Thursday, August 23, 2012

Goods & Grocery | Whole Foods Market (Midtown East)

When I was walking past 57th and 2nd this past February, I saw this and then confirmed by this post by the Roosevelt Islander blog. My first reaction: A Whole Foods Market finally opening in Midtown East, a mere two blocks away from the Roosevelt Island Tram?! Somebody please pinch me -- all of my wildest dreams have just come true! Only thing keeping me from really believing it was how the sign read "Summer 2012" -- so many months away from that point. Until this "mysterious date" in the summer, I had to continue enduring the awful Gristedes on the Island, the ridiculous schleppage from various Whole Foods Markets throughout the city (as I've done my prime shopping at Union Square, Columbus Circle, and Lower East Side locations), and occasional deliveries from FreshDirect when it proved to be too much to handle (not so bad, but I missed walking up and down the aisles at my leisure).

Then the wait was finally over, and the tease was gone. Whole Foods announced it would be opening on August 23 at 8:30 AM. This was no practical joke -- it was really happening. My first reaction this morning, on the very date: Somebody pinch me. Alas, the fun has returned to grocery shopping!

Imagine my giddiness this morning, when I passed by the grand opening of the Whole Foods (a tried-and-true "breaking bread" ceremony). This was the front of the line, around 8:20 AM. All the food and drink freebies along with a limited amount of free gift bags certainly were reason to wake up bright and early and make a beeline for them.

Along with the store's grand opening, the "breaking bread" ceremony also kicks off Whole Food Market's plan to install salad bars at 57 schools throughout the city's five boroughs (valued at more than $300,000!) via its Whole Kids Foundation in collaboration with the Mayor's Fund and Fund for Public Schools.

With that in mind, as I passed by the store this morning, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the physical bread breaking (looks like challah!) ceremony with all of the esteemed individuals including Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself! I was sad that I couldn't stay much longer, as I was already on my way to work, but I planned on making a trip on the way home. Such a relief to be able to say that and mean that it would actually be directly on the way home!

I got to the doors around 5:15-5:30, already met with a pretty dense throng of post-work customers, already bustling for groceries and to see what the new location has in store.

{1} Regular store hours (with an exception of today) are from 8 AM to 11 PM daily. {2} The produce section is a little more packed in a smaller area than the city's other locations, but it is well organized and easy to find what you're looking for without having go run in circles. {3,5} The meat/poultry/seafood departments are arranged in a U-shape, with plenty of aisle space between it and the open freeze box located at the center filled with frozen protein (both marinated and non-marinated). {4} The cheese department is nicely organized just like the other ones I'm familiar with at the other locations. {6} Along with the tall aisle dividers, this Whole Foods has some lower, metal racks to accommodate the smaller areas of the retail space. {7} The only thing that I worry about at this location is the check-out area. There's not much room for customers to wait, especially if you hope not to block main shopping traffic. Once the staff at this new location work out the initial kinks that come after a recent grand opening, hopefully this worry will be assuaged with steadier flow of customers checking out.

Findings: Perhaps it was just the novelty of the Midtown location just opening, but I felt it was a lot more crowded than any of the other Whole Food Markets I've been to. It was a bit difficult to navigate because I was unfamiliar with the layout, of course, as well as the heavy cart/rolling basket traffic through the aisles and sections of the store. Not holding this against any one at all, so I hope to become better accommodated and familiar with the Midtown East location. After all, it's going to be my home away from home, making all of my grocery shopping that much easier and more fulfilling. I made it out in a record of twenty minutes, taking less than five minutes for me to walk to the Tram, board it, and be on my merry way. Cannot say how happy I was to get home in record time after having going food shopping! Thank you, Whole Foods, for making this all a reality for us Roosevelt Islanders!

--August 23, 2012

Whole Foods Market (Midtown East)
226 East 57th Street
New York, NY 10022

1 comment:

  1. We heard the check out lines were moving pretty quickly. You can view video (QuikLine one) here:



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...