Photo by Erica Sherman

More than one year after Pathmark made its last sale from its 3795 Nostrand Avenue location, the building remains vacant, political leadership to bring a new supermarket to the site appears to have dried up, and residents are fuming about the lack of nearby options to shop for their families.

The business closed its doors for good on April 15, 2011, as the parent company, A&P, filed for bankruptcy and closed numerous locations across the nation. More than 100 employees were put out of work by the closing, and it eliminated the only supermarket within walking distance for many nearby residents.

Local elected officials, including Congressman Anthony Weiner, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Carl Kruger and Councilmembers Lew Fidler and Mike Nelson, held a press conference at the site in February 2011 to announce a joint effort to bring another supermarket to the 35,000-square-foot location. Unfortunately, since they made that promise to local residents, many of them have been preoccupied or no longer represent the community.

Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned from office last August following a sex-ting scandal; when Sheepshead Bites asked representatives for Weiner’s replacement, Bob Turner, about the issue, they were unaware of the situation. State Senator Carl Kruger left office last December in the wake of federal bribery charges and is expected to be sentenced this month. Meanwhile, Fidler’s attentions appear to have been swept up in his campaign to succeed Kruger, though his office asserts it regularly seeks updates on the location.

Markowitz, who is term-limited and will depart from the Borough President’s office at the end of 2012, is keeping an eye on the situation, his office told Sheepshead Bites.

“The Borough President feels strongly there should be a grocery store with fresh food options at the former Pathmark location, and our office continues to work with the landlord and community leaders, and has full confidence that Lefrak will find a suitable replacement,” a spokesperson said.

Although Fidler and the beep’s office may be keeping tabs on the situation, even engaging in a letter-writing campaign to supermarket operators throughout the city, it has not yet helped seal a deal on the space.

The property owner, Lefrak, said interest has remained strong despite a year on the market.

“We have definite interest in the space from major supermarkets and are trying to work out a mutually satisfactory situation,” a Lefrak Organization spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites.

Finding out what companies have shown interest, though, has proven to be a challenge for this reporter and the local politicians.

“The Lefrak Organization is hesitant to reveal who they speak with concerning the site,” said an anonymous political source involved in the initiative. The source added that they avoid discussing prospective tenants until an agreement is confirmed.

Part of the problem of bringing a new tenant has been legal. Because it still owned the lease, A&P was first tasked with bringing in a new tenant during the bankruptcy proceedings, which extended throughout last summer. Since then, marketing the site has reverted to the property owners.

A quick turnaround of the property could also be delayed if a new tenant decides to refurbish the store’s interior, which means painstakingly removing the fixtures left behind by Pathmark, or if it opts to transform the entire structure.

Nelson, who is also term-limited in 2013, pointed out that the number of inquiries about a replacement for Pathmark has dwindled in the past 12 months, but at one time he estimated it was about a dozen a week. He added that constituents still ask about it when calling his district office on other matters.

“As a matter of fact,” Nelson said, “a few years ago when Pathmark ended its 24-hour operation on Nostrand Avenue, several constituents specifically called us to complain because it was inconvenient for them”

Nelson said his office has “reached out on our own to big-box supermarkets since Pathmark departed, but, when the economy was in downturn last year, there was no headway in convincing anyone to set up shop at the site.”

Now that the economy appears to be bouncing back, Nelson and his staff “have not given up and regularly pursue potential tenants,” he said.

Meanwhile, local residents are frustrated and impatient by the apparent lack of progress.

“I miss Pathmark,” said one seven-year resident of 2533 Batchelder Street, who asked not to be identified by name. “Now my husband and I get in the car and drive to another supermarket to do our weekly grocery shopping. When Pathmark was there, I’d walk a few blocks and bring a few bags home in my grocery cart.”

“There have been so many stores there since I came to the area in 1967,” said a resident of 3020 Avenue Y. ”I think it was a Penn Fruit, a Hills, Waldbaum’s and then Pathmark. I don’t understand why no one has been able to succeed for more than a few years.”

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  • Arthur Borko

    Can they at least rent it out to some temporary tennants in the meantime? Properly cleaned up that building would make for a fuckton awesome paintball arena.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

       Ruining it for permanent rental?

    • Tinman

      Let’s presume property owner wants a more stable business that the community needs.

    • ShadowLock

       This looks like a perfect place to throw a Party……….. RAVE BABY!

      Invite some DJ’s, decorate the place, hire security to scan ID’s….  Come on!!!

  • anon.

     ”it eliminated the only supermarket within walking distance for many nearby residents.”
    Food Basic isn’t right around the corner, but it is within walking distance.  Not the greatest store, but they do carry a decent selection and well, all the basics.  (im just sayin’).

    • NSF

      Some people don’t go there because you have to remember to bring your own bags. For that matter Key Food on Gerittsen Avenue is only a few more blocks, but some seniors find it out of their walking range when they have to haul more than one bag.

    • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

      Depends very much on where you are. Sure, if you live in on of the buildings on Y just east of Nostrand, Basics ain’t such a big deal. If you live in one of the courts on the other side of the Belt Parkway, getting to Pathmark was already a shlep and it was the closest to them. Trying to go to Waldbaums, Basics or Key Food is one hell of a hike to make if you’re carrying bags.

      • ES

        Living near the Kings Bay field as I do, just about everywhere was a major schlep. Pathmark was, at least, within walking distance with a granny wagon.

      • PayPaul

         There are those who I’ve met who would say “Get a car!”.

      • anon.

        I get what your saying… on the other hand, if you live on the water, well, everything is a bit of a hassle to get to. *To me* it’s just a given that location is everything. 

  • Coachedj

    Now that the economy appears to be bouncing back, Nelson and his staff “have not given up and regularly pursue potential tenants,” he said.
    It’d be neat to see copies of these inquiries.

    • nolastname

      Funny, I received a piece of mail (I use that term loosely) from Nelson today. 

  • Whwsailboat

    LOL… for all those who complain the government should get out of our way, everyone looks first to the government to find a solution to a problem like this. And then we complain that business court politicians for favors! 

    • PayPaul

       It is all about the impact of those favors. Senator “Pothole” D’Amato was known for bringing home the bacon to his constituency. Yet that very mentality also can also invite corrupt practices. He was honest but often it was possible that he delegated sharp practice to others. Questionable individual at times but I thought he was a responsible legislator who served the people. Al might have been able to do something about this.

  • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

    Now this idea might be a little out there, but why not coordinate a community co-op to open a shop-rite franchise in that spot. Wakefern Foods/Shop-rites are privately owned franchises and the company does quite a lot to support their franchisees including helping them acquire loans. Take 1000 residents, each invests $500 into part ownership and we’d have a half million of capital to start it up. Owners would be entitled to a discount and wouldn’t be required to work like other food co-ops.

    • Stan_LS


      we can play that role just as effectively.” – yea, good luck with all that.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      I kinda like this idea.  As long as they don’t try to  boycott Israeli products….

    • 90SBROOKLYN

      Its a great idea,filthy hipsters are doing similar ideas in Williamsburg even going as far as raising live stock.I am sure there would be some law blocking it from happening in such a large business like we want but i love your idea.

  • PayPaul

    Pete Has Left Yet Another Building And Left Us All Bereft Of Bargains.

    Sort of like this one.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paypaul/6378863707/in/set-72157624100191166

    I wish I could have taken the one you took Erica. Was it shot outside or inside? I must add this place to my set on Flickr.
     

  • Barkingspider07

    The only pol who I think actually cared was Weiner.  He never should have retired, what he did was no big deal today.  He did not sexually asault a young person or anyone else.  Other pols have done much worse.  Feidle, Markowitz and Carl the criminal Kruger don’t care about anyone other than themselves.  The Lefrak organization only cares about the almighty buk.  We expect way way way too much from these lazy ass pols, and when they don’t deliver, everyone is disappointed.  Wake up people!  They are nothing but a bunch of lazy, useless human beings who are busy only taking a paycheck for doing nothing.  Get the stars out of your eyes.  There will be nothing at the old Pathmark for a very long time.  THE RENT IS JUST TOO DAMN HIGH!!!!

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      The government shouldn’t even be involved. Why are politicians determining what businesses open where? How did they get this power? I was under the impression that this was USA,  not the Soviet Union, that if a legal business wanted to open, it simply could. Guess we’ve “evolved” beyond that simplicity.

          Without such interference, you probably would have had something in there already. Who wants to do business here with all these guys butting in. It’s not worth the trouble. A business will just go elsewhere where it’s easier.

      • anon.

        I had no idea that any pols were involved in where a business opens or closes…. 
        (need to get out from under my rock).

        • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

          All right, I was going to leave this alone but…

          Government is NOT getting involved in telling a business where to open. Do not confuse politicians with government. There are no laws being made to force supermarkets to look at this location or any of that jazz. Elected officials are not just government agents – in an ideal world, they’re also community leaders who use their stature to better the lives of their constituents.

          Now, I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the pols in this case were leading the community or grandstanding for the community, but regardless, the community wants and needs another supermarket in that area. All the pols are doing is expressing that need to the landlord and trying to help the landlord achieve that goal through letter writing and using their networks. That’s not government getting involved – it’s the basics of how community activism works.Bruce – you confuse me. At times you’re really insightful and thoughtful. At other times, you seem to fall back onto tired old partisan oversimplifications. I’d really love to have a beer with you to try and figure you out.

          • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

            Take more than a beer…. Tne best minds have examined my brain, and I assure you they found nothing.

  • Barkingspider07

    I am one of those people who love food basics.  The prices are amazing, and I don’t mind waiting on lines sometimes.  As far as carrying bags go, I have a “Granny Cart” and I don’t  have to schlep anything.  It is a nice walk from Emmons Avenue on a nice day, but worth it.

    • guest

       The prices have increased since A&P took them over.

      • Tinman

        If you check the weekly Waldbaum’s circular, Food Basics’ everyday prices tend to match what’s on sale at Walbaum’s.

        • E24th-er

          The irony is that all three chains Food Basics, Waldbaum’s and Pathmark are owned by A&P. In 2001, I was on a project working at their Montvale, NJ A&P office. Hated the project and the company back then, also after trying all 3 stores in Sheepsheadbay also hated the stores themselves. Their A&P store in NJ, was much better organized, stocked, staffed and well lit :))
          I prefer Stop & Shop, but do agree that it would be nice to finally bring something into the abandoned building

          • Peppertree5706

            Regulations in NJ are less pervasive than in NYC and there is no city corporate tax in NJ.

    • us citizen

       On  a nice day  sure, but there are still 3 months of winter every year  ( except  this one)

  • NI51965

    Government in NYC is probably the reason why supermarkets don’t want to open in the city. NYC is densely populated and should be a gold mine for a local market.Yet no one wants to open a store,or when they do,they can’t seem to stay in business.Where I live,they can’t open new supermarkets and Walmarts,Costco,and BJs fast enough. And they all are doing business. So what is wrong in the city?

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      What’s wrong in the city. Take a guess. If they don’t fine a business out of here, they sure will tax it out of here, and if that fails, just litigate it out of here.

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  • sb_resident

    i saw demolition of the aisles in the building yesterday as i walked
    by… does anyone know if that means we’re getting a new supermarket or is just the real estate company cleaning up its property?

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