HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Help me quit Freshdirect

  • a

Last night for the third time I had to cancel an evening order because they hadn't shown up by 11:30. It may be because I live near the Queensborough bridge and I'm their last stop, but I'm finding them increasingly unreliable and frustrating. Plus their produce quality has deteriorated and their prices have risen.

However, I'm addicted to the convenience and there is a poor selection of food stores near me - 57th and 2nd. My boyfriend and I recently got a car and can drive anywhere that has easy parking. I was wondering about the Harlem Fairway - I haven't been there in years and I was curious about the quality and ease of parking. Also, are there other great, convenient food stores we could drive to and park at easily?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I shop at the Harlem Fairway on a weekly basis. I don't drive there, but it's extremely rare for their parking lot to be full. (Their parking lot has shifted due to construction, but it's still adjacent to the store.) Once you learn the store's layout, if you avoid peak times, it's a reasonably pleasant experience. High volume means high turnover, so the perishables are generally of good quality. Their prepared foods are lackluster, but still very affordable. Not as convenient as FreshDirect, but if you're not pressed for time, I recommend it.

    1. I've only been there a few times, including during peak Saturday afternoon shopping times, when parking was easy and close. I was very impressed by the variety, quality, and even the prices.

      1. in case ya didn't know, there's a newish Fairway in the OB, (in Brooklyn, iirc). I can't comment as I've never been, but there was plenty of posts about the store on the OB Board.

        Back when I had access to a car and lived on the UES, we used to shoot over the GWB to a huuuuge ShopRite in Jersey. Inconvient I know, but I do so love huge 'burb supermarkets and the prices were substantially less than my local stores.

        Ditto your sentiments on Fresh Distress. I just see where they've raised prices on some meat cuts by another few $$$/lb. oyyyy

        good luck

        1. Fairway Brooklyn is a good option. Opinions vary, but too me it is a Fairway.

          The other option is to drive up too Stew Leonards in Yonkers. A great place to go especially if you have a Costco card. The drive on a Saturday / Sunday morning should take no longer than 20 minutes.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ChrisZ

            I adore Stew Leonards. Not too far for me but it seems like a day trip for the person posting. The Harlem Fairway is a trek in itself even with a car.

            1. re: Uptownflavor

              I live in Battery Park and split my shopping between Brooklyn and the Costco/Stew Leonards. Saturday / Sunday morning is a 20 - 30 minute trip for me. Very Easy.

              1. re: ChrisZ

                Well, I am farther uptown and it is basically a straight shot and I would say that it take ME that long in a car so not too sure about your time guesstimation... but if you say you can make to Yonkers in 20 minutes, great! Like I said, it is an good day trip and I adore that store but it isn't a regular shopping trip for me when the Harlem Fairway is much closer.

            2. re: ChrisZ

              Do you need a costco card to shop at the Stew Leonard???

              1. re: coffee1004

                No, they are two separate companies and in two different locations. Stew's has a website. Do a google search to get the address.

            3. Considering your location and your car, you might want to consider the Costco in Queens, just north of Long Island City. It's fairly close to you, though getting there will take longer than coming home because of the exit/entrance design of the QB Bridge. But there is ample parking. They have very good produce at very good prices. We did a cost comparison with a local Fairway and it wasn't even close. In fact, we've tried other markets and keep bouncing back to Costco for price and quality. We've been noshing on delicious blueberries, cherries, and grapes for a couple of weeks now...

              1. In addition to the LIC Costco, the Wednesday Greenmarket at Dag Hammerskoldj Plaza (by the UN) is open year round. There's also a Sat. Greenmarket in LIC now, at 48th Ave and Vernon, just outside the Midtown Tunnel.

                1. Stew Leonard's in Yonkers is by no means a "day trip". It shouldn't be more than 40-45 minutes from you. Just take the FDR to the Deegan. It's very quick.

                  My biggest gripe with Stew's is their pricing on multiple - 2 for $3 or $1.59 for one. Buying in smaller qunatities will cost you more. It doesn't add a great deal, it's the principle.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: aunteejoy

                    Not talking travel time...I am talking about travel time, plus shopping time, plus the trip back. Not an hour trip by any means for groceries.

                    1. re: Uptownflavor

                      Oh but so much fun and worth the trip. Wish they'd open in the middle of Manhattan.

                      1. re: cheftamara

                        What's fun to some can be extremely annoying to others. I pass Stew's on my way back from the country every Sunday but just can't take the way the place is designed to keep you trapped and lost in a maze of talking farm animals for as long as they can keep you there. I just find the whole experience insulting.

                        I prefer Harlem Fairway, it's easy to park and easy to find your way around and much better than the one on the west side.

                        1. re: gypsy

                          LOL! So true about that maze. The first time we went my friend and I were going the wrong way and once you start off wrong there is no way to correct yourself but to go back to the front of the store and start from the beginning. I'd never seen anything like it before! You can't just go in a grab what you need and get out. Crazy!

                        2. re: cheftamara

                          Yes! It is...it is nice to get out of the city and of course it wouldn't even come close the same experience and quality of products that they offer "upstate" and in CT.

                    2. what about the greenmarket? it looks like there's one at
                      Dag Hammarskjold Plaza E 47 St & 2 Av all day wednesdays.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: rose water

                        Dag Hammerskjold is a pretty small market and I don't think even Union Square answers for the kind of broad spectrum of products Fresh Direct or Fairway provides. Farmers' markets are essential but so are other places.

                        1. re: dbird

                          sure, other places have important things to offer. but there's something really important to be said for fresh seasonal produce. i was at the harlem fairway last night and there was virtually no good fresh fruit to be found.

                          1. re: rose water

                            Yes, even the smallest of farmer's markets are more worthwile than any supermarket produce. What you get lasts for about 3 times as long. (Of course venders vary from market to market.)

                            1. re: Ida Red

                              I always buy produce at farmers markets, and often meat and fish too. But they don't sell water, cleaning supplies, lemons and a lot of other necessities. Fresh Direct does.

                      2. I'll vote for the Harlem Fairway too. Every time we rent a car, we end up there.


                        NYCnosh: http://nycnosh.com

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Nosher

                          Thanks so much for all the responses. We're going to check out the costco in Queens this Saturday morning. I mostly used Freshdirect for dry staples - paper towels, garbage bags, canned goods. I work near the Union Square Green market and try to get produce from there during the week.

                          1. re: Aimee

                            You will love prices and quality at Costco, especially for dry stuff. Make sure you have enough storage space in your apartment though - I think I buy my TP and paper towels only like twice a year if not less, but it's a pain to store at first. Another tip - I like shopping there on weeknights - weekends are crazy. Some people treat their shopping trips as family outings, so you have this massive columns of people with shopping carts, kids running and screaming around. The only great thing about weekend shopping is their product samplings.

                            If you need a suburban style supermarket, there is a huge Pathmark in Queens on Northern Blvd. like a min drive from the QB bridge.

                        2. You don't like the Food Emporium under the bridge? Their prices are as good as Fresh Direct on most things.

                          There are plenty of good stores in that area. For example, Roy's on 1st between 62nd and 63rd has some of the best fish in the city.