On the Positive Side…Three Top Store Openings of the Past Decade

Christine Elbert contacted us to point out that our post on the three saddest closings of the past decade had been kind of…a bummer. So she put together her three favorite openings to try to bring some sunshine to the festivities. Check them out below, and add yours in the comments.


Trader Joe’s brings out the crowds. Photo by Helen Miller.

By Christine Elbert

1. Wild Bird Fund (2012) For awareness raising, teaching us to value every life including the ubiquitous pigeon, and making us proud. Personally, I get a kick out of hearing roosters in the days/weeks after an NYPD cock fight bust. It’s as close to farm living as you can get in Manhattan.

2. Stoopher and Boots (2010) Our daughter practically grew up there along with the flourishing of Stephanie (owner) and Scout (her dog and store mascot). It’s such a home-away-from-home that she even had her birthday party there one year! This more-than-boutique became a safe space for toddlers to tweens to dream, create, and explore one’s inner entrepreneur or fashionista.

3. Traders Joe’s (2010 at 72nd & Broadway and 2018 at 93rd and Columbus) Yes it’s a chain. But a chain where one regularly willingly queues on the sidewalk to enter. For food, not iphones! The “uptown” outlet brought welcome relief to the crowd crush. Somehow, the TJ staff is actually nice and friendly, unlike many other grocery stores. And the reasonable prices and recipie inspirations make a welcome dent in our take-out budget.

Honorable mention:
Plant Shed at 87th and Columbus (2017) It’s a beautiful combination of plants and cafe, styled to make you feel right at home, if you ever imagined your home to be boho, in Palm Springs, and/or decorated by Gwyneth Paltrow.

COLUMNS, OPEN/CLOSED | 31 comments | permalink
    1. Mark Moore says:

      Good call on Wild Bird Fund. What the heck is Stoopher and Boots?

    2. Leon says:

      Totally agree with Trader Joe’s.

      Marinara pizza – very good pizza, and offsets the departure of the pizza place up the block (Caesar’s?)

      Han Dynasty (or as we lovingly call it, Handy Nasty) – a step up from your average Chinese restaurant with some more interesting menu items

      The new location of Levain that diverts some of the traffic from the other location.

      Chipotle – admit it, you know you like it.

      • Sherman says:

        I agree with you re Han Dynasty. It’s my favorite Chinese restaurant in the city (Xi’an is second).

        The food at HD is awesome, it’s reasonably priced and service is always friendly.

        Every time I go there it’s packed.

        This just shows that when a business is run properly it will do well and they won’t have any failings to blame on “greedy landlords”.

    3. Carlos says:

      The Cornell doctors office at 84 and Broadway. For those of us who use doctors at Cornell, this saves a schlep to the east side.

      • Christine E says:

        I agree, Carlos. That facility has many specialty doctors and does excellent radiology (MRIs and sonograms).

    4. JC says:

      Stephanie at Stoopher and Boots is a mother/sister/friend to all children of the UWS. (and even UES) She is the epitome of a ‘Mom and Pop’ shop that has flourished and even expanded in the last couple of years. Great store on the UWS. And Scout is so sweet!!!

    5. robert says:

      The sad things about the planer shed is they opened this location is that they are selling their location on 96, just east of Bway which has been there for decades. Watch site as they will buy it and the air rights over the church to build

      • Kenneth says:

        If true it explains why the building exterior is severely deteriorated with a sidewalk shed in place for years and no repairs.

    6. Noodle Freak says:

      The Pho Shop for me. Madly in love with the great, fresh Vietnamese street food menu – but doesn’t taste like any street food around here. It’s usually packed there every night with lines of people waiting for tables.

    7. Christine E says:

      I’m not sure if a re-opening qualifies for the list — if yes, I would like to add the AMC movie theater at 84th and Broadway. When the theater reopened in 2013 with huge reclining seats, it was the talk of the town. They really raised the bar for movie-going.

      BTW a little tip: If you go before noon on any day, it is $10 off. And if you join AMC’s Stubs program and go on a Tuesday any time of day, tickets are only $6. AMC Stubs membership has various levels, starting at free. Just be sure to book in advance (reserve on line), since many shows sell out.

    8. So honored to be part of this list! What a wonderful community to be embraced by.

    9. Uwsider says:

      Hex and Co. A sign that the right retail format can work and grow communities for kids and adults. Kudos to them.

    10. Samantha says:

      What about Tex? Stoopher and Boots’s newest addition.
      We love Stoopher!

    11. Michael says:

      +1 to Han Dynasty…Excellent addition went tonight actually

    12. Tempy says:

      Here are some gems above 96th at that opened in the last 10 years:

      – Xi’an Famous Foods – needs no introduction

      – The Tang – fancy Asian fusion

      – Mokja – Korean fried chicken

      – Nobody Told Me – speakeasy vibe w/some of the best cocktails in the hood

    13. Tempy says:

      And some other mentions below 96:

      – Made in NY Pizza – have had all the lauded slices in UWS and this is still our favorite

      – Playa Betty’s – annoying when busy but consistently good food/drinks/vibe for the price. I’ll fight you on this

      – Van Leeuwen ice cream – vegan options

      – Manhattan Cricket Club – when you can get in the cocktails and vibe make it worth it

      – Empire Hotel rooftop remodel – random I know but they classed up the joint with the sit down bar and outside area

      Watch out for:

      – Tiki Chick – looks a bit small inside but hopefully the vibe is good and the drinks aren’t overly sugary like other tiki bars in the city

    14. Caroline H says:

      MOTORINO! Amazing pizza and side dishes. It’s a great addition to Columbus.

    15. Via Ventana says:

      Trader Joe’s is most definitely not a good thing. They opened on the UWS only after the neighborhood became significantly more affluent (and significantly less diverse economically and racially). As opposed to Fairway which, while it was still family-owned, stuck it out here. Is it corny to think of it as “Traitor Joe’s?”

      • "Scuse ME! says:

        Re: your “significantly less diverse economically and racially)”

        Just ONE of the wonderful things about TJ’s is that its shoppers are a microcosm of Manhattan: young/old, male/female, all skin tones, etc.

        AND: to belie the stereotypical image of “Rude NYers”, everyone IS polite and tolerant of one another.

    16. Doug Garr says:

      The 94th St. TJs is much easier to navigate and has shorter lines than the 72nd St. one. I barely shop at Fairway any more — not the store it used to be. They must be their help terribly — often rude and uncaring. And they put specials up and forget to enter them in their pay system, so I’m constantly checking the receipts. I hope they disappear.

      • EricaC says:

        I can understand your not wanting to shop there anymore, but why do you wish they disappear and deprive those who like it (not to mention those whose jobs depend on it)? Is it not enough to just not go there?

    17. Marcia says:

      Yes to 93rd st Trader Joes- one floor, lively wonderful staff, fastest checkouts ever making long lines disappear in a few minutes…

    18. Thomas Fedorek says:

      Saiguette (2012 at 106th & Columbus). A tiny family-run joint with terrific banh mi and pho at popular prices.

    19. Lejabe says:

      If you live near TJ you would be as unhappy as my neighbors and I am. It has brought crowds, dirt, pretend homeless kids hanging out and moldy fruit. We don’t want it here and hope it will give space up to Morton Williams or any REAL supermarket. Plastic bags and trash now line 72nd st. This part of a once good peaceful upscale neighborhood began its decline with TJ followed by Bloomingdales outlet,more nail salons, and homeless encampments on every corner. Shoplifters are constant, muggings rampant, and it’s just continuing on down that road to the BAD old days when no one wanted to live here. We go up to Zabars where it’s cleaner, safer, quieter, and more liveable. Have a nice day.

    20. Cozmo says:

      DEFINITELY try Morton Williams. (yeah, can be a schlep from the 80’s up but worth it!) I’ve lived on the UWS for 30 years and it’s seriously the best supermarket to come around these parts. Clean, large aisles filled with everyday items, gourmet items, hard to find items. Their prepared food counters are outstanding!

    21. George CPW says:

      What is the VIP Entrance to Trader Joe’s that is shown in the picture?

    22. RB says:

      Trader Joe’s, Bloomingdales Outlet, and nail saloons are the demise of the ‘upscale’ UWS? What are you REALLY trying to protect? It’s great there are options here for people that aren’t ‘old money’, trust fund kids, or investment bankers. Some people need options even in this neighborhood that aren’t for the rich and well established.

    23. Lory says:

      I see that Tasti d’lite on Amsterdam and 85th is cleared out, gone, no sign on the door…what happened?