Two Bridges Responds to Closure of Cherry Street Pathmark
In the late 70s and early 80s, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council & Settlement Housing Fund negotiated to bring an affordable, full-service supermarket to our neighborhood, resulting in the construction of the 24-hour Pathmark Supermarket, which served our community for almost 30 years (1983 to 2012).
Though Pathmark closes its doors permanently on Friday, December 21, 2012, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council remains committed to protecting and enhancing access to fresh and affordable food for individuals and families in our area. Our ultimate goal is to enhance access to fresh & affordable food while strengthening the local economy of the Two Bridges neighborhood. As part of these efforts, a Grocery Guide for the Two Bridges neighborhood will be published in Spring 2013.
The imminent closure of the Pathmark Supermarket comes in the middle of the holiday season, when food plays a central role in family gatherings and celebrations. But affordable access to fresh food is a year-round concern, especially in the ethnically & economically diverse communities of the Two Bridges area on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in Manhattan with one of the highest rates of reliance on food subsidy benefits.
Earlier this Fall, following a public rally hosted by Two Bridges Neighborhood Council with participation from local elected officials and partner organizations, Two Bridges took immediate steps to launch the Two Bridges Community Food Assessment, as a means of developing both interim & long-term strategies to deal with the perceived “food gap” left by the closure of the Pathmark.
We are able to report that the first phase of our comprehensive assessment is already complete. Through the distribution of a multilingual survey (available in English, Spanish & Chinese), we have gathered essential data from over 300 residents to help us better understand the grocery-related needs of individuals and families. We thank our community partners who helped get our resident survey out into the community, especially GOLES, volunteers & the many residents who participated.
With guidance from Urbane Development, LLC, one of the nation’s leading experts on inner-city food access, we are currently well into the second phase of data collection: executing a detailed survey of local business owners to aid in our understanding of the neighborhood’s existing food network and local food economy, including bodegas, small-scale groceries, fruit and vegetable stands and pharmacies.
Together, the survey data and additional research will be compiled to create a Grocery Guide to the neighborhood. The guide will serve as a roadmap and index of affordability, to allow residents to locate the goods & services they require. The guide will be published in three languages (English, Spanish, and Chinese) in the Spring of 2013.
In tandem with these efforts, Two Bridges maintains regular communications with the executive officers of A&P, Pathmark’s parent company, to encourage the store to maintain a connection with our neighborhood, and to exercise their right to return to their former site once a new building is developed. Two Bridges will meet with Pathmark executives in early January to discuss strategies for keeping Pathmark engaged in our community.
For more information about Two Bridges and our Community Food Assessment:
For Inquiries, Please Contact:
Kerri Culhane, Associate Director
Two Bridges Neighborhood Council
275 Cherry Street
New York, New York 10002
Victor J. Papa's Statement on the Closing of Pathmark 10/10/2012
We’re standing here, united, all of us, together, along with our working families, with our seniors, all of us as a community stunned that we will very soon be deprived of a very basic need in our neighborhood…affordable food and medicine which this Pathmark Supermarket has provided to this community for nearly three decades.
Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, with Settlement Housing Fund, was the original sponsor of this supermarket during the development of the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Site in the 1970s, in an era that seemed much more sensitive to the needs of a low-income community.
That period is over and we have seemingly become a city in which low-income and working class families and elders are not a priority in the incessant “development” of NYC city neighborhoods, but rather an afterthought.
While Pathmark has reserved the right to return to the future development, there is no guarantee that this will happen at all, nor that its replacement will be a supermarket considered affordable by local residents. In any case, in the unspecified number of years before the new development is completed, the neighborhood is left without an essential resource on which is has come to rely for the past three decades.
Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is committed to this community, and committed to protecting and enhancing access to fresh and affordable food in the Two Bridges neighborhood. We have engaged the services of one of the nation’s leading food-systems consultants, Mr. James Johnson-Piett of Urbane Development, to develop real short and long-term solutions that will make our neighborhood, its food system and its economy, more resilient.
We are working with community residents, community CBOs, businesses, and elected officials to find alternative measures to provide affordable food to our families.
We are heartened by the support we are receiving from our elected officials, you Speaker Silver with your staff closely consulting with our staff, you Senator Squadron for your insight and encouragement, you Council Member Chin for all that you will give to alleviate this crisis, you Mr. Borough President Stringer for the assurances given that your staff will be available to this community, and you Congresswoman Velazquez, we never need your assurance for support, we know it’s always there. Julie Menin, you too, extending as you do today, your concern from Lower Manhattan to the Lower East Side.
Finally, we are encouraged by the unity of our CBOs in addressing this crisis. We shall rely on your advice for strategy and ideas. We appreciate what you are already doing, you NYCHA tenant associations, always addressing quality of life concerns, you organizations like CAAAV, with hardly time and resources to address 11 Allen Street, you now come here to address this issue…You GOLES, enmeshed as you are in a multiplicity of community justice issues, lend your support to address this problem as well.
Thank you all. You will be hearing from Two Bridges very soon as we now undertake the task before us. Expect to hear from us a lot. Expect that very soon we will sponsor a public meeting to invite the developer and other parties that we will need to rely on to alleviate the hardships caused by the closing of this supermarket and pharmacy.
Carol Lamberg of Settlement Housing Fund's Statement on the Closing of Pathmark 10/10/12
Settlement Housing Fund is a 43-year old nonprofit housing organization that has worked with Two Bridges Neighborhood Council since 1971 to develop and sustain over 1,300 affordable apartments in the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area. Together we co-own Two Bridges Tower, which houses nearly 200 families, and a small row of adjacent stores.
In the late 1970s, recognizing the lack of shopping in the neighborhood, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and a group of community leaders – under the leadership of the late Goldie Chu – sought to identify a clean supermarket offering fresh, affordable food. After looking all over NYC and the surrounding area, they found Pathmark. We all worked together – testifying at numerous public hearings, and urging authorities to designate this portion of the Urban Renewal Area as a supermarket – and the City Planning Commission and other agencies approved it. The City provided the land at a reasonable cost, and Pathmark promised to hire neighborhood residents both during construction and permanently.
When Pathmark opened in 1983, it kept its promises. It offered fresh produce at a reasonable cost, hired neighborhood residents and offered a variety of foods that reflected the tastes of this very diverse neighborhood. It was profitable, attracting customers from all over the city, and its presence and activity helped keep the area safe.
Two Bridges is a mixed-income community including low- and moderate-income families who cannot afford high priced food. Nonetheless, the Lower East Side has now become trendy and developers see an opportunity to make a lot more money. Pathmark sold its lease, and there are plans underway to redevelop the site. But we do not want to see Pathmark leave. This neighborhood needs an affordable supermarket. We urge the developers to work with Pathmark to the keep the store open, at least until construction of a new building begins, and to build a neighborhood-sensitive supermarket as part of any new development. We hope the developers will respect the needs of this diverse community by keeping a decent supermarket affordable to everyone.
Press Release Issued 10/04/12: Pathmark Closure Sparks Community Discussion About The Future Of Affordable Food In The Two Bridges Neighborhood
In the late 70s and early 80s, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund led the fight to bring a full-service supermarket to our neighborhood, resulting in the construction of a Pathmark Supermarket on lot 8 of the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area. The 24-hour Pathmark Supermarket & Pharmacy have served our community for almost 30 years (1983 to 2012).
On September 28, 2012, Pathmark announced its intention to close in late December 2012, having sold its lease to a developer that will redevelop the site. The size and nature of this new development has yet to be disclosed. While we understand that Pathmark has reserved the right of first refusal to operate a supermarket in the new development once it is completed in the next two to five years, in the interim our neighborhood will be left with fewer affordable food options, with no guarantee that an affordable market will relocate in the new building. The loss of affordable fresh food options in this largely low-income neighborhood is a crisis demanding an immediate response.
“We are committed to working with our elected officials, the Pathmark Corporation, and the new developer in resolving this dire situation for the benefit of the Two Bridges families and seniors.” says Victor Papa, President/Director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Inc.
WHO: Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, elected officials, community leaders and residents of the Two Bridges Neighborhood
WHAT: To express the neighborhood’s concern about the loss of this important resource to elected officials, policy makers, the Pathmark Corporation and the developer; and to develop an interim solution until a permanent affordable supermarket and pharmacy is re-established in this location
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 11:00AM
WHERE: 227 Cherry St. (In front of the vacant lot)
WHY: Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is committed to protecting and enhancing access to fresh and affordable food in the Two Bridges Neighborhood.
Press Release Issued 9/28/12: Two Bridges Responds to Closure of Cherry Street Pathmark
The news of the impending closure of the Pathmark store later this year brings to mind how, years ago, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Inc. advocated for and made possible the Pathmark supermarket as the first full service supermarket in this community. Even when recalling that some residents were originally not supportive of it, having now experienced the major benefits of its presence for nearly 30 years, its imminent loss to the Two Bridges’ community is unthinkable.
The Pathmark supermarket located at 227 Cherry Street currently serves the essential needs of every strata of our diverse Lower East Side community, especially seniors and low income families. Furthermore, the possible loss of the Pathmark pharmacy is particularly disconcerting, considering it serves hundreds of families in this area. In essence, the loss of both the Pathmark supermarket and pharmacy is the loss of a very essential social service.
In upcoming weeks, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Inc. intends to solicit the assistance of our local elected officials, community leaders, and residents to work towards extending the Pathmark’s services for as long as possible, until continuity of services can be guaranteed by a future on-site full service supermarket that aims to serve the diverse communities and needs of this area.
A supermarket in our community is essential to thousands of residents who have very few other options for fresh food and other essentials.
For more information on the history between Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and the Pathmark supermarket and pharmacy, please see:
Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area 1972-1997