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Tonight: Sunnyside to Hold Rally to Save Downtown

Foodtown, which has been open for four decades, is closing

Dec. 6, 2012 By Bill Parry

Jimmy Van Bramer, this district’s councilman, is holding a rally this evening calling on the landlord of the Foodtown on Greenpoint Avenue to renew the lease so the store will remain open.

Foodtown, located at 41-25 Greenpoint Ave., is schedule to close in the next two weeks after the landlord and the supermarket owner failed to come to an agreement to renew the lease.

“The landlord came up with a figure [proposed rent] that was not even close,” said Noah Katz, the owner of Foodtown. He essentially said “I want you to leave.”

The landlord, Jamal Hammad of Maysa Realty Corp., was unable to be reached. He has also not responded to Van Bramer’s office.

Van Bramer said the rally is also to show support for the 30-plus workers who will have to relocate to other Foodtown stores to keep their jobs. It also sends a message to the landlord that the people in the community want the market to stay open.

Van Bramer said his office has been inundated with e-mails and twitter messages from constituents when word of the supermarket’s closing became known.

However, Van Bramer conceded that the chances of the store remaining open are slim. “Yes, it’s a free market and the owner is free to do what he wants,” he said, “but it’s not right to gouge a business. That is a disservice to the community.”

Van Bramer adds that a letter airing his grievances has been sent to Hammad but he has yet to answer.

On Tuesday afternoon, Foodtown store manager Ashot Hyusyan said: “It’s very nice of the community to try and help. I hope the rally works but at this point you can’t get your hopes too high.”


Rally will take place between 6pm and 7 pm, Thursday, Dec. 6

Location: Foodtown, 41-05 Greenpoint Avenue (the corner of 42nd Street)

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Foodtown is probably better run, but has high prices, the green points, don’t usually make up for it because you are dependent on what sales the items have, and usually sales for items are usually on sale at other grocery stores for the same price or close to it, as far as private label, foodtown is no different than key food , western beef, or other private labels its not like foodtown is a “premium” brand like kirkland signature, trader joes’ or whole foods 365.

Foodtown also prices groceries higher where they can get away with it, it could be because of rent, but even still, katz is a capitalist and shows his press releases of “goodwill”, of course you have to make money to stay in business, so I am not attacking him, but don’t go around touting consumers about goodwill and complain about rent when you stated you
would PAY a bed-stuy landlord MORE RENT THEN HE ASKED FOR!

It’s hard to compare grocery stores, certain key foods may or may not be so great, associated is impersonal, yes, but what about prices, it and yes renovations add to the price, and perhaps many supermarkets are the same? I agree foodtown has a leg up with not being so impersonal but even still many stores are still impersonal, its a supermarket what do you expect.

Perhaps foodtown needs to reevaluate his business and gain a leg up to differentiate themselves more , but katz is a smart business man anyways, as far as 99 cents store, if there is a consumer demand then what can u do, they are eyesores but so are overpriced bodegas, and so are many dry cleaners, and “small businesses”.

woodside guy

Tactics from Foodtown i don’t understand Foodtown makes money by closing stores? Please tell us how?


I have been in the area for 15 years and have always purchased fresh producsts from Foodtown with the exception of one item over the years.

The majority of workers are nice and polite with the exception of several. This doesn’t mean everyone should be labeled the same.

There are so many stores on Greenpoint Avenue that has been closed for years now, so we do not need another one.

Associated is an impersonal store with loud playing music and unfriendly staff.

Tactics from foodtown

Just look up woodside foodtown on google you will see Katz pulled off the same bull you know what when they left that location also because they are greedy and don’t want landlords to make there bank payments so they can foreclosure and take over the property.just look it up and everyone they put a comment will see the truth foodtown use this only as a tactic to make millions


i detect too much anger in you. i guessed correctly that you were a liar and a man. Now i think you are a bi-polar, low educated, racist. Hispanics own and run associated. get over it. The plot housing ftown is rezoned. you call people idiots and expect to educate them?
get over it. 🙂

The Truth

Also O’Shea you inconsiderate little troll why don’t you step away from the keyboard because all you are trying to do is gain attention for yourself. You have nothing better to do and probably have only visited the store a handful of times but want to cry about something. That goes for the rest of the idiots here who just want to gain attention. This store had a strong attachment to the community and people don’t seem to realize it. They were convenient for everyone in the neighborhood. The second you walk in you are treated like family. Yes there is the occasional mishap but every store has those. You also have to realize that this is the only store in the neighborhood where you will actually see a cashier get off their register to help people unload their stuff, put it in their shopping cart, or even bring their cart around for them. You would never see that in Associated. They are all pieces of shit there who don’t care what so ever. They hardly speak English and they start at you funny when you ask a question or are checking out. I may just be rambling but at this moment in time I really don’t give a sh*t. As for things moving into that plot where FoodTown is that is not gonna happen. The landlord apparently doesn’t want anything there yes that’s his own deal but it’s screwing up our neighborhood. That cheap bastard is making our neighborhood look like the slums because he probably gets something out of it.

The Truth

No, I am not the spokesman of FoodTown. I just happen to frequent the store on an almost daily basis. I am not ignorant and I decided to ask the people there rather then make assumptions like the rest of the idiots here.

@ the troll O’Shea


@ The Truth
do you work for foodtown? are you a paid spokesman of foodtown. you are a liar. The store with the lowest prices closes. lay off the fake pot.

choco-bot the chocolate robot

im thinkin about renting it, and livin my dream by opening U-NEEDA CASKET showroom. But I ain’t talkin a dreary and depressing shopping experience. My showroom will have latino chicks in catsuits polishing the chrome bumpers and fluffing up pillows & unlike Foodtown, my girls will NOT text!! They will be 100% attentive to your wants and needs and to see that you enter the afterlife in STYLE! Try em out, lay down… we want YOU to be happy. After all, shouldn’t you be happy in ETERNITY!? Right amigo??

This has been a dream of mine, who knew that 12,000 SF of PRIME real estate would open up right next to my home, not to mention in an area with an aging population and a cemetary just up the block. Can’t miss!! Anybody want in?

I’m thinking of hiring PSY at the opening, GANGHAM STYLE BABY!!!
Balloon artist for the kids and casket races for the gramps and gramms.

More of the same

Pathmark’s closure was related to the Chapter 11 reorganization of it’s parent company, A&P.


I left out in my above post that its that Key Foods is just a few blocks away from the Foodtown that would make keeping both open a possible conflict of interest for Mr. Hammad (if he is indeed working for Key Foods).

Not to mention, the recently closed Pathmark is, AFAIK going to be re-opened as a Food Bazaar, with Food Bazaar having some kind of connection with Key Foods (so again, the Foodtown would be seen as unwanted competition).

It’s also worth pondering that the Pathmark and Foodtown are union shops, and I don’t think the supermarkets in the Key Foods chain are…


I left out in my above post that there is a Key Food just a few blocks away from the Foodtown – therefore if Mr. Jammal is associated with Key Food, he might be under pressure from Key Food to not operate two stores so close together (especially after the money put into the recent renovation of that Key Food).

Not to mention that AFAIK the recently closed Pathmark is going to be re-opened as a Food Bazaar, which ALSO seems to be linked to the same company as Key Food .

The fact that AFAIK, Pathmark and Foodtown were union shops and the Key Food stores are not may also have something to do with the closing of these stores.


I leave it up to the journalists to verify all of this, but after spending a little time on ACRIS and looking first into the name Jamal Hammad and then having this lead me to OTHERS in that family, I came upon one Kamal Hammad in a document linking him to Key Foods.

So using this connection, I went to google and ended up finding that there is SOMEONE with the name Jamal Hammad listed as being “President” of Key Foods.

Not sure if it is the same Jamal Hammad nor if he is the “president” of the entire chain of stores or just one store.

My point being – if the same Jamal Hammad who owns this Foodtown property is ALSO involved in Key Foods — there would obviously be a conflict of interest here between the two stores and one of them would have to go.

Kathy G

@tempus fugit: that won’t happen. Foodtown is in a separate building. All of the tenants from the laundromat (and also the vacant doctor’s office?) to the tax office around the corner on 41st Street are in a separate building with a good landlord. That’s why you see very little turnover in those stores. The pizzeria has been on the corner since 1984; Thalia Spanish Theatre has been in its home since 1977; the barber shop, laundromat and newsstand have been around for at least 25 years.


I don’t want to come off sexist but almost all the female workers there should be fired and replaced. They all are either rude, lazy, or have a bad attitude, and oh god the look they give you if you interrupt their text messaging. Everyone else is amazingly nice especially Gus. I hate to see the store go, I’d rather see those lousy cashiers go first.


Yeah that chubby Spanish girl has a bad attitude. I don’t go on her line anymore because she always damages my food while she packs.

There is also that blonde girl with the earrings. She’s soooooo lazy and never seems like she wants to be there. Plus it’s beyond rude when you put your stuff on her register and she’s sitting on it with her back to you texting.

There is also that Asian girl who’s had multiple hair colors over the last few months last time I saw her it was pink.mi don’t know what happened to her though I haven’t seen her recently but she was a (insert word here) as well.

The Truth

How about we correct all these ignorant comments so the miss informed can understand what is going on. I have been in FoodTown a lot in the past few days and have learned quite a lot of new information. I have been informed that it is not an issue of rent at all. The landlord just does not want them there. They informed me that they offered him a few million dollars to buy the store with no success. They had also offered to pay increased rent and to completely renovate the store for 2 million dollars. The landlord will just not budge. He does not want them there and it is for unknown reasons. He owns the stores across the street aswell, and as we all know they have been vacant for a decade now. Oh, and before I forget the demonstration last night was to try to get the landlord to reconsider renewing the lease.

Just a few extra comments for the ignorant.
1) Foodtown actually has the cheapest prices in the area.
2) yes, it is a bit old but everyone who works there is nice with a few exceptions. They treat you like family from the moment you walk in.
3) Associated is a grimy compact store. The workers have no personality and you pay a premium there because it was renovated.


why would anyone want to save this store — it is filthy the vegs are horrible and the people are nasty and rude — walk a couple of blocks and go to associated a higher class store and with my closing have a great day


JvB could have spent his time more wisely. we need help sponsoring a bill that will help legalize pot and cookies in ny. Sunnyside needs a recreational pot store. No, i am not kidding. If Jvb has time to come to a dead store’s rally. i hope he listens to a more lucrative proposal.


I disagree tony, most of the staff were nice except the young chubby Hispanic chick , she was a complete *itch

tempus fugit

The stores on that block will get sucked down like lifeboats next to the Titanic when she went under.


There are times for JVB to step in… this is not the time. He has no business getting involved with this matter. The landlord can decide what figure he wants to charge for rent.

choco-bot the chocolate robot

put up a couple stripper poles… get some girls – I got plenty o’ George Washngtons burnin a hole in my faded Levis!!!


This has to be the most comedic event I’ve witnessed since living in Sunnyside for the past 15 years. Let the “masses” assemble to protest, yes. But for what? To settle for a “grocery” store that is terrible at best? If you care about your neighborhood, fight for things that matter, things that will “raise” it up, things that will bond a community. Foodtown?

Foodtown to me represents one of the worst blights of this neighborhood. Terrible customer service, a high frequency of expired foods that are put out to sell (and the many numerous times I’ve pointed such items out to employees, only to get shrugs of “so what” in return), selection of overpriced items that are spun out of a corporate food mill, and an overall lack of respect for their customers. Yet, let’s all run to save this jewel in the rough! I’ve been counting the days when it finally does shutter. Not that I don’t feel bad for the employees who now find themselves in a position of being jobless or having to be transferred, but because it represents an opportunity for something – dare I say it, BETTER! Trader Joes? I’m putting that on my Christmas list.

Van Bramer just lost a vote for any future election. This is nothing but a cheap thrill to impress.

Dog Park < Parking Problems

They should tear it down and build a big ass parking garage, with no meters


It never ceases to amaze me! How so many conservative “free market” advocates sudddenly adopt a socialist agenda when their interests are affected. If you feel you can do better than make an offer and buy the property….sounds like a lot of sour grapes….


Let them go.
I don’t understand some of the posts. Either foodtown must pay up whoever else is willing to pay, or just leave. If a 99c can pay more rent than a foodtown, let them leave. That simple.

As for boycotting whoever else comes in next, is that a better option? Do you actually want some business there or not? What’s your point? It is not his fault that he can pay more than foodtown.

“friends” will come there? Come on, get real. Maybe you all should have shopped at foodtown a little more if you wanted to keep it there. stretch your legs a big and walk a few more blocks to get your food at a better looking, more organized, properly shelved store, not some store that looks like it is stuck in 90’s with shelves feeling like will topple over you at any moment.

Myron Rushetzky

In the meantime, when you go to Foodtown’s website, and you go to the “Store Locator,” the Sunnyside store is no longer listed.

Jerry Banberger

As far as FoodTown’s prices are concerned, don’t forget to take into account the “points for purchases” which are figured into their price structure. Their private label merchandise is more than competitive with national brands, and also there is the convenience enjoyed by those living more to the west, especially our senior citizens. Perhaps “Trader Joe’s” would consider moving into the neighborhood, and save the younger generation a long train ride to 14th Street. Now that would be convenient!

Eric Blair

Foodtown is good for Sunnyside, good for Greenpoint, and good for our community! Be there tonight!

woodside guy

Warehousing the space until the developers decide it is time to transform Sunnyside into the next Brooklyn. I can see glass and steel condos like they have in willyb in brooklyn, 2 blocks of them, 4-5 stories tall and with variances (community faciliity, 20% “affordable housing”
perhaps a few stories taller.

Until that time either vacant storefronts or marginal business on month to month leases

afterwards the “new pioneers” will wonder where all the shopping is

More of the Same

It’s a shame the workers are losing their jobs and greenpoint will have another shuttered storefront (presumably, since we don’t know the intentions of the landlord), but the landlord is within its rights to renew or nor renew a tenant’s lease. This rally may be good for a politician’s photo op but business is business and this happens all the time in commercial real estate.

As an aside, boycotting any incoming business is meaningless and would serve to destroy a new tenant who has done nothing wrong but sign a lease to take a risk of making it in Sunnyside.

How many shuttered businesses do we want?


Yeah, I’m sure the 99 cent stores are burning up his phone lines with better offers. I mean, it’s a pretty dilapidated building. Perfect for a 99 cent store. Hah. That makes 3 or so empty buildings on that block. Hope something halfway decent moves into one of them.


The other grocery stores are also a lot smaller and sell rotten food. Keep the Foodtown open (even though it does have awful meats).




He probably wants to rent to friends, that’s why he wants them to leave.
Within a year i bet it will be a gigantic 99cents store


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