothing wrong with that; and 2) nothing anyone can do about it. If established residents don’t like it, they can 1) deal with it; or 2) leave.

          • Cartographer says:

            80th and Central Park West is on the grounds of the Museum of Natural History…

          • C. Marie says:

            And OF COURSE there’s NOTHING wrong with Change. I love change! But there are some things that need to be in place. One reason we have Landmark Preservation. It should also be the case for certain retail. Period!

            • C. Marie says:

              …And believe me, I’ve seen a lot of change since moving to the Upper West Side in 1969 when I was a young kid.

            • webot says:

              Ummm you want to landmark a retail store?

              How would you go about doing that?

              It is a BUSINESS, you cannot will them to staying in business.

              You can landmark an interior space, yes. See Sephora Store on Fifth – formerly Scribbners booksellers.

              Liberals please try and think logically when you say stuff!
              Try and live in the real world. Thanks

            • C. Marie says:

              @webot! OMG! No! Not literally a landmark a retail store for god’s sake! I’m saying to keep certain retail stores in place like landmarked building are. For the preservation of the neighborhood as being diverse in ethnic and economic backgrounds and not a city with homogenized neighborhoods!

            • C. Marie says:

              @webot. Who says anything about being a liberal?! Which I’m not. Are you an ultra conservative fundalmental extremist? I certainly think before I speak. I just don’t think you want to listen to reason. Which most conservative extremists don’t.
              They have an agenda just to be hateful. Now how does that sound?… I’d say it sounds just as bad as you. Stereotyping! ALL I’m saying is that we need a supermarket. You don’t have to bring liberalism or any other “ism” into it.

      • moi says:

        Exactly! Who indeed. Local politicians have no interest in getting involved… and even if they do they’re totally ineffective!

    7. Adam says:

      First of all, who are they going to give the petition to? This seems like an epic waste of time though as we all know many upperwestsiders have nothing to do all day but sit around and complain because nobody works. Putting that aside, there is a fairway, a whole foods, and a trader joe’s nearby, and if that’s not enough use fresh direct. If none of those satisfy the petitioners, which it sounds like they won’t by virtue of the fact that they are likely never satisifed, move out. Go complain in the suburbs.

      • C. Marie says:

        Uhhh…. you should move back to the suburbs. Many of us have been here for decades. and as I said in another post-We need a supermarket. Not a specialty shop but an honest to goodness reliable supermarket. Remember those?! Everything is Trader Joes brand in Trader Joe’s, not that it’s a bad thing but maybe someone wants another brand. Fairway and Gourmet Garage are specialty shops period! With Faurway way too crowded. Fresh Direct as someone else posted can be costly and not immediate.

        • Gayton Gomez says:

          Fairway is not a specialty shop. Have you ever shopped there? It’s a crowded pain in the butt, but there’s nothing they don’t have, and generally at better prices than at Food Emporium and Gristede.

          • C. Marie says:

            Of course I’ve shopped there. I’ve lived in the neighborhood off and on for 40+ yrs. It is not a supermarket though, is what I’m saying. Besides, it’s more of a speciality shop than your average supermarket. Yes the layout of Fairway is absurd. We need a supermarket period!

        • Harriet says:

          If you think Fairway is crowded, you probably don’t belong in a City. Yes, it’s crowded at 6PM on a weekday night, but so is everything else. When I worked full-time, I shopped about 9 in the evening. Now that I mostly work from home I shop about 10AM. Both times the place is almost empty.

          • C. Marie says:

            That’s besides the point Harriet! Of course there’s going to be crowds in the city. Precisely why we need a supermarket that one can manuever around better and the old Food Emporium has such a space.

    8. rich says:

      I would really like to see a hybrid bank/cellphone/ drug store open there, just to watch all of the heads explode on the UWS.
      Seriously, whoever owns the property is entitled to put in whatever tenant they like. But then again this is the People’s Republic of the Upper West Side, Comrades.
      Folks shouldn’t worry though, after a few years with Bill D as mayor, there will be plenty of open stores for your “low cost supermarket”.

    9. Sean McGuire says:

      By “Lincoln Square residents, do you mean the neighborhood or the apartment complex? If it is the apartment complex, those residents can well afford home delivery. Interesting statistic for the neighborhood: it is believed to be 40% female and 40% over fifty. Perhaps the space should be a giant spa with drinks.

    10. webot says:

      There will be readers who will be shocked (shocked!) that not everyone shares there curmudgeonly view of the UWS and that it should be frozen in amber circa 1979.

      There was a time when supermarkets where viewed as the devil, destroying the local butcher, baker, dairy, and candle stick maker. Now you want a petition ( send it to Leticia or Gail) to demand a supermarket. BTW, doesn’t Gail’s new law outlaw a big store here (to keep our Duane Reade and banks) or it it grandfathered?

      The one thing not needed is more government intervention by the likes of our new administration. And for all your landlord haters, go on Acris and see the taxes they pay to the city – numbers that have doubled and tripled this decade.

      • C.H. says:

        Thsi has nothing to do with being stuck in the 1970’s, 80’s or any other decade. This has to do with something that all neighborhoods should have. You look on Long Island… they have King Cullen right next to a Costco and other mega stores. Same with upstate NY. And other areas and neighborhoods around the country.

      • moi says:

        So where have all those alledged taxes gone? The City’s so crowded these days. Awful. Dirty subways and streets. People who have dogs that dump gallons of urine on the sidewalks every day should pay large fees so that the sidewalks can get washed down. Garbage and bins like I’ve never seen in my life in any country.

    11. jessie says:

      Agree with this cause, but asking people to do a petition this way isnt really the best way. They should think about using like the PS 199 group did. Much more efficient/effective way to operate.

    12. Tom says:

      Buffalo Wild Wings would be nice.
      Or a bowling alley.

      • webot says:

        Tom ! Harriet! you mentioned evil chain stores!!

        destroyers of our urban fabric.

        btw, I love cheesecake factory too. No to Buffalo Wild wings.


      Would love to see an Aldi supermarket thete its affordable and has a variety. Id like to see Key Food back on the UWS.

      • webot says:

        actually, Aldi would be awesome.

        great call.

        send the petition to them ! 🙂

        fyi, german ownership, same as Trader Joes.

    14. Sean says:

      I have a question. Who is the “typical” Upper Westsider of today? What does he/she want?

    15. Violet says:

      I wish Trader Joes would give up their space and move to the empty Food Emporium space. I love Trader Joes, but the layout is horrible. I know parents with strollers or disabled people would go to Food Emporium just because it had a great layout and was easy to navigate.

    16. J-Cats says:

      You should petition John Catsimitides. After all, he owns the largest supermarket chain in the city. First, as UWSers, you’d have to apologize for overwhelmingly not voting for him and rather voting in that hypocrite Marxist DeBlasio.

      • ELJ says:

        Have you been into the Gristedes on 96th St. or the one on Columbus? The stores are dirty and their prices for many things are outrageous.

    17. Mary says:

      The closings of food markets creates additional hardships for the elderly and the middle class workers in this city. Having reasonably priced, clean supermarkets should not be a luxury. Not everyone makes a Wall Street income…

      • Sher says:

        It would be great if Wegman’s, the upstate supermarket chain, opened their first NYC store in that location. Best supermarket ever.

    18. DeAnna Rieber says:

      Hi, thank you for bringing light to this issue but your article does not touch on the “union” issue, which I think many UWsiders should be aware of. It is a “union” space and the contract lasts another 2 years. The challenge is that a “union” shop is more expensive and the lease holder does not want to pay that. It is a dilemma that is not new to the UWS. Lease holders bought the space from the building and now feel they have to have a certain (outrageous) monthly rent to justify what they paid. I want to know that if I support this, that in the same breath I am not undermining the union. It is p

    19. Sean says:

      Another thing: Trader Joe’s is 4 blocks north from West 68th St. It has an elevator. The “elderly” don’t shop there because they don’t see the national brands that they are familiar with. It is a generational thing. Everybody in Trader Joe’s is “young”. But thank god you don’t see the nannies with the strollers the size of an SUV transporting triplets. Best thing for this new UWS would be a version of Eataly. The tourists who flock to the Lincoln Center area would love it. After all, the bankers have the concierges to do their shopping, don’t they?

    20. Natalie Helms says:

      We need a supermarket in the Food emporiam space

    21. Lucien Desar says:

      What there should be is a Food Co-Op in that location.

    22. sarah says:

      Great idea Lucien! What are the chances?

    23. C. Marie says:

      @ Adam. Well, good for your generation! But there are A LOT of older people in this community who CAN’T just move out as you say. They are on a fixed income. The neighborhood should accommodate a wide variety of income levels not just the bankers, lawyers, and such. I don’t know how old you are but the younger generation feel like they have a certain entitlement and selfishness that is unwarrented. Maybe it’s my generations fault for coddling our kids. This is the result and pretty sad indeed.

      • Adam says:

        C. Marie, that doesn’t make sense that because they are on a fixed income they can’t leave. New York has some of the highest cost of living in the world. Everything is more expensive here, from rent, to food, to utilities. I find it hard to believe that someone on a fixed income can’t leave a city that has the highest cost of living for a suburb or other state all together that has a lower one. Your argument is counter intuitive. Without question, a fixed income would go a lot further outside of New York.

        • C. Marie says:

          Yes, of course I know that but why should they leave an area they’ve known for decades. And probably are paying a lot less for their apt. because of them being here for such a long time. besides as I said in a previous post. The community should cater to all income levels not only the ones that have the highest income level. I know the middle class is being pushed out but is that right? NO!

        • webot says:

          so true Adam.

          Of course they can move, they just do not want to because the neighborhood is nice and desirable. Despite their kvetching!
          I just got back from warm Palm Beach County, florida, and believe me it is the land of relocated New Yorkers, many on fixed incomes (often with new york taxpayer funded pension funds). Often they came from declining outer boro neighborhoods and wanted an escape.
          UWSers today are making the choice to stay, which is fine. Just stop complaining so much !! 🙂

    24. Sean says:

      What about Dean and DeLuca?

    25. C. Marie says:

      I would love to get in a room with all of you and see who I’m communicating with. That would be something! 🙂

    26. Sean McGuire says:

      How about an Eydie Gorme Garage?