Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Here We Go Again: Another Supermarket Goes Away

In today's Brooklyn Daily Eagle there's a front page story chronicling the demise of yet another local supermarket: "Last Wednesday, many shoppers walked into The Associated market on Tillary Street at the corner of Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn completely unaware that the shop would be closing later this month. Expecting fully stocked aisles, instead they walked in to find shelves half-empty, aisles deserted and hand-written "50% off" signs taped to the walls."

And just like with many of the other closings, this one will disproportionately impact the elderly and the poor: "The only communication to residents from the Concord Village Board of Directors, in fact, was a notice that the store was closing on July 15th with an offer of assistance to the complex’s elderly residents to help them find alternative methods by which they can buy their groceries...Though the cause of the closing may be unclear, the effects are not. One shopper related, “I’m worried about the older residents nearby, where will they go to get their staple foods?”

The epidemic of local market closings is a city small business and public health crisis, one that the mayor and his minions are not responding to with sufficient alacrity. Commissions and task forces are fine, but the city's neighborhoods need real and immediate action. As State Senator Marty Golden told the Eagle when the Key Food closed in Bay Ridge this past May: "“As our community has grown, numerous supermarkets have closed,” Golden noted. “Purchasing of the most basic necessities has become a challenge to many people, including our seniors, who are forced to walk great distances to a supermarket. We need a supermarket in this community.”

And not just in Bay Ridge, of course-Soundview, South Jamaica, Pelham Gardens and East Harlem, just to name a few neighborhoods, are all experiencing supermarket disinvestment. When is the mayor going to act?