By Carol Tannenhauser
If you’ve ever wondered how long the red neon sign with some letters missing above the Pioneer Supermarket on Columbus Avenue between 74th and 73rd Streets was going to sit up there like that, the answer is: until about 5 p.m. Wednesday, when it was taken down and replaced by a new sign. Tipster David walked by and snapped these pictures.
Don’t worry if you find the new sign less than thrilling. “It’s only temporary,” Daniel, one of the managers of Pioneer, told us on the phone. “The old sign is roughly 45 years old,” he explained. “They’re gonna repair it, and put it back up.”
Just like they did at Dublin House!
Michael took the above picture of the Pioneer sign recently. He “liked how it said ‘pie.'”
Love that old sign, one of the few vestiges of classic NYC signage. And btw, Pioneer is looking better lately inside if you haven’t been recently. Prices, alas …
Fairway is often more expensive for exact same items.
The one consistent weakness of Pioneer is fruits and vegetables.
Fairway’s customer (and imagine average employee) experience is much worse than Pioneer’s.
Bread is good at neither, even the not excellent Morton Williams is better than both for breads.
The two places Fairway really outshines both is bulk grains, nuts, dried berries, and “natural” soaps + dish/laundry detergents. That’s both for selection and pricing.
I have loved that old market since I moved to NYC in September, 73, and sublet on West 74th St. I’m so happy vestiges of the old neighborhood still survive💕
Pioneer didn’t have price scanners until about 7 years ago.
Still looked like it was 1973 in there.
It has changed since, +new fridges and freezers, LED lighting.
Employees, even cashiers, stay for years.
My understanding is that it survives because whoever owns the co-op shares for the space also owns (but does not directly run) the market.
Area resident since ’93.
But they do have weekly specials– Worth checking out:
Awesome! Love that old neon! There are still neon artists out there keeping them alive!
Just the other day I got caught behind some tourists snapping pictures of the sign and I couldn’t even be mad. I’ve loved that sign for years.
When I lived on 76th Pioneer was THE place to go on UWS for cheap but decent beers. But last time I stopped by… not so much. I can’t believe Whole Foods has the best beer prices in neighborhood now.
Andrew Cuomo did away with the sample pricing exemption that allowed for really inexpensive beer.
Agree – so disappointing. Up until a few years ago, the beer selection was still very good. Now they’ve stocked up on all those fruity alcoholic beverages. I hoping it’s just a fad and the beers will make a comeback!
I do like their beer selection and the ability to mix & match your own six packs.
Hate to see neon signs disappear.
Neon and beer, 2009: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingintranslation/3231011686/
Fortunately Pioneer doesn’t have the technology to do this! https://nypost.com/2023/03/16/nycs-fairway-store-using-facial-recognition-to-bust-thieves/
Someone needs to explain how thieves will be arrested when their face appears at the self-checkout. No one at Fairway’s gonna apprehend them, unfortunately.
I think the new red sign is terrific! Easy to see, stands out. Pioneer is not a “fancy” store (so refreshing). It is sometimes pricier than other stores but it is clean and well organized and the managers are unfailing helpful and available and NICE, which matters. A lot. Fairway has become a dump and many of their employees (dare I say most–though not at the registers) couldn’t care less about customers. One elderly lady politely asked of a tall employee where the pepper was and he completely ignored her. I was so upset to witness that treatment I myself went and found the pepper for her after I checked out. And honestly nobody seems to gave good fruit.
Oh, I am happy to learn the old school sign will be back! It’s hard to explain and it sounds so sentimental, but the font and the neon just remind me of my childhood in the neighborhood
We have nothing good to say about the Pioneer. They are charging 7,99!for a carton of half snd half 3.45 at Trader Joe. That’s
price gouging! Want to shop there?
There ought to be a law!
Now all they need to do is power wash the facade (and invest in new doors…) The new owners/managers have really improved the store. Glad it’s still there- an icon in the neighborhood.
I always enjoyed noticing that sign on night walks.