Today’s New York Times report, “Reasons for Crossing Delancey” touched on the future of the former Pathmark site along South Street. Gary Barnett’s Extell Development bought the large parcel last year and is planning a huge residential tower, apparently with a ground floor supermarket. The article noted that, “The Two Bridges (Neighborhood Council) owns a lot adjacent to the Pathmark site, where (Two Bridges President Victor) Papa said he would like to build 75 more units of subsidized housing.”
It’s not news that Two Bridges, which along with Settlement Housing Fund built seven affordable housing complexes along the East River, has plans for the site mentioned by the Times. The parcel, known as 235-247 Cherry St., formerly housed the Pathmark pharmacy. But given all of the development activity in the area, we thought it worthwhile to revisit the status of this site.
The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council recently received a grant from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to create a rain garden at a residential building it co-owns at 82 Rutgers Slip. The people who run the non-profit organization believe it’s a sound strategy to deal with flooding and storm water issues during future “weather events” such as Hurricane Sandy. But the proposal is proving controversial among some of the people who live in the complex, located next door to the shuttered Pathmark store on South Street.
The garden, depicted in the rendering you see above, would replace a private playground which sits at the corner of South Street and Rutgers Slip. The play equipment typically gets very hot in the summer months because the area is exposed to direct sunlight. Kids have been burned and poked by sharp metal pieces that jut out from the play surfaces.
As most everyone knows by now, the Cherry Street Pathmark store closed in the waning days of 2012, leaving thousands of residents without a full-service grocery store. Yesterday the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council sent out an email blast updating its efforts to fill the fresh-food gap on the Lower East Side.
On Monday, Two Bridges and its consultant, Urbane Development LLC, met with Sam Martin, the head of Pathmark parent company A&P. The meeting took place at the company’s headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey. According to the email, the A&P team made it clear “they are sensitive to the void the departure of the Cherry Street Pathmark leaves in the Lower East Side/Two Bridges community, both from a food access and community facility perspective.”
As we have been reporting, the Cherry Street Pathmark store is on its last legs. Although it’s scheduled to close by the end of next month to make way for a big luxury residential project, the shelves are already pretty bare and the grocery is not being restocked. Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, which played a major role in luring Pathmark to the Lower East Side years ago, is beginning to come up with a long-range plan to full a big gap in the neighborhood’s fresh food supply. They have hired a consultant, James Johnson-Plett of Urbane Development, to help facilitate the planning process. He’s overseeing a community survey to get a sense of shopping patterns, income levels and overall needs when it comes to retail food establishments. That survey is available online here. It takes about 5-7 minutes to fill out.
Here’s an update on the situation at the Cherry Street Pathmark store, which is scheduled to close in less than five weeks. When we stopped by yesterday, workers said they still believe the last day in business for the supermarket will be December 22nd (a date that is reflected on a hand-written countdown poster in the front window). But anyone who’s tried shopping there recently knows operations are already being dialed down. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, most of the refrigerators remain bare, although a few frozen turkeys were available. There are signs up everywhere advertising deep discounts and warning, ‘all sales are final.” It’s pretty clear the store is not being restocked.
The Pathmark Pharmacy at 227 Cherry Street is shuttering at the end of today, in spite of previous indications that it would remain open until the end of the month. Several weeks ago it was announced that the pharmacy and adjacent grocery store would be closing to make way for a large-scale residential development project.
Yesterday, the shelves were pretty bare, as workers prepared to consolidate merchandise in the grocery store building, which itself is scheduled to close at the end of December. The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council owns the pharmacy building. Cherry Street LLC, which owns the grocery store site and held the lease for the pharmacy building, reportedly transferred both leases to a third party, believed to be luxury New York City developer Extell Development.
As we have been reporting, the Pathmark grocery store at 227 Cherry Street is closing at the end of the year to make way for a large-scale residential development project. The company also announced plans to shut down its pharmacy, located in a separate building on Cherry Street. But today we have confirmed rumors swirling for the past month that the pharmacy will close its doors this month, two months before the grocery ends its 30-year commitment to the Lower East Side.
Unlike the grocery store site, the pharmacy building is owned by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, the sponsor of several affordable housing developments along the East River waterfront. The organization was informed by Pathmark this week that “financial considerations” have prompted the financially troubled chain to end operations October 27. Customers are being told by store mangement that the closure will happen even sooner, next Thursday. Two Bridges President Victor Papa tells us conversations with Pathmark are continuing to see if there’s any way to extend the pharmacy’s services beyond this month.
We have a few more details this morning concerning the closing of the Pathmark store at 227 Cherry Street. Last week, Pathmark told us that the Lower East Side location would shut down at end of the year because the company was “relinquishing (its long-term) lease to accommodate a large scale residential development and improvement project.”
Thia week, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is planning a rally on Cheery Street to “express the neighborhood’s concern about the loss of this important resource to elected officials, policy makers, the Pathmark Corporation and the developer; and to develop an interim solution until a permanent affordable supermarket and pharmacy is re-established in this location.”
The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is hosting a workshop tomorrow for property owners interested in accessing generous tax credits available for historic preservation. The organization helped lead a successful effort to get Chinatown and Little Italy listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now they’ve invited a “site restoration” expert from the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to offer building owners advice on taking advantage of state and federal tax credits that can subsidize up to 40% of qualified projects. The workshop takes place tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 62 Mott Street. Anyone who owns a building in any historic district is welcome to attend. More info about the tax credit programs is available here.
Just in time for the busy holiday tourist season, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, the Little Italy Merchants Association and the Chinatown Partnership LDC celebrated the kickoff of the Chinatown & Little Italy Historic District’s “way-finding” campaign this morning.
“Every person who visits New York should come join us for lunch and enjoy the day exploring our cultural treasures, lively shops and great restaurants,” said Councilmember Margaret Chin, who went up in a cherry-picker bucket. ”I am honored to join this collaboration by installing the inaugural banner, one of many that go hand-in-hand with the map and celebrate the best that Chinatown & Little Italy have to offer.”
We’ve just received word that a proposal to designate the Bowery as a historic district, which preservationists see as an important tool for guiding future development, has been approved at the state level.
The New York State Review Board, meeting in Buffalo today, approved a joint application from the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors to include the Bowery in the State Register of Historic Places, the first step in advancing the nomination to the National Register, reports Kerri Culhane, one of the organizers of the proposal.
On Saturday, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council will sponsor its third annual Marco Polo Festival celebrating the cultures of Chinatown and Little Italy. Organizers say: “The Marco Polo Festival, held annually since 2009, symbolically celebrates this special district by invoking the story of the Silk Road, where the ancient markets of Europe and Asia met, marking a new beginning of world commerce and cultural exchange.”
The event includes a procession that begins at 62 Mott St. at 11 a.m., ending on Hester Street between Mott and Mulberry streets. Performances from noon to 4 p.m. include: the New York Chinese Opera Society, Alfio, Dmitri Minucci and The Freemason Lion Dancers.
An update on the fight to save 35 Cooper Square, the 1827 row house threatened with demolition. Community groups and local elected officials finally got a sit-down meeting yesterday with Arun Bhatia, the building’s owner. While reporters were not allowed to participate, several attendees have shared their impressions of the one-hour session with DNA Info, EV Grieve and the EV Local.
The bottom line: Bhatia listened to the pleas from preservationists but did not disclose his plans for the building and gave no indication whether any of the arguments swayed him one way or the other.
Earlier this week, members of the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) met to discuss proposed changes in the community organization’s governing structure. While these deliberations drag on, the CWG’s comprehensive blueprint for the neighborhood remains in limbo.
When the full board meets next week, however, they’ll try to move forward with some of the less controversial aspects of their proposal, including “action plans” for education, immigrant services and parks. Members will also hear a revised plan from the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council addressing zoning and preservation (a subject that has caused great dissention on the CWG).