By Scott Etkin
On Thursday, Morton Williams, a family-owned chain of gourmet supermarkets, signed a lease for the entire west block of Broadway between 68th and 69th Streets – in the Dorchester Towers apartment building – across the street from where Food Emporium used to be.
The supermarket is expected to open in summer 2023, Morton Williams co-owner Avi Kaner wrote to WSR. “The fit and finish will be similar to our stores at 60th and West End Avenue and 87th and Madison Avenue,” he said. “[The market will feature] a vast array of prepared foods, fresh produce, and organic, gourmet meat and seafood, specialty foods, national and private labels across every category.
“The neighborhood has long sought a supermarket after their loss of the 68th Street Food Emporium,” said Kaner. “We plan to build and operate the most beautiful, well-stocked and interesting supermarket on the Upper West Side.”
Food Emporium occupied the large corner space at 2008 West 68th Street. It closed in 2013 and was replaced by a Lowe’s home improvement store, which lasted until 2018. That space remains empty.
About half the storefronts of the Dorchester Towers are empty. A tipster who heard the supermarket announced at the Dorchester Towers’ annual condo board meeting told us, “Existing tenants, including Innovation Luggage, will be forced to vacate so demolition and construction can begin after the architectural design approvals are met.”
Variazioni, the Italian clothing store, has posted a “closing” sign. Optyx, the eyewear store, has already moved to 2384 Broadway at 87th Street. The two other open businesses on the block are Team 7, a German kitchen furniture store, and ClearMD, a Covid testing center.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Council Member (formerly Manhattan Borough President) Gale Brewer both have voiced the need for a supermarket to fill the vacancy, due to increased development in the area.
“I have been working with members of the community to encourage a grocery store to open up in this area,” wrote Assemblymember Rosenthal in a statement to WSR. “Hundreds of West Siders signed a petition I created and circulated in 2019 to demonstrate the enormous demand and help attract a new grocer to our neighborhood. It seems like years of advocacy and community organizing will finally pay off.”
(Thanks to Iris for the tip.)
Looking forward to this addition to the neighborhood.
Also, Varizioni has had “Closing” sign for years on most of their location which are on every other block. Can’t say I appreciate this unethical business practice.
Yes, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Variazioni that’s open! They’re all closing, all the time, and it’s absolutley unethical.
I love their stuff!
Will this new supermarket have to abide by the same non-price inflating tactics that the one that replaced Western Beef had to agree to before being allowed to open? I hope this new one doesn’t have carte blanche to gouge UWS residents…. I’m curious which ones Linda Rosenthal decides can and can’t price items at market prices.
Have you ever shopped in a Morton Williams?
There’s one on 9th/Columbus at 59th if you need to do so?
Some of the pricing is good, some isn’t.
Generally, it is cheaper than Brooklyn Fare.
I think MW is generally pricey than Brooklyn Fare.
I miss Western Beef. It was a good place to buy staples.
I’m even more disappointed now than I was when BF replaced WB.
I don’t, but there are items Morton Williams over prices.
It has much better pricing for that UWS staple (De Secco) than Fairway or Pioneer. But try to buy a basic 4.25 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate bar and Fairway and Pioneer are much better.
However I eat far more pasta in dollars and pounds than chocolate.
In expensive red meat (beef only for this point) is also better at MW than at Fairway.
Last time I looked America is a capitalist society. Businesses are free to charge what they want. If they are too expensive, no one will shop there and they will go out of business.
The government is welcome to offer food stamps and other programs to help people afford groceries, but it should not be in the business of telling businesses what to charge.
I am a Democrat (moderate) who believes in supporting those less fortunate but also was an economics major.
Thank you Leon, as usual we agree….my comment was to point out how absurd (and unfair) arbitrary government price controls is. Like Reagan said “im from the government, and im here to help” are the most terrifying words you can hear.
Reagan’s quote does sum up, in a phrase, the Republican disdain of government, a stark contrast to the previous Rooseveltian philosophy of trying to help the people of the United States and the world during the darkest time of the 20th Century.
Roosevelt’s tireless efforts did so much to spur our nation forward to beat the worst depression of that century and win the world war and also was key to erecting a rules-based international order that kept the world at relative peace for 70 years and put the prevailing colonialist political structure into a death spiral.
That mean-spirited Reagan quote, (along with other derogatory terms, such as”welfare queens”, that did so much to divide our nation socially, as his economic policies did to divide us financially, ie “the wealth gap”) was also a slap in the face to all public servants.
On the other hand, it’ll be great to have another supermarket on the UWS.
Thank you, WSR, for fixing Like and Reply buttons!
I want to hear I’m from the government and I want to help. Everyone reading this collecting Medicare, Social Security, subsidized daycare, rent stabilization, home healthcare aides who are subsidized, is invited to bow out. Members of my union (PSC-CUNY) not willing to pay dues thanks to a Supreme Court ruling are more than happy to collect tax-payer funded raises and improved benefits. Only the US a among advanced economies actually quarrels over government assistance for those in need. Shameful.
If Reagan is the hero, those who agree with him should pay full freight on the subway and have houses underwater during the next huge storm. We should all dig out without terrifying government help.
Politicians’ promises aside, supermarkets can charge whatever they want as long as it doesn’t violate specific price gouging or fixing laws. At the beginning of the pandemic, stores were fined for charging above a set amount for hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. But $10 for a large jar of Hellmans mayo? That’s allowed.
68th and Broadway is an expensive area and Morton William’s isn’t Aldi. Expect prices that the market will allow.
There’s been a Morton Williams on 61st and West End Ave for over a year. .. A picture of it in the story above?! The food is ok but the prices are off the map! Flies are always trapped in the area where they sell the croissants ! Prices are ofter not hugely accurate based of costs for the same items sold in other stores. It’s all a bit of a mess! Floweres are almost never priced? It’s am amator crowd of people working there.. perhaps because it’s a nightmare for anyone to have to get to work there with a huge walk up the hill to get to a subway; three massive avenues in strong winds from the Hudson in the winter to navigate! Needs some improvement..!
I’m delighted Morton Williams is moving in. It’s a great supermarket and this strip of the UWS needs another choice besides TJs and WF.
However, this was a business decision made by Morton Williams management. I highly doubt they paid much attention to or cared much about Linda Rosenthal’s petition. Rosenthal should not be taking credit for this store opening and she should not be trying to score cheap political points for a business decision she had nothing to do with.
Your photo caption indicates the location of the existing store to be 68th & West End. It is actually 60th & West End.
Thank you, fixed.
Linda Rosenthal’s “community organizing” is what made this happen? What a joke LOL! Morton Williams made this decision based on economics, not “community organizing.” Rosenthal is the most anti-business legislator in the NY State Assembly. Her bills have killed as many jobs as AOC has. Having said that – this is great news for all of us who live nearby. Cheers to the free market!
If Linda Rosenthal wants to help she will do something about crime. Allow the police to enforce the law and have those who are found guilty face real consequences for their behavior rather than walk away with a slap on the wrist and no fear of additional punishment for recidivism. That is within her jurisdiction but it might anger her woke benefactors.
I would not want to be opening a business in this neighborhood with the amount of crime going on right now – see the other WSR article about the Rite Aid suffering from shoplifting.
Good luck to Morton Williams!
Hopefully they will build one further north.
The likely demise of Fairway, Cannot imagine all three surviving and Fairway is not the same since it changed ownership
Great news. Make sure to include bake goods from Shlomey of Brooklyn
It would be great to get another supermarket in the 80’s as we also lost a Food Emporium as well as a Gristede’s.
As a resident of the Dorchester Towers who will be living above this, I look forward to:
– early morning delivery trucks
– pest infestations
– trash piling up
– music playing during store hours
– crowds at all hours
– loiterers hanging around
Farewell to a quiet, clean block. What was the Dorchester thinking?
I’m certain you won’t be complaining about the income that will keep your common charges lower- that’s what the Dorchester was thinking.
And shopping in a supermarket in your building. How cool is that?
The Dorchester still has rent stabilized apartments and the Condo board would love nothing more than for them to move out.
As a former resident of the Dorchester, I have a few friends still there who are paying didley squat for apartments they have been in for decades.
Congratulations to Morton Williams! We look forward to your opening. I will continue to advocate for ending the Commercial Rent Tax, especially for supermarkets like Morton Williams.
Ask your landlord or coop or condo board.
It may be “interesting and well stocked” but it ain’t Trader Joe’s!
This will be a very welcome addition since Fairway has crashed and burned since it changed ownership. There is room for both stores but unless Fairway gets their s%*t together, the addition of Morton Williams will likely be the nail in Fairway’s coffin. Fairway is a prime example of what NOT to do with a supermarket!