By GARY FONVILLE
Forgotten NY correspondent
If you have lived in NYC for a long time, you may have witnessed the disappearance of many of your favorite supermarket chains. Chains that come to my mind were once ubiquitous in NYC. The list includes Grand Union, Waldbaums, Daitch Shopwell, Safeway, A&P and Pathmark.
Almost every neighborhood in the city had one. Since A&P was a national chain, they even had two in my hometown of New Bern, NC.
But what I most remember was the strong aroma coffee beans being ground in the store’s coffee grinder that was almost always up front near the cashiers.
A&P may be gone, but there are many traces left around the city. Most of its former locations never stopped being supermarkets, they just took down the A&P sign down and put up the new store’s name.
I only have a few examples here, but I’m confident there are many around New York City.
Note: A&P, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, went out of business in 2015 after 153 years. A concise history of the food distributor can be found here.
In the title card: Some former A&P locations are easily recognizable even today. If you see that peak on its roofline, BINGO. This former A&P was located on the NE corner of Throop & Gates Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
A hardware store now occupies the long gone A&P here on Fulton Street, between Nostrand and New York Avenues, north side.
This old sign oversees the parking lot at the former A&P at east side of Nostrand Avebue and Empire Boulevard, Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Just think, grocery shoppers used to occupy the aisles in this building on West 125th Street, between Old Broadway and Amsterdam Ave, Harlem.
Pitkin Avenue, between New Jersey Avenue and Vermont Street is now the home of C-Town.
My local A&P in Bay Ridge was at 4th Avenue and Senator Street. The front, facing 4th Avenue, has been altered but in the parking lot, you can still see a telltale peaked pediment. –ed.
Gary Fonville, a former MTA bus operator, has seen more of the city than I could ever hope to. –ed.
Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”
For many years there was a large Pathmark supermarket on West 207th Street in Upper Manhattan, at the foot of the University Heights Bridge to and from The Bronx. It was the first Pathmark store I remember, and I shopped there during my senior year at the NYU Uptown campus, when it opened. It was just across the Harlem River. I continued to shop there when I worked in Washington Heights for about two years after I graduated NYU. The store had a rooftop parking area, with a ramp to and from 207th St. I don’t know what is there now. This store was never an A&P, and was larger than most Manhattan supermarkets.
Ironically, my younger son spent many years working at a Pathmark on Long Island until the demise of the A&P family in 2015.
It was a victim of the 2015 bankruptcy and was sold off….it’s still an active supermarket, as of last October it was an Associated supermarket but it sounds like residents were trying to get a Trader Joes in there to replace it
The uptown campus was the NYU School of Engineering when I went there in the late 60’s. The dome of the library was known as the “Great Green Nipple Of Knowledge”. The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is still there although it’s now Bronx Community College.
Andy…I remember that Pathmark well because I used to drive my mom there. We lived off of Pelham Parkway and they eventually built a Pathmark on Bartow Ave. in CO-OP City, so that became the supermarket of choice because it was closer.
Our local A&P was the smallest one I’d ever seen. If memory serves, it was on the south side of Avenue U around East 15th Street in Brooklyn. It was only one or two standard storefronts wide. I remember the pre-automatic conveyor belts at the check out. It was a well worn wooden box that the cashier would pull the groceries over in.
That one was on the south side of Avenue U between( East 13th & Homecrest. I remember when it became a Martin Paint, itself is a long gone chain. What memories of all the great (& not so great) stores of Avenue U, just in that 10 block stretch between Coney Island & Ocean Avenues: City of “Famous” Bargains, Wolf’s, Trunz, Kennereth, Acme Camera, Warren Processing Labs, M&M Clothes, Silver Mart, G&G Bakery, Brown Decorators, Mona Beauty Salon (somehow she couldn’t bring herself to spring for an apostrophe & an “s”), Barton’s, Barricini’s, Branca Shoes, Esther’s Gift Shop, Stoneham Pharmacy, Ronald’s Pharmacy, Cookie’s, Avenue U & Mayfair movie theaters, Singer Sewing Machines, Riccar, Waverly Florist, Carvel (pre-Cookie Puss), Bisquane Travel, Red Spinner, G&G Bakery…interspersed with various candy stores & newstands… sigh…now replaced with skinned ducks & pigs hanging in the windows…
Good lord, what a list! Brought back tons of memories. One other… Duff’s 5&10.
You forgot the jewish deli Zeimar’s, Jack’s lucheaonette, stagnito’s to name a few, but it was great reading yours.
Safeway is alive & well in AZ, although it’s badly overshadowed by Fry’s (a Kroger company) & Walmart. Fry’s, Walmart, & Basha’s (a local outfit serving metro Phoenix) dominate Queen Creek/ San Tan Valley, while Safeway picks up the slack in Florence.
I lived on Senator street near the A and P,at one time the whole building housed the supermarket,a small restaurant and a Volvo,Renault dealership on the corner.
In Windsor Terrace our A & P was at 1258 Prospect Avenue between Greenwood Avenue and Vanderbilt Street. It later became a real estate office, not sure what’s in there now. We would also use Bohack’s on 11th Avenue at Prospect.
My local A+P was located on 30th Avenue and 14th st. In Astoria. After it closed it became home to Parma Tile.
Lou, mine was close to you, at Broadway & Crescent St., and if my feeble mind can remember correctly, it moved to 34th Ave. & 28th St., and from there to oblivion
It was actually in the middle of the block. It is now a beer garden.
The A&P on Ditmars Blvd., off 31st Street, in Astoria is now a $Dollar store.
That one was on the south side of Avenue U between East 13th & Homecrest. I remember when it became a Martin Paint, itself is a long gone chain. What memories of all the great (& not so great) stores of Avenue U, just in that 10 block stretch between Coney Island & Ocean Avenues: City of “Famous” Bargains, Wolf’s, Trunz, Kennereth, Acme Camera, Warren Processing Labs, M&M Clothes, Silver Mart, G&G Bakery, Brown Decorators, Mona Beauty Salon (somehow she couldn’t bring herself to spring for an apostrophe & an “s”), Barton’s, Barricini’s, Branca Shoes, Esther’s Gift Shop, Stoneham Pharmacy, Ronald’s Pharmacy, Cookie’s, Avenue U & Mayfair movie theaters, Singer Sewing Machines, Riccar, Waverly Florist, Carvel (pre-Cookie Puss), Bisquane Travel, Red Spinner…interspersed with various candy stores & newstands… sigh…now replaced with skinned ducks & pigs hanging in the windows…
BUT: There are a handful of holdouts which have withstood the test of time & demographic changes: Lester’s, The Donut Shoppe, Three Star Restaurant, Luigi’s Pizza, Trio Pizza & Frankel Jewelers.
I used to have an A&P in Hawthorne at the Rose Hill Shopping Center, near where I live, but that has been long gone and ACME has replaced it since then, plus I did used to a Grand Union over in Pleasantville, which there until Stop and Shop and later on Key Foods took that over on that.
There was an A&P at what is now Duane Reade (66-56 Grand Ave) in Maspeth, Queens. There was a cool metallic conveyor belt that brought stock up from the basement. And it was right next to the Ben Franklin 5 and 10 cent store.
There was also a Bohack market at what is now CVS (69-80 Grand Ave) in Maspeth too..
I used to have an A&P over at the Rose Hill Shopping Center in Hawthorne, but that place is now Acme, plus there was also a Grand Union in Pleasantville until Stop and Shop took over and now it happens to be Key Food since then.
Most of the A&Ps on Staten Island were store fronts. There were 3 big markets with the familiar pediments and parking lots. Rosebank, New Dorp and Eltingville. The one in Tottenville on Page Ave. was demolished for a new shopping area. The only building left is on the corner of Castleton Ave. and Taylor St. in West Brighton. Another market occupies this space today.
Mine was on the west side of 18th Ave between 51st and 52nd streets in Brooklyn. Small and dirty, but convenient to walk to…
I worked at Western Union, 60 Hudson St., during the mid 60’s while going to college. Occasionally I’d take telegrams from Huntington Hartford inviting his many friends to parties. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but I sure got the impression that money was not a problem for him. Reading the A&P History, it’s not surprising that the chain went belly-up, especially if the other heirs threw money around like Huntington did!
I remember that on family car trips in the 1960s, we’d always pass a large “Ann Parker Baked Foods” sign on the expressway on the way to the Whitestone Bridge, right
near the World’s Fair grounds. Does anyone else remember it–or even better, have a photo?
No A+P in my 1960s childhood “universe” in Forest Hills. On 108th street we had Bohack’s, Key, Associated, Finast, and Daitch-Shopwell. But I would often succeed in
getting my Mom (an infinitely patient soul!) to schlep with me by foot all the way to the Big Apple near Lefrak City because it was the only store that sold my
favorite breakfast cereal, Kix. Other long-lost Queens groceries that I recall were King Kullen on Broadway at 48th near my grandparents in Astoria, and Hills-Korvette’s in
I also remember those annoying WEO! commercials in the early 1970s!
Dave, I think the sign was Jane Parker as that was the A&P store brand.
I lived in Jamaica, Queens from 1979 through 1987, and there were various supermarkets in our area that we routinely shopped at. There was a C-Town near 169th Street and Hillside Avenue; an A&P on 171st and Hillside; a Waldbaums around 175th and Hillside; and a Grand Union on Union Turnpike near Homelawn Street. I’ve been living in L.A. since ’87 but from Google maps I can see that both the A&P and Grand Union are gone and that the Waldbaums is now an Ideal Food Basket. Looks like the only one that remains is the C-Town.
To the upper left wall after the registers (or the upper right when you walk in, whatever your vantage point is), there appears to be a large framed photo of a man holding a little boy in front of the same C-Town with obviously vintage sale signs in the window… was that there when you lived in the area? I assume it’s the current owner and his father from back in the day!
Does anyone here remember the A&P on East 16th St between Foster and Newkirk Ave ?
I grew up in Forest Hills; an apartment building right on Queens Blvd. There was an A&P right on QB off of Ascan Ave. It is now called Orchard Fine Food. On Austin Street, down the block and around the corner, there was a Peter Reeves (a smaller one located on Continental Ave.) and a Bohak right across the street from OLQM school. Quite a rivalry but everyone’s mother had their favorite store. A number of years later, they put a huge Bohaks on Austin, off of Continental Ave. I think it’s a gym now. And yes, I certainly do remember the Ann Parker Baked Goods sign on the expressway, right next to Servill (?sp.) Zippers.
I grew up in Greenwich Village and we had 3 A&P Stores 475 Sixth Ave at West 12 St , 75 Christopher Street, and a late opener on Hudson Street at Bank Street.
Back in 1984, 85 I got my own apt after moving out of my folks black in Flatlands to Bay Ridge near the A&P near 69th Street near the 2 housing towers. Being only 25 or so,. I had no sense of shopping for food. I would go into the City to party all night take the RR train home, 1 stop earlier and go to the A&P , open 24 hrs at the time. And get all the groceries I needed, no lines, people friendly, prices cheaper back then. Back then big burly paper bags. If I was feeling strong I could carry 2 fully stocked bags to my apt at Ovington Ave and 71st Street. Best times of my life. Getting my own aprartment, having my o wn job, meeting friends after work in the city for a drink. Running every other day. the best times of my life in the 80’s that was so long ago. I was a full to move to Florida
There was a Bohack’s supermarket chain also at least into the mid 60s. Ours was on Liberty Ave and 134th st., south side. A&P was the competitor at 130st, on the north side.
Hills was a jewel until pantry pride took over .
I recall the A&P Supermarket in the Chelsea section of Manhattan where I once lived. The original store was located on the West side of 8th Avenue between W21st & W22nd Streets. In the late 1950’s it relocated to a one story building on the NW corner of 8th Avenue & W20th Street. A Key Food supermarket replaced the mid-block A&P location after it moved down 8th Avenue. Both A&P and Key Food are long gone. The building where Key Food was located was demolished and replaced by a residential building with a Gristedes Supermarket. The then “New” A&P building, also demolished, was replaced by a multi story residential building. I moved from the Chelsea neighborhood in the mid 1970’s and out to the wilds of South Brooklyn, and the Waldbaum’s Supermarket chain. Also now long gone. Thank goodness for the Commissary at Fort Hamilton.