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Mayor Bloomberg and the president of Brooklyn, Marty Markowitz, are expected in Red Hook Brooklyn this morning to cut the ribbon at the opening of the long-awaited Fairway supermarket there, and let us join them in welcoming a wonderful development. Like the new Apple Store at the G.M. Building and the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, the new Fairway is an example of the way private enterprise and an openness to change keeps New York a vital and dynamic city.
A news story in our columns last week quoted some skeptical Brooklynites, adherents of the Park Slope food co-op or Fresh Direct, as Fairway skeptics. Having endured the crowded aisles of the chain’s Upper West Side location, let us say that we started out as skeptics, too. But pushing a cart through the aisles of the Fairway on Friday, we were bowled over by the selection, the space, the size, and the spectacular waterfront views. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this store makes the Whole Foods in Union Square look like a corner grocery.
The gentrification of Brooklyn is one of the great economic success stories of the Bloomberg and Giuliani years. It is the product, though, not only of good government but of thousands of homeowners and entrepreneurs and families putting private capital at risk. Fairway’s co-owner, Howard Glickberg, is reportedly the grandson of Fairway’s original Manhattan founder, and in opening this store he and his partners surmounted an extortion attempt that put a City Council member, Angel Rodriguez, in prison. On Friday, the customers included city firemen, Orthodox Jews drawn to the selection of kosher and Israeli products, and Brooklyn families of all colors. Now Red Hook will be known not only for its housing projects but for a supermarket that sets a new standard for the city.