The Whole Foods in Columbus Square on the Upper West Side.
When I lived in Washington, D.C. for a while, a Whole Foods store opened a couple of blocks from my house.
I was so excited given — how to put this diplomatically? — the differences between food shopping in D.C. and New York City, I toured the store twice on its first day.
It turns out that I shouldn’t have been thrilled only about the produce, meat, fish and a variety of other items. What mattered even more was the impact that Whole Foods had on property values in the surrounding area.
In early May, Riverside Park is this side of paradise.
A while back, I quoted Paul Purcell, who is a founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty, as mentioning what he termed an old saw:
You’ve got to like your home, but you’ve got to love your neighborhood.
Smart and obvious, though not to me until then.
The concept came back to me last month when watching a friend of mine, Teri Karush Rogers of BrickUnderground.com, on WNBC-TV, where she was talking about mistakes that buyers make. She confessed that she twice had made one such mistake, and you’ve guessed what it is: She loved two places to which she moved but hated the neighborhoods.
As for me, I’ve lived in seven different Manhattan neighborhoods. In order, they have been Morningside Heights, Washington Heights (in a section that has taken on airs as “Hudson Heights”), close to the East Village (18th and First Avenue), central West Village, Gramercy/Flatiron and now the Upper West Side near the 96th Street express stop on Broadway.
After reading my blog, a man who convincingly identified himself as the victim’s nephew called me with thanks for my post on the hit-and-run accident that claimed his aunt’s life on the Upper West Side yesterday. He said he preferred not have his name published.
It’s easy, especially in Manhattan, to be color-blind and, at the same time, viewed as a racist.
That was the lesson that I had driven home the other day at my local Whole Foods on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. As we all know, the divide between those who shop there and those who work there can be an unbridgeable chasm. So it seemed that day.
In line to pay for my few items, I realized that I had purchased the wrong pie (at half price) and needed to exchange it for another. The cashier at station No. 2, a pleasant tall, lanky black woman wearing eyeglasses, said she’d be happy to wait for me to collect the pie that I really wanted.
I hustled to the bakery section and high-tailed back to the cashiers, unwittingly depositing the pastry at station No. 4, where the black woman manning the cash register (or whatever they call that thing in this computer age) was stocky and covered with tattoos. Continue reading →
The “soft” opening was yesterday, and–dammit!–I didn’t know. So I missed all the free food and jazz. The official opening is tomorrow, a great development (pun intended) for the neighborhood.
When I lived in D.C. and a Whole Foods opened two blocks from my house in Logan Circle, the store was instrumental in tripling home values. (Of course, that was before the bubble deflated.) The new store sure can’t hurt real estate prices in the broad neighborhood.
The new Whole Foods is an exception hereabouts in that it carries wine. In D.C., the selection was appealing and well priced.
Hurry on over, you and other residents of both the Upper West Side and across Central Park on the Upper East Side.