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New Yorkers Flock to a Supermarket

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 27, 2019 18:45

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New Yorkers may have the latest and greatest in cultural events and entertainment opportunities, but sometimes they just go gaga over grocery shopping. Witness the massive crowds at the newly opened Wegmans in northern Brooklyn.

Our car was stuck in a line of traffic, inching forward slowly. I spied a pedestrian and called out to her, "Is it worth the hype?"

She said "Yes!" with a gleeful grin.

New Yorkers can be jaded. We have our pick of choice events: big-name concerts, unusual pop-up shops, parades, museum exhibitions, sports, you name it. But what had the biggest buzz on Sunday, October 27?

The opening of a huge Wegmans supermarket in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, along Flushing Avenue.

I knew that there were other things to do in the city this day, including kiddy Halloween events. But nothing seems to have received as much hype and coverage today as this store debut.

The day began on a sour note, with heavy rain pouring all morning, and drizzle for a while in the afternoon. Would this deter shoppers? Nope.

My husband, younger daughter and I started out by eating lunch in a Prospect Heights Indian restaurant, and then we drove over to a large arts supply store (Blick) near Pratt Institute. Then we debated going over to the Wegmans bash. It was an easy drive, but we did have this draggy wait of about 15 minutes to get into the huge parking lot.

A police officer asked us to head into a row and I quickly found a parking spot. Then we joined the crowds entering and exiting the Wegmans. I'd noticed that people came by foot, by car, by bus, and I guess some took trains to nearby stations.

Inside it was definitely a bigger supermarket space than any other I'd seen in NYC before. In addition to aisles upon aisles of groceries, there was a bakery, a pizza bar, various other food stations as if it was a mall food court, and more. 

My daughter was overwhelmed by the throngs (the day before she'd dealt with throngs of high school students at the Javits Center, for National Portfolio Day for arts students) so we told her we'd just get drinks at the coffee-tea bar. Then we left after snapping a series of photographs.

I was impressed by the size of the facility, and by the fact that so many different types of people were here: young and old, families with young kids as well as hipster-types, people of various ethnicities, races and religious affiliations. Workers sported shirts of a few different colors, all with the Wegmans logo. The place was well stocked and people were energetic.

But should this be such a high profile event, such a lightning rod for attention? Next week is the annual Marathon, and that is a beloved draw. Later this week is Halloween and there will be parades, such as the legendary Greenwich Village Parade, and that's an event. NYC has seen large-scale marches and art exhibitions and sports championships and so much more.

Are we silly for getting worked up about the opening of a gigantic supermarket? 

Food for thought, folks.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 27, 2019 18:45

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