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union sq whole foods and trader joe's -- best and worst times

Just moved to the Union Square area (from Boston) and spent more of my Saturday night than initially anticipated waiting in line at my local Whole Foods. I only found myself at WF because I couldn't stomach the line down the street at Trader Joe's.

As I understand it, these stores are always busy. But, are there times that are better (manageable) or worse (avoid at all costs)?

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Trader Joe's
142 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

Whole Foods
40 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Trader Joes 14th St- when is it not a madhouse?
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588501

    Basically around 9am or 9pm seems to be the consensus, and mid-week is best, apparently. I avoid TJs on the weekends and after 3ish at all costs. You're competing with a LOT of college students for cheap stuff then.

    Least crowded Whole Foods in Manhattan?
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/639781

    Don't go to Whole Foods during meal time, ever! When did you go on Saturday night? I like to go to the Bowery one at like 10pm, where there's rarely a line, but that's one of the less busy WF stores overall. Union Square Whole Foods always has some short line but seems OK on weekday mornings, though.

    1. the best day to go to Trader Joe's + Whole Foods is the day after all the NYU kids leave at the end of the semester. The lines are always long and slow, aisles crowded. I hate both those stores.

      Travel to the WF on Houston/Bowery, then take the 3rd Ave. bus (right on the corner) back. Huge store.

      1. I went there around 9:30am Friday and waited 2 minutes.

        If you're uptown, get a car pool going with a couple of folks via zipcar or mint and go to the one in Scarsdale. Way less crowded, buy as much as you want without carrying in the subway.

        1. I was at Trader Joe's yesterday (Saturday) at 10AM and there was no line.

          1. The Whole Foods in Tribeca is at least three times larger than the one in Union Square, and is rarely crowded. I think that's partly due to the way it is laid out. Shopping there is truly a pleasure, any time of day or week.

            Trader Joe's is always a madhouse. I have never been there REALLY early or late, as I don't live nearby, but perhaps those times would work better. I'm ready to abandon the TJ's in Manhattan at all, and use a Zipcar to get to Paramus.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChefJune

              Brooklyn TJ's very convenient to the IRT #2 or #3 lines. I would just as soon go to the Atlantic Avenue location than fight the crowds at Union Square. Hopefully, this is only a temporary measure until the UWS location opens ...

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643168