Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge Greenmarket celebrates 10th anniversary

May 23, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Vincent Gentile presents Frank Sorci, former Walgreens store manager, and his staff with a proclamation from the City Council. Eagle photos by John Alexander

Gentile Hosts Event in the Walgreens Parking Lot

On Saturday, the Bay Ridge Grow NYC Greenmarket celebrated its 10th season grand opening with a fun day that included music, free raffles, prizes and a birthday cake. The event marked a decade of the popular open market partnered with Walgreens and located in the parking lot of Walgreens on 94th Street and Third Avenue.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) helped host the event spotlighting one of the few places in the community where residents can find weekly fresh seafood, baked breads, fruits and vegetables.

Gentile welcomed the crowd and offered a brief history of how the greenmarket came to the neighborhood. “You might remember that we had a series of supermarkets closing down 10 years ago in Bay Ridge.  One of them was the Key Food supermarket that was right here where we are now, where Walgreens is today. When it closed down 10 years ago, it made this area a supermarket desert where there were no longer any supermarkets.”

Gentile explained that when he and his staff learned that Walgreens would be taking over the location, they came up with the idea of introducing Grow NYC’s Greenmarket to Bay Ridge. “We thought that this parking lot would be an ideal spot, since it was right where the Key Food used to be.”

Gentile’s team had to approach Walgreens and ask them for permission to allow the Greenmarket to set up. “Walgreens wanted to be a good neighbor,” said Gentile, “and agreed to let us partner with them and come into their parking lot every Saturday from May to November. And today, 10 years later, Walgreens continues their hospitality and continues to allow us to come and bring the Greenmarket to Bay Ridge.”

The vendors who make up the Greenmarket include American Seafood from Suffolk County, New York; Bread Alone from Ulster County, New York; Goodale Farms, who provide dairy, meat and vegetables; Jersey Farms with fruit and vegetables from Hunterdon County, New Jersey; and Toigo Orchards from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.

Gentile introduced Michael Hurtwitz, director of Grow NYC Greenmarket. Hurtwitz thanked Gentile and said that it was an honor to be back for the market’s 10th season. He said, “Walgreens’ good will and interest in serving the community is the reason we are here. This is your market and this is your town square that Councilman Gentile envisioned and made happen.”

Hurtwitz presented Gentile with the first-ever Greenmarket citation for recognizing the need for a Greenmarket in the neighborhood and working tirelessly to make it happen. Hurtwitz called Gentile an honorary member of the Greenmarket family. Gentile, whose City Council term limit is up this year, and who is currently running for Brooklyn District Attorney, joked that since he did not have a guaranteed job for next year he might take him up on his offer.

Gentile presented Hurtwitz and his staff with a City Council Proclamation commemorating Greenmarket’s 10-year anniversary. He also presented the Walgreens Corporation with a proclamation that was accepted by former 94th Street Store Manager Frank Sorci on behalf of the whole Walgreens staff.

The ceremony ended with Gentile’s Chief of Staff Justin Brannan helping to cut the 10th anniversary birthday cake.