C.E.O. said to be ‘enthusiastic’ about Pathmark L.E.S. presence

Victor Papa spoke at a rally in October to save the Cherry St. Pathmark. The supermarket closed Dec. 22.   Photo by Sam Spokony

Victor Papa spoke at a rally in October to save the Cherry St. Pathmark. The supermarket closed Dec. 22. Photo by Sam Spokony

BY SAM SPOKONY  |  Three weeks after the closure of the 30-year-old Pathmark supermarket on Cherry St. — an affordable food source that was a lifeline for thousands of low-income and elderly residents of the Two Bridges neighborhood — it appears that the national chain store is still interested in maintaining a Lower East Side presence.

Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, traveled with several associates to the Montvale, N.J., corporate headquarters of A&P (which owns Pathmark) on Monday, to meet with A&P C.E.O. Sam Martin.

In an interview the next day, Papa told this newspaper that Martin and his team were “very enthusiastic” about collaborating with community leaders, with the ultimate goal of finding ways to allow Two Bridges residents to keep shopping for Pathmark groceries.

“I have no reason to doubt their sincerity, or their interest in staying connected to the Lower East Side community,” Papa said.

Martin could not be reached for comment by press time.

Specifically, Papa explained that he and Martin discussed the possibility of an Internet shopping plan, through which Two Bridges residents could buy groceries online and have them delivered from other Pathmark supermarkets, such as those in Harlem or Gowanus.

But Martin doubted the feasibility of a Two Bridges-based suggestion to place a smaller supermarket within the previous Pathmark pharmacy building on Cherry St., according to Papa.

In any case, the Two Bridges leader stressed that Monday’s meeting was a very positive first step, and noted that the discussion ended with an agreement that both sides would continue to convene in the coming months.

“They took the time to understand us,” said a clearly appreciative Papa, who has taken the lead on this issue ever since A&P announced the sale of its lease on the 227 Cherry St. lot to a developer in September. “They trust us now and, to some degree, we trust them.”

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One Response to C.E.O. said to be ‘enthusiastic’ about Pathmark L.E.S. presence

  1. Victor Papa and the TBNC are clearly out of touch with the local community. "..they (A&P Pathmark) have the full support of the local community"? Which "community", is Victor referring to exactly? This organization needs to take a few steps out of their offices and look around. Although they have made some effort to improve their image, their staff is clearly not representative of the local community-not for or an organization based in a section 8 housing development, further surrounded by public housing. Most of the local residents who shopped at Pathmark on a weekly (or even more frequent basis) are pissed at Pathmark's callous actions and lies and couldn't care less if they decided to return. Pathmark lied to the very end about closure dates, restocking store, and pharmacy transfers. In fact they never posted any sign about the pharmacy closing until the day of, leaving many residents to scramble to find prescription refills. The so-called, "rally" that was supposed to help "save" Pathmark was only promoted by local politicians. TBNC's position was not to save the store at all leading many to ask what is the role of the TBNC? Does TBNC really think that we will welcome back Pathmark with open arms? We also question the hiring of a, "food and local economy consultant group". I certainly hope that this is charity work for the only benefit is for Urbane Development's profile. Most people had never even heard of this type of company until now. Did they really need to hire someone (hopefully, not paid) to tell us that we now need to shop at the Fine Fare on Grand St or that milk is 2 pennies less at Key Food?! Most of the local residents have figured out something on their own since it's now been a few months since closure became imminent. We've talked amongst ourselves as a community about where to shop and who delivers, etc. We have to buy food now for our families. Do we really need a grocery guide in June telling us where to shop? Give me a break, this is NYC. And if they really wanted to serve the community, they would have done this earlier last year when Pathmark announced it's closure. Not after the fact. TBNC knew well in advance that Pathmark was leaving. The only thing that the TBNC may have done is set the seeds for a real neighborhood organization. I am reminded by a quote from Anne Johnson of C.B.3 who said, " ….I've known Victor Papa for almost 40 years and nothing he does isn't for the benefit of Victor Papa…". This leads me to believe that TBNC has a different angle to play in the upcoming residential development. While I don't think Victor will play the, "poverty pimp", I do think that the TBNC will somehow benefit from this-and at the expense of the real local residents. TBNC has been vague about their role in this development-what they do and do not own, what they want from the developer, air space rights-and has downright lied in some of their press conferences. As a non-profit, I also hope that the TBNC will finally make their tax forms, records, salaries, etc., easy to find and transparent. TBNC needs to find a better way to connect with the local community. Their programs and events are clearly from grad-school textbooks/seminars as opposed to real grass-roots type programs. Their numbers are pitifully low in some of their programs and they have no clue why. How many local Two Bridge residents do you really think even know or care about their signature, "Marco Polo" annual event? I also urge the press, well to be, the press. I'm sure TBNC is mature enough to handle a little due-diligence and some criticism.

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