BY THE VILLAGE SUN | They’ve signed thousands of physical petitions and some online petitions, too, to save the Morton Williams supermarket in the South Village. Now residents are getting ready to rally.
The Save Our Supermarket campaign will hold a press conference on Tues., Dec. 6, at noon, to release the reams of its signed petition — reportedly now with more than 7,000 signatures — calling on the city and New York University to save their local supermarket at Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place. Meanwhile, according to S.O.S., a new public school should be located, not at the supermarket site — as Community Board 2 and local politicians have supported — but somewhere else “in the vicinity.”
The event will be held in front of the supermarket, the site of which has been earmarked for a possible new school, possibly for special-needs students from around the city. The Department of Education must still decide, though, whether to exercise its option to build a school there. No action will be taken on the supermarket site until after the end of next year.
However, when the N.Y.U.-owned superblock was being rezoned 10 years to allow the university to develop new buildings on it, the community was led to believe there was a promise to preserve the supermarket — either at the current site or in the new “Zipper Building” that N.Y.U. has since built on Mercer Street, on the other side of the block.
The School Construction Authority, for its part, has previously stated that a new public school at the Morton Williams site would be “stand-alone,” meaning not including a supermarket. At the same time, N.Y.U. says that all the space in the “Zipper” is already taken and that it does not currently intend to build any of the other three buildings that it had previously planned for its two superblocks, bounded by Houston, W. Third and Mercer Streets and LaGuardia Place.
“The city and the New York University administration’s failure to commit to honoring assurances made during the rezoning process, which enabled N.Y.U.’s expansion, threatens the continued existence of the Morton Williams supermarket at 130 Bleecker St.,” a press release for the Dec. 6 event says. “At every single step in the original ULURP (rezoning) process, the preservation of the store on its current block remained front and center. Yet when the city issued the legally binding restrictive declaration, the pledge to preserve the supermarket was curiously missing.
“As a result, the Greenwich Village, Soho, Noho and East Village communities and vicinity will be without their only full-service supermarket unless the city and the university step up and live up to their commitments.”
S.O.S. notes that Morton Williams provides “the only full-service supermarket to over 23,000 residents in its zip code, as well as to residents of surrounding areas. The supermarket serves over 3,000 neighborhood residents daily, as well as small businesses and visitors to the Bleecker Street area.”
A full-service market has existed at the location for more than half a century.
“We support the school in our vicinity,” S.O.S. said, “but without dislocating a crucial service to our community from its half-century plus location, and without endangering the vital and much-loved award-winning LaGuardia Corner Community Garden abutting the site.
“We call on the city and the New York University administration to honor the commitment they made to the entire community — including university faculty and students — to the continuous operation of a full-service supermarket on the block where it currently sits. With the elimination of N.Y.U.’s new Mercer Street building, no other feasible location exists to serve residents, especially seniors and persons with special needs, who depend on this supermarket.
“We call upon the city and the N.Y.U. administration to work with the community to find a win, win, win resolution which maintains the supermarket at its current site, preserves the garden and locates the school in the vicinity. We call on all of our elected officials — from the mayor to our local legislators — to intervene to protect and preserve our supermarket.”
Responding to the pressure of the S.O.S. petition drive, N.Y.U. and local politicians, in a joint statement, recently committed to building a new public school while preserving the Morton Williams store either where it currently sits or somewhere nearby.
“We are pleased to affirm,” the joint statement said, in part, “that our offices are working together with New York University to create a long-term solution that will allow a school to be built while still preserving the grocery store at or near the current location.”
what supermarkets need to do is let seniors call up order by phone with their ebt cards and have it delivered, the tip is on them ages 65 and up, they do it with credit so why not ebt
Can we prevent Morton Williams from being closed unless or until a new site is located? Otherwise, we risk falling into same trap of false “assurances.” NYU must be blocked from getting its way without giving the community what it promised.
Bring back Grand Union!
Statistically speaking…many of you voted for this!