Our Town: Fairway Coming to the Upper East Side
By Laura Shin
October 8, 2010
Upper East Side elected officials joined with the owner of Fairway Market Oct. 6, to break ground on the grocer’s new East 86th Street location.
“It’s great for our health. It’s great for the economy. And it’s great for our neighborhood,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney. The new Fairway will create 300 to 400 new jobs, she said.
The store, expected to open in spring of 2011, will be located at 240 E. 86th St., between Second and Third avenues. It will be the supermarket’s third location in Manhattan and its eighth location in total. Its flagship store is located at West 74th Street and Broadway.
“If Fairway wasn’t here, this would be another empty storefront affected by Second Avenue subway construction,” said Assembly Member Micah Kellner.
Fairway is an all-union store, Kellner said.
“These are going to be good-paying jobs that come with healthcare benefits and people are going to want to take these jobs,” he said.
The supermarket will occupy 45,000 square feet of vacant space where Barnes and Noble and Circuit City used to be.
“I’ve been looking for a space on the East Side for years,” said Howie Glickberg, CEO and third generation owner of Fairway. “I had not been able to find the right space and the right rent. All of a sudden, all the stars aligned at once when we found this space here.”
There will be two floors of shopping, said Dan Glickberg, vice president of Fairway. The main floor will house the produce section, along with the cheese and deli departments. The rest of the departments will be on the lower level.
Glickberg said that the new store will also feature a takeout café with sandwiches, bagels and coffee for people who work in the neighborhood.
Michele Birnbaum, a vice president for the 86th Street Association, said the association welcomes Fairway but has concerns.
“Their presence on the street is unsightly,” Birnbaum said.
Shopping carts, merchandise and trucks often clutter the sidewalk at Fairway’s other locations, she said.
“They claim they won’t obstruct the way,” Birnbaum said. “We have our doubts.”
Another association concern is parking, which is an issue in the area because of Second Avenue subway construction. The association is worried that Fairway’s extended loading hours will further limit parking and hurt other businesses in the area, Birnbaum said.
Council Member Jessica Lappin said the community board raised parking issues.
“But all in all people were excited and supportive,” Lappin said. “We had to get through a few things here and there, but people wanted to see a gourmet food store in the neighborhood.”
Local residents said they are excited they no longer have to commute for Fairway’s products and services.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Kathy Wouk, who lives on East 87th Street and Second Avenue. “I like the diversity of products and I think their prices are reasonable.” Wouk said she usually walks across the park to get to the West Side location.