As we first reported back in March, this 14th Street location was to close on May 30, according to a WARN notice filed on Feb. 25 with the New York State Department of Labor.
The WARN filing says that the Food Emporium lease is expiring. The closure will impact 50 employees, per the notice.
In February 2020, Lois Weiss at the Post reported that Target signed a lease for the 32,579 square feet here in the base of the Zeckendorf Towers. At the time, the Food Emporium was said to stay here through the end of April 2023. Perhaps now Target will push forward their opening date.
And we'll walk off with a passage from Rachel Sugar's March 11 essay at Grub Street titled "New York Grocery Stores Are Uniquely Weird. That’s Why They’re Important" ...
In itself, the Union Square Food Emporium was not special. It was — and is! (until May 30) — what one might call "serviceable," which is to say that it does indeed sell groceries and has two stars on Yelp. But it is emblematic of its kind. It is, like Key Food and Foodtown and C-Town and Gristedes and Associated and Bravo and D’Agostino, a quintessential New York City chain. Are these stores largely mediocre? Of course, but they are distinctly mediocre. And while there are recognizable differences between them, such as quality and ownership and location, spiritually, they are the all same.
Previously on EV Grieve:
With a Target replacing it, Union Square is indeed the suburban mall square in Manhattan.
@Beacon NY. So true. Union Square retail is becoming so boring that it is finally living up to the Square in its name.
I’ll take a vast selection of mediocre groceries over a very limited selection of generic national brands any day. This makes me miss all the old-timely grocery chains like Bohack, once one of the biggest chains in NYC, done in by the 70’s recession, Pathmark (the one near Chinatown), and A&P, with their Eight O’Clock Coffee and S&H Green Stamps. The grocery chains offer much more variety and selection of specialty and ethnic foods which are unavailable at the national chains. Now whole Foods in centralizing buying of all products and eliminating many locally sourced specialty items, making it much harder for smaller producers of organic and natural foods to get to market. So much for local sourcing.
One chain I would not miss is Gristedes, where a bag of groceries can cost more than dinner at Gramercy Tavern. If people are happy living in Generica then I’m not sure why they came to New York only to pay double the prices for the same things they were buying back in Akron, Ohio.
@Beacon, NY: The important thing, however, is that Union Square has the Greenmarket four days a week; the Greenmarket is a destination.
(I'm still scratching my head wondering why we need another Target on 14th street; all the more reason—in my mind—to go to Kmart instead.)
Yes, the Greenmarket that sells local food products, a lot of it which comes from my neck of the woods with my other residence in the Hudson River Valley makes Union Square a worthwhile destination. I even go there to say hi to a vendor who happens to be a neighbor of mines if I'm not buying anything. The ability to communicate to someone within the city who shares an affinity with you somewhere else makes it worthwhile visit for me. Now the issue with Whole Foods buying out local purveyors of organic and natural foods, this Greenmarket with its local producers isn't being bought by Whole Foods and WF does carry a lot products from local producers as much it can. We just need more East Village Organics that source specialty producers of organic and natural foods.
This burgeoning of widespread retail chains in Manhattan and NYC in general is just another manifestation of gentrification that is happening all over New York State. It could be a bad thing for long time residents in the area as they fear displacement and rising costs from the gentrification process. But our state has become a source of envy for other states who wished they had all the urban renewal and rural vitalization. Gentrification consists of 2 groups of businesses settling in an area. One are the small boutique businesses and the others are the large corporate chains. Small cities and certain towns don't want these chains on their main streets. They are usually situated in the periphery areas. Manhattan being a huge place is able to accommodate them everywhere where small businesses are right next to the chains.
Permit me to point out that, before there was Zeckendorf Towers, on that very spot stood "S. Klein, On The Square".
And S. Klein, much like May's (which replaced Ohrbach's on 14th St.), was one of the "bargain" or discount department stores that made up the main retail shopping draw of Union Square at the time. If you wanted NICER stuff, you went down to 9th St. to shop at Wanamaker's.
So I don't see that, by having Target go into the Food Emporium space, things have changed so much; it's more like things are in some sense going full-circle.
The big difference is that Target does represent mall-ification b/c Target is part of a major national chain. Yet equally, we already have right nearby many OTHER major chain stores (some national, some not), like Trader Joe's, Best Buy, Walgreen's/Duane Reade, Whole Foods, DSW, and Burlington Coat Factory.
In the end, Union Square seems to be a place to go shopping for discount goods.
This location has realtor signs up, so Target might not be taking it after all.
On the 17th Street side of Union Square is Sephora, a national chain, although I read they are moving to 14th Street they will still be "in the area." Petco, another big chain is at 17th & Broadway. On Union Square East & 16th there was a TGIF for years.
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