July 29, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Council Member Costa Constantinides has said that the expected closure of two supermarkets in northern Astoria will have a devastating impact on local residents this fall.
Constantinides said that the impending closure of Key Food, located at 22-15 31st St., and Best Market, located at 19-30 37th St., will make it harder for residents to access food.
Both stores plan to shut down in the coming weeks.
The lawmaker said the closures are particularly worrying given that some experts believe a second wave of the coronavirus might hit the city.
“The imminent closure of these two stores will deal a serious blow to northern Astoria,” Constantinides said in a statement Monday.
“More than ever Astoria residents deserve close access to food, especially as the demands for more meals at home remains,” Constantinides said.
Key Food is set to shutter permanently at the end of October after negotiations between Man-Dell Food Stores, which owns the Key Food franchise, and the site’s landlord, Jenel Real Estate, appear to have failed. Man-Dell was looking to extend its lease at the site which comes to an end on Oct 31.
The Queens Post has reached out to Jenel several times but the company has yet to respond.
Constantinides, along with several other elected officials, tried in vain to bring both parties to the table to find a solution. Up to 150 Key Food employees will be laid off.
The building that Key Food currently occupies is expected to be knocked down to make way for a new commercial development that will house a Target store and other retailers.
Best Market is being transformed into a Lidl. Lidl is a German international discount supermarket chain.
The new Lidl store is expected to open early next year, according to Newsday.
Constantinides said that the closures will make it harder for residents to access quality and nutritious food at a time when food insecurity has skyrocketed.
Up to 1 million New Yorkers were going hungry before the pandemic and that number has now doubled, he said, citing city officials.
“No one should ever go hungry,” Constantinides said, before adding that “the long lines to get into grocery stores during the peak this spring might only get longer with the loss of Key Food and temporary closure of Best Market.”
“What we’re experiencing in northern Astoria is a microcosm of an issue all across this city,” he said.
Constantinides said that his office is committed to working with the city, our grocery store unions, and the community to make sure western Queens has access to fulfilling food and jobs.
I went to Best Market (the one mentioned in this article) this morning (Saturday, August 1) and the store is closed for good. It has signs saying that Lidl is coming.
Update – Best Market is closed – that was a fast “couple of months”
Two major supermarkets closing in Astoria.Well Mr.Costa you closed Astoria Park Shore Blvd. to seniors who cannot bike or walk to the park. All of us would drive and park and spend a few hours together or maybe even play bocci.People would take pics with their children with our classic cars on Shore Blvd.I contacted Astoria Park Alliance and they agreed and asked that Shore Blvd. be opened till 7pm instead of 9pm.But no they closed Shore Blvd.So in our Golden Years those of us who were born, raised,retired and still live in Astoria have seen our quality of life diminish every day.So I’m not surprised that 2 super markets are closing.When was the last time you took a walk down Steinway street.I have never ever seen so many stores out of business in all my years here.I remember when people from Brooklyn would come and shop on Steinway street.I do hope they reopen another super market where Key Food is and not just a Targets.But in this town money talks not the voice of the People.I guess your effort to leave Key Food open wasn’t good enough.Maybe it’s time for a change.Not My Astoria Anymore.
It seems like a lost cause currently for Key Food at the current location, but has Constantinides attempted to help them relocate. There is currently a large (former supermarket) space on 31st towards 21st Ave next to CVS that has been unoccupied for almost a year. They could even work with the next store furniture store that never did good business to possibly relocate to many of the abandoned business space either on 31st or Ditmars and make the new supermarket even larger. The locations also come with large basement space for storing stock.
Key food was a great location, right at the train station and connected to the municipal parking lot. Hate to see it go. Astoria is not the same place I grew up in. 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were the best. I’m in Florida right now and from what I read in the papers and see on the news I’m not sure if it’s worth moving back to !!
Stay in Fla Grorge.Im retired and still in Astoria.I remember when Key Food was A bowling ally lol.Crime is up,Steinway street stores out of business,now super markets,even AP shore Blvd is closed.Amazon vans everywhere.Not my Astoria anymore. Fla is where it’s at.
Time to move to Canada
Best market will be closed for a minimum of 5 months. Lidl is a completely different type of market.
Lidl, Aldi, and Trader Joes are all the same company. The stores sell junk.
Lidl, Aldi, and Trader Joes are all the same company. They sell less than quality food.
Wake up and smell the coffee, Key Food sucks! Prices are high and quality is poor. Red bell peppers $5.99 per pound and rotten, Organic Valley milk $6.49 per gallon, more than anywhere in the city. I actually live in the neighborhood and shop there so I know what I’m talking about.
The only reason you support these guys is for your own political agenda, they are a union shop and they help keep you in office. Your constituents are wise to you.
Typical politician manipulation – wanting to make people feel the sky is coming down and only they are there to protect them
Why don”t they open an outdoor market in the parking lot behind Key Food while construction is taking place inside. Or at least open a food bank so people will not go hungry.
This is horrible. Target coming to Astoria will ruin the neighborhood. 31st is already crowded and very little parking. What about all the other store fronts. All that landlord wants is money they don’t actually care about the neighborhood. At this point I feel like I have to sell my house and move to a better neighborhood.
Not a serious blow. People will simply have to order online. rents skyrocketed and the middle class has been forced out of the area. Now two crappy supermarkets are leaving and it is the end of the world. Pre pandemic Steinway street was a ghost town.
How does Best Market transforming into the Lidl supermarket qualify as a closing?
What do you consider a the 6-8 months without a supermarket?
Best Market has actually started selling their fixtures via bid process.