New York City is a study in contradictions. People can adopt a veneer of sophistication that allows them to studiously ignore a celebrity eating dinner at the next table, but bring the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to a halt as everyone slows down to watch someone changing a tire. Not too many places have a parade, albeit a very small parade, to celebrate the announcement that a grocery store will be opening sometime next year. Even if that store is a Trader Joe's. But in Brooklyn we have a Borough President, Marty Markowitz, who will celebrate everything. Bless his soul, he is Brooklyn's biggest cheerleader and almost everyone loves him.
Things kicked off with a small gathering at the door to Marty's office not far from where I live.
Marty In The Middle
A small steel drum band added to the festivities.
The Band Gathers
After a couple words to the admittedly meager crowd, the procession headed toward the site of the new Trader Joe's.
The destination was a lovely bank building that will soon house the new grocery store. The bank is moving kitty corner to new facilities so Trader Joe's will have a landmarked building as their new home.
The New Home of Trader Joe's
I felt a bit sorry for this gentleman who was probably watching the end of his business at this location marching down upon him.
I have the vague feeling that Trader Joe's will not be as lenient as the bank has been in allowing a fruit vendor outside their doors.
Inside there were more speeches by Marty, various Trader Joe's executives, and a few local politicians.
Personally, I think a Trader Joe's will be a welcome addition. We have a lot of specialty stores in the neighborhood, especially of the Middle Eastern and Hispanic variety as well as a couple of excellent butcher shops and a very good fish monger. I doubt if Trader Joe's will steal much of their business, but the people who come to Trader Joe's may very well decide to stop in these other stores to see what they have to offer.
One lady, who was in the bank on business, felt otherwise and started to loudly complain about how the smaller stores would be put out of business. She was gently, but firmly, escorted out of the bank.
The liquor stores won't have to worry though. Although Trader Joe's is famous for selling low priced but decent wines, New York law does not allow the sale of wine in anything other than a liquor store. The Trader Joe's in Manhattan does have a liquor store, but it is in a separate building not quite next door to the grocery store. I have been told by my source in the liquor industry that New York law would make it impossible for Trader Joe's to open a second liquor store anywhere in the city so I don't think that alternative will be available here in Brooklyn.
Saturday I plan on attending a bigger celebration for Bastille Day.
I originally forgot to mention that the Bastille Day celebration I will be attending is the one on Smith Street, just north of Atlantic Avenue, here in beautiful Brooklyn. Any subway that will take you to Borough Hall, Court Street, or Atlantic Avenue will get you there. Even the mysterious G train will get you close.