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Astoria Lawmakers Want Key Food Lease Extended, Store in Danger of Closing

Keyfood Astoria (Google Maps)

May 25, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A group of Astoria lawmakers are trying to prevent a local supermarket from shutting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislators aim to stop the real estate company that owns 22-15 31st St. from kicking out Key Food when its lease comes to an end in October. The elected officials fear that dozens of jobs will be lost and it will be tougher for many residents to get food.

The officials penned a joint letter on May 20 that was sent to the real estate owners Jenel Real Estate and A&H Acquisitions calling on them to extend the supermarket’s lease for at least another year.

The letter–written by state Senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas, and Council Member Costa Constantinides–urged the owners to negotiate a new lease and expressed their concern about job losses.

Last year, Jenel filed plans to demolish the Key Food site in order to build a new commercial development that would house a Target store and other retailers. However, the lawmakers said Jenel was putting profit before the needs of the community by ending Key Food’s 50 year run at the location.

“It’s shocking that you prefer to lose a stable commercial tenant for the sake of gambling that sometime in the future you may find other higher-paying retailers to occupy a newly built development,” the letter reads.

“With the economic uncertainty that’s upon us, this is extremely ambitious to say the least.”

“We have seen irresponsible real estate development thumb its collective nose at neighborhood institutions, all in the name of profit. Who benefits? Certainly, not the community.”

According to the lawmakers’ letter, both parties have failed to come to an agreement over the past year. It is unclear what will happen when the lease comes to an end.

Queens Post reached out to Jenel and a representative of the company did not want to comment. Man-Dell Food Stores, which owns the Key Food franchise, could not be reached.

The lawmakers said that the workers – who have been providing an essential service to the neighborhood during the pandemic – will be out on the street if the store is forced to close.

“They have put their life on the line so that we can have food on the table,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers warned that COVID-19 could come back stronger in the fall and force more Astoria residents to cook from home. They said the neighborhood could ill afford to lose a grocery store at this time.

The group said that Key Food – which paid employees hazard pay and provided them with personal protective equipment during the pandemic – is an example of how to lead during a crisis.

They called on Jenel to show similar leadership and to act in the best interests of the community.

“Astoria residents deserve access to quality food and jobs right now. We all have a role to play in guaranteeing that happens,” they wrote.

“We would ask you to at least offer Key Food a one-year lease extension to guarantee Astoria residents don’t go hungry as COVID-19 rages on.”

Local Leaders Pen Letter to… by Queens Post on Scribd

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33 Comments

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margaret tong

Please don’t close the Astoria Keyfood – It is the only place I shop to get my foods, household goods within walking distance. Especially for disable persons. My family and I really need Keyfood Supermarket here.

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J

Unfortunately you don’t own the neighborhood. Just because you grew up here, it doesn’t mean you get to pick who live in this neighborhood, and enforce that only people who live like you or have similar preference can move to this neighborhood. You have your one vote, which is valuable, but it won’t grow with the years you live here. You seem to be very angry and full of hate about the changes in this neighborhood, which many others find exciting and positive – so watch out for potential high blood pressure.

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Anon

Yes postive chances…Like dirty streets!
BEDBUGS!
COVID-19!
MASKS!
SOCIAL DISTANCE!
NY—CLOSED!
HOMELESS UP!
EVERYONE UNEMPLOYED!
NY–9 BILLION IN DEPT!
CRIMANALS LOOSE!
MURDERS & CRIMES UP!
PLACES OF WORSHIP CLOSED!
OUR CONSTIUTION & BILL OF RIGHTS—IGNORED!!!
DEFAMATION OF VETERANS!
DEFAMATION OF FAMILIES!
DEFAMATION OF SENIOR CITIZENS!

You “wonder” why many who choose to RESPECT our neighboorhood WHO respectfully grew up here and continues to raise families here are so upset!!!
20-30 years ago the above mentioned was NOT NORMAL in ASTORIA!!!
BUT…you saw an oportunity
to increasce your GREED at the expense of those NOT in your tax bracket. If we happened to walk passed your neighborhood , We were told to go back to Queens…
I’ve read even California elite the media coin the Valley didn’t like the poorer folk. I unfortunatly experienced it for myself when I spent my senior year in a prodigious
Private School that only “allowed” me to attend becausd I had won an award in literature! The ones with wealth ONLY associate with those that make themselves look and feel important! The ones that move here are no different than those I had the unfortuante experience of attending school with!

Your attitudes of condenscing and elitism will never be welcomed in this neighborhood. You who took home-health jobs to fund your dreams of being an actor while living many, living rent free on the elderly you managed to swindled then killed while being paid by healthcare… Then rediculed the “boomers” “karens” and then take offence when labled “millenial”!
You who took pictures of peoples houses then harrased them to sell! To create you condo dystopia that you refuse to allow to be affordable cause you wish not to offer housing to those you force out!

If anyone did to you what you did to us…You have your lawyers take care of it or have you CEO parents handle it for you!
Years ago if you were adult enough to have your own apartment/house you supported it by yourself. Now parents are coming from other states to sign the ADULT childs lease…
Cut the apron strings already and take responsibilites for your actions!

It’s dispicable that politions have to enforce hygine (wash your hands, clean your room, your sick stay home) like they are our parents because you refuse to grow up! Your forever Spring Break–Staycations caused this mess!

Thankyou for taking my blood pressure into account, venting the TRUTH does wonders for ones health!
Oh and your smoking is why your boomer remover covid-19 turned on the “young” ….if you smoke (anything) your lead lungs can’t protect you from diseases thus erraticating your immune system….😂

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Anonymous

It has nothing to do with wether or not keyfood is good or not. The government is trying to force the landlord to keep them. Landlords work hard and pay taxes to be able to do whatever they want with their property but the government always knows what’s best. Idiots deblasio and Cuomo and the rest of the liberals have ruined this city.

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Trump censored a private company via executive order

Twitter hurt his feelings.

You’re against that right? You’d never the government force a private business like that?

What a sad hypocrite.

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Sara Ross

You have a lot of long time residents and this Key Food is very convenient. Yes there is room for improvement, but there always is in any business. I shop at the Key Food on Main Street/Union Turnpike (I live in Forest Hills, but meet a friend once a month in Astoria and shop there from time to time) and it was bought by people from the Dominican Republic and you walk around the store and everybody is speaking spanish. I don’t mind it, but to me it’s rude, especially since your paycheck is for american dollars. It’s up to management to manage each store and if the Key Food in Astoria is that bad, somebody has to let the manager know that he/she will lose business if changes aren’t made and no employee should be treated like garbage.

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Anonymous

FOR THE RECORD,SPEAKING FOR MY FELLOW EMPLOYEES AT KEYFOOD WE DID NOT RECIEVE HAZARDOUS PAY. WE GOT A B.S. 10% INCREASE FOR A TEMPORARY FEW WEEKS FOR OUR “HARD WORK”. THE COMPANY DOESNT CARE FOR US AFTER ALL WE DID FOR THEM DURING THIS PANDEMIC THEY COULDNT EVEN OFFER US “PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT” WE ONLY HAD MASKS DONATED FROM OUR GREAT CUSTOMERS IF NOT YOU HAD TO WEAR THE SAME DIRTY ONE FROM HOME IF YOU HAD LUCK EVEN FINDING ONE AT A STORE. MANDELLS MISTREAT US AND THE MANAGERS JUST COVER IT UP FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR OWN JOB.THEY ARE NOT GOING TO EXTEND ANYTHING IF THEY CANT EVEN GIVE US MORE THEN 10% FOR ALL WE DONE BEFORE AND DURING THESE TIMES.MAY EVERYBODY REMAIN SAFE!

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Wow, what a horrible grocery store

I’m sorry they treated you that way. Reason number 113 not to shop at horrible Key Food.

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anon

A socialite millenial who beat out the locals for a job that she doesn’t need can SHUT UP NOW!!! We don’t need to hear you whining that your not making enough $$$ you just want to loose your job to get some of the Unemployment cash that’s going around!!! But that is going out of style cause we’re 9 billion in the hole broke! You better appreciate the job you have when there is NO guarantee that there will be other employment elsewhere!!! Your one voice does not give you the right to take other employees jobs from them!!! If you don’t like how thing are done talk to the union! That’s what their for!

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G

All these new locals have such an opinion of what they want considering most of them are renters …stop your moaning… I was born and raised in Astoria and it was nice with all the smaller stores … now u want all these big box stores that crap up the neighborhood… and as soon as they officials say u don’t have to pa rent even though u getting nice unemployment checks … u like the govt sometimes when it suits u…

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J

I’m an owner of our residence in Ditmars, and my husband and I are very excited about the Target. Besides, just because some residents live in the area longer (be it 40 years or all their lives), it doesn’t mean their opinions matter more than residents who recently moved in the neighborhood. I heard many people welcoming the Target – somehow just because Target is a big corporate, it rhymes with some of the politicians’ hunt for things to attack to make their names heard.

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Anon

You want Trader Joes/ Whole Foods/ Target….TAKE A TRAIN!!! Those stores look down on NORMAL poor peolpe and are EXPENSIVE!!! I went to a Trader’s Joes rich people’s junk that costs too much and tastes like mud! You can afford to live on the upper side with your favorite side stores that has prices that are more about showing off than freshness. I’ve had “socialites” tell me it’s more expensive cause it’s better “QUALITY”! NOT!!! Stop trying to force born Astorians and people who have roots here for more than over half a century how to live! You can afford to live ANYWHERE, we can not! You either learn to live as we do, take a train to shop where you like or You can just TAKE A HIKE!!! Your unsanitary ways caused CoVid-19, your hoarding caused families to suffer, these PEOPLE serve you for your beer runs or whatever it is you know how to cook, have the RIGHT to keep THEIR jobs afford their homes and provide for their families while dealing with your condescending attitudes and hygiene problems! Like how you CoVid-19 carriers were still out shopping instead of being locked up in a hospital. If sick people was in a hospital would this pandemic have gotten out of hand??? Grow up! Like it or LEAVE! “the Barney Brats” “Generation Diapers” can all not hit the thumbs down button!

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Anonymous

Honestly, Trader Joe’s is cheaper, if not similar in price, than this keyfood and much better quality.

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Anon

No…Trader Joe’s is stuck up!!! And I don’t need not want comments from a socialite who just move here!
You want Trader’s Joe set your GPS to:
Trader Joe’s 72Nd & Broadway (542)
2073 Broadway
New York, NY 10023 US
212-799-0028
View Store Details for 2073 Broadway
Trader Joe’s Chelsea (543)
675 6th Ave
New York, NY 10010 US
212-255-2106
View Store Details for 675 6th Ave
Trader Joe’s East Village (546)
436 East 14th St
New York, NY 10009 US
212-777-9412
View Store Details for 436 East 14th St
Trader Joe’s Essex Crossing (538)
400 Grand St. (Cellar)
New York, NY 10002 US
212-477-8340
View Store Details for 400 Grand St. (Cellar)
Trader Joe’s New York – Murray Hill (544)
200 E 32nd St
New York, NY 10016 US
212-889-3279
View Store Details for 200 E 32nd St
Trader Joe’s Soho (539)
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013 US
212-691-2721
View Store Details for 233 Spring Street
Trader Joe’s Union Square – Grocery Store (540)
142 E 14th St
New York, NY 10003 US
212-529-4612
View Store Details for 142 E 14th St
Trader Joe’s Union Square – Wine Store (541)
138 E 14th St
New York, NY 10003 US
212-529-6326
View Store Details for 138 E 14th St
Trader Joe’s Upper West Side (545)
670 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10025 US
212-678-1680
Take a train or see if they’ll deliver it to you!
“So sorry” to disappoint but your in QUEENS…NOT MANHATTAN!!! Live like we do or LEAVE it’s not rocket science!🚀🚀🚀

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Anonymous

Well, that’s your opinion/preference and I respect that. It’s amazing how you can feel so entitled to ask people to leave the neighborhood just because they think Trader Joe’s is better than this Key Food.

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Anon

“ENTILED” that’s the pot calling the kettle black….🇺🇸

Gg

Build something useful to the local community. Went for a walk today on ditmars and there were so many drunk people because of all the bars and restaurants selling drinks and people hanging out on the sidewalks. I felt like i was walking through an alcohol festival.

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anon

Yeah build something we can all use…like a one-way rocket back California for all you whiny liberatards! As for the drunks there your own peeps who had one too many! Don’t worry Your liege Mayor DeBlasio has sent the cops out to break up your beer run sidewalk parties while you drunks try to do a hookup in the street. Take to your sleazy clubs when they open or IF they open. OR just go back west. The west is open WE ARE NOT! Still trying to clean up Your messes!

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Pat Macnamara

Hundreds of thousands of jobs lost due to the pandemic, but useless bureaucrats are concerned about a store that sells expired produce, treats its employees like trash, and price gouges. They put their “life on the line”. Please stop with the hyperbole. Enough already. The curve has been flattened open up the goddamn city

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Highest unemployment EVER under Trump

Great point Pat Macnamaracist, Trump’s delayed pandemic response caused record unemployment.

>They put their “life on the line”. Please stop with the hyperbole.

These are the people that enable you to buy food…risking their lives to do so (there’s a deadly pandemic BTW). You’re ridiculing them. Disgusting.

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anon

Pat stop sounding like a two face…sometimes you sound like your for queens now you sound like a liberatard. If you don’t like Astoria their are other places to live. I’m tried people chancing my neighbors I grew up with out of their own homes to live like other people want them to!!! Old folks depend on Key Food, they are not going to die off faster because you the like want things done your way! IF the employees have a problem they should talk to the union. IF you have a problem their is the Attorney General who can investigate if what you say hold merit and can fix Key Food to be fare without taking Astoria locals for granted! The City will open up without cursing out GOD!!! Hatred and Angry will just give you high blood pressure! Its take longer cause the children (millenials and generation z) are congregating on sidewalks freaking out the Democrats at odds with each other (Cuomo & DeBlasio) who keep pausing us for them. Read the other articles in the Astoria Post to understand….

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Anonymous

Isn’t it funny that there were no “Pro Key Food” comments on this site? Think our representatives are out of touch?

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Anson Rivera

Key Food is a corrupt franchise that abuses it’s employees. The so-called “union”support and always back management. This article showcase the one-sided argument by paid spokespeople a.k.a. our “legislators” , they want you to believe that losing this store will lose local jobs; it will not. Key Food is a large corporation, the employees can relocate to the other stores. It’s about time for this overpriced, pile of crap supermarket to go out of business, and let better, more affordable supermarket to move in.

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anonymous

I don’t get the hate. Key Food is awesome! Of course there is room for improvement like all places, but the location is convenient if you live in the vicinity. If Key Food closes, where is the nearest supermarket??

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Anonymous

Unacceptable government overreach on a private land owner. If there was a request to change zoning or get a variance maybe the involvement wouldn’t see so egregious. It sickens me to hear this story. Jenel time to show these clowns the real resistance!! Don’t even give this ridiculous letter a response. Develop “as of right” as you wish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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No more KeyFood

I honestly hate shopping at KeyFood, I understand that there would be job loses. However, there would also be way more jobs available to people once they build more commercial space.

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Anonymous

I rather have the Target that’s coming than that tiny, old Keyfood. There are too many Keyfood stores in Astoria anyway – they own Food Emporium too. In an election year, politicians have to find a self-serving cause to rally around for publicity. Gianaris seems to be against all forward progress. I’m for the Garbageman.

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JM

we need more trader joes in Astoria!
hope they close overpriced outdated key foods who has mob ties

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Concerned Citizen

Let Key Food go. The merchandise is overpriced and the fruits and vegetables are the worst quality. Organic Valley milk – $6.79 at Key Food, $5.99 at Whole Foods. Stop holding Astoria back and let us have a decent supermarket like Trader Joe or Whole Foods. The only reason our politicians support Key Food is because their Union supports them. Stop playing politics with our money, now more than ever, we can use a supermarket that helps us save some money.

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Dennis

If you want to do something specific with that property, buy that property. Otherwise, no one cares what you think.

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