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UWS Trader Joe's Likely to Open Very Soon!

I wouldn't be surprised if the UWS Trader Joe's opens this week or next. Looking into the front door shows a perfectly ready wood paneled hallway leading down to an elevator. A sign on the wall inside announces TJ's to the UWS and TJ T-shirts have been added in the window. Lights are also on. Of course, it's possible that the bottom floor is in disarray but they have made major progress in the entryway.

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  1. I spoke with the construction workers and they said they will be done on Sept. 10!!!!

    23 Replies
    1. re: rkaene

      Thanks so much for the update!! I was hoping someone, who knew a specific date, would chime in. Of course, they are opening when I will be out of town!! I leave on Sept 9th for a week. Grrrr!

      1. re: nativeNYer

        Look on the bright side. The crazy traffic may have subsided somewhat by the time you return. (At least, that's what I'm hoping since I don't get back until the 20th.)

        1. re: JoanN

          I don't know when the opening is, just when the buliding should be done. Hope it is soon!! Have not seen any help wanted signs.

          1. re: rkaene

            right. i understand, but it does give us a better estimate. thanks! btw, they were taking applications earlier this month. A sign was up for just a couple of days.

              1. re: coasts

                NICE WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be back by then.

                1. re: coasts

                  SO, today is the BIG day! Is TJ's likely to do anything special for their grand opening day??

                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                    been thinking about it as well. i don't know but i'm stopping by for a very quick visit around 11am. i'll report back shortly thereafter. i may be able to stop in for a longer visit later this afternoon.

                    1. re: uwsgrazer

                      i received a flyer in the mail that says they're giving away free totes and a chance to win $50 in groceries. Ms. Coasts and I plan to stop by after work to see the ruckus.

                      1. re: coasts

                        I stopped by earlier today. Perhaps they gave away the bags earlier. I walked in to find one serious security guard directing people downstairs. No lines to get in and not too much of a crowd. No giveaways nor cheering/smiles at the door. Almost appeared as if this was not their first day.

                        The elevator takes customers down into the dairy section, followed by produce and free samples/return counter are on your right. Today's free sample was the mac and cheese, and they also had free coffee samples. Proceed straight for the typical check-out counters. Perhaps I did not take a close look but there seems to be fewer check-out counters here. I could be wrong because, since I did not make a purchase, I may have missed a larger check-out section. Lines were not at all crazy yet but it does have the potential for getting nuts unless they have a solid strategy in place.

                        Down another elevator to frozen foods, snacks, groceries, bread, etc. The aisles of the frozen food section (my favorite section) are very wide unlike the union square street store, probably double as wide.

                        Overall, the store is spaced at better here with more space and everything seems to have a circular layout rather than narrow aisles. They seem to have a far wider selection of items I've never seen (particularly in the frozen food section) as well as far more space to display a greater quantity of each item. The one potential bottleneck is in the produce section where one large display (of apples??) is in the middle of the aisles forcing people to walk around it. Since folks are heading to and from the one elevator and escalators in that location ( not to mention the folks who are browsing or who are avoiding the lines on the other side of the apples), it gets chaotic in that one space with too many folks (and their baby carriages and carts) attempting to head in all different directions. My guess is they'll quickly recognize this and alter the layout.

                        Employees are dressed in the typical Hawaiian shirts, everything is nicely labeled, cute signs on the walls but there was very little cheer in there. I did exit, though, to the sounds of steel drums at the entrance which weren't there when I entered. Very cute.

                        All in all, I'm glad they are here. I like the chicken dumplings in the red and clear packaging and the chocolate chip cookies (the small crispy ones and the small ones with lots of chips). Some of the Indian entrees (tikka masala and butter chicken) have also been good along with the frozen mac and cheese. As you can tell, I'm not a huge TJ shopper but I do have a couple of favorite items. Curious to hear what everyone's favorite items are as well as your general opinions. Hours are 8am-10pm. Later today, I'm gonna dart into Fairway to see how they are... well, FAIRING.

                        1. re: nativeNYer

                          Yes yes yes! I'm out of town now but will be back in the city later tonight and I'll be going shopping VERY soon.

                          Some of my faves: lemon curd, honey, maple syrup, wasabi mayo, mac & cheese, goat milk yogurt, Niman Ranch bacon, dark chocolate pistachio toffee, etc. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

                          1. re: nativeNYer

                            I stopped by a little after 10 a.m. today. I'm wondering if you actually went earlier (and before your original circa 11 a.m. planned time) because the steel drums were definitely being played when I went. Things were reasonably calm, though there was an air of excitement among at least some shoppers - or maybe I was just projecting! Anyway, there were plenty of friendly TJ workers on hand to help shoppers locate items. The lines were pretty long but were under control, again thanks to the TJ staff.

                            I'm pretty sure my friend I was with cited something like 30 checkout stations (or at least I think she said that was how high the highest numbered station went). I think we waited maybe 10-15 minutes to check out. Apparently, you needed to show a card that was sent in the mail or something to get a free bag, though the checkout guy was nice enough to comp me one :) They have a nice NY one with pictures of the NY skyline and the Brooklyn bridge

                            By the time we left some time a little after 11 a.m. the place was definitely getting filled up, somewhat uncomfortably so. Apparently they were managing / controlling the inflow at the street entrance (my friend noticed this, I wasn't really paying attention). Needless to say I am thrilled to have TJ's on the UWS! I bought three bags of stuff (frozen mangos, frozen dumplings (chicken & vegetables and the Thai? vegetarian ones), 5 pounds of apples, TJ organic O's cereal, among other things) and got out for 45 bucks. I was pleasantly surprised at the modest bill. I'm always surprised -- but on the upside -- at Fairway. By the way, the 5 lb "tote" of Gala apples for $5 was a great deal! I mean, that's half the going rate (or more) at most places!

                            Finally, I noticed in my bag after I got home a strip of yellow "premium" tickets, kind of like the kind you get to buy things at a county fair or something. Did anyone else get these? I have no idea what they are for, but I guess I will ask next time I visit.

                            1. re: uwsgrazer

                              I popped in at 7:30 and left almost immediately. The place was beyond max capacity. We'll try again later, possibly even later tonight.

                              1. re: uwsgrazer

                                I haven't yet had the chance to stop by yet, but look forward to it. It won't replace my major shopping trips, but some things I've found include: their cereals-for anyone that likes Kashi, try out their multigrain cereals, similar and much cheaper; pumpkin butter (in season); frozen fish (vacuum-packed); chipotle salsa; chicken burgers. I have not been as excited about their produce, but I prefer huge displays of whole fruits/veggies like Fairway.
                                Oh, and as re the tickets: I remember for a while they had a promotion like that at the Union Square store; I think they pulled one ticket a week and you got some amount off your groceries. They may have posted it in the store but my memory of it is kind of fuzzy.

                                1. re: orthorunner

                                  orthorunner's memory of the deal sounded alluring so I called TJ's for the details.

                                  Each week TJ's holds a drawing where they draw a ticket (or maybe more than one?). They post the winning number(s) in the store. Upon presentation of the winning ticket the holder receives a $25 TJ's gift certificate! (The numbers stay posted for about 30 or so days, she said.)

                                  Apparently, they give one ticket to each shopper who buys a reusable bag or brings his or her own (i.e., it's an incentive to encourage people to be environmentally-conscious). Curiously, I actually received a strip of about a dozen tickets, far more than I should have. Unclear whether this was an opening day bonus or simply an oversight on the part of the check-out person!

                                2. re: uwsgrazer

                                  uwsgrazer, I should have yelled out "Chowhound" b/c it looks like our paths must have crossed. I popped in around 11:15am. Perhaps the steel drummers were on break after the morning craziness but they were definitely there as I departed just 15 minutes later. I agree; I did see employees kindly helping customers.

                                  Glad to hear about the large # of check-outs as well as everyone's favorites. I'm also curious to hear about any new favorites since I did see lots of new items.

                                  Hmmmmm... I'm wondering where the cutoff point was for their mailers. Did any CHers receive a mailer who live near Columbus or even as far east as CPW but in the W70s? I guess I should check my garbage, : ) Less important for the free bag but would like to hear about any future sales/announcements.

                                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                                    I love TJ's and wish we had one closer than 40 minutes away! But it is worth the drive!! If you haven't heard or haven't ordered one yet, there is an Unofficial Guide to Trader Joe's! It is full of recipes using TJ ingredients and they are just delicious! You can friend them on Face Book and order it there. Yum, yum! My kids are nuts for the Orange Chicken and we love the toffee covered in dark chocolate and pistachios!

                                    1. re: uwsgrazer

                                      I'm a complete TJ novice. Popped into the Union Square store once, saw how crowded it was, and left. But the new TJ is on my way to Fairway so at just before noon today I decided to check it out.

                                      People may have been scared off by reports of how crowded it was because it seemed almost empty to me. There was a line for the cashiers, but not much of a one and it seemed to be moving very quickly. Yes 30 (maybe 29?) checkout stations, but at least three weren't staffed.

                                      I was a lot more impressed than I expected to be. A tin of McCann's Steel Cut Oats were a buck less than at Fairway. They had Empire Kosher chickens at the lowest price I've seen anywhere. And they had Australian rack of lamb for only a bit more than Costco.

                                      As I was going back up the escalator, I realized that in front of me was a TJ employee helping a woman carry her shopping bags to the curb to catch a cab. Don't think that's gonna be happening at Fairway any time soon.

                                      TJs isn't going to replace Fairway for me, but I suspect it's going to make more of a dent than I'd expected.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        I went to the new TJ's today as well and I'm posting my thoughts below. But I just wanted to respond to your post, JoanN, about Fairway. I shop at Fairway very early in the mornings and almost every week I do, in fact, see Fairway employees carrying bags out and hailing cabs for people or loading up their waiting cars. So that's not all that unusual in my experience. (Perhaps it is something that only happens during non-crazed hours such as when I shop in the morning.)

                            2. re: rkaene

                              Not only have I seen help wanted signs (they weren't up for very long), I saw a long line of people holding applications and seemingly waiting to be interviewed. This was maybe two, three, weeks ago. There were folding tables set up in what seemed to be a delivery bay on West 72nd just to the west of where the new BofA will be.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                So 72nd and what please? Still quite a ways from our friends' but better than now.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  right at Broadway...southwest corner.

                                  123 trains stop directly in front of the store, so access will be convenient for those not in the neighborhood.

                                  1. re: coasts

                                    Thanks. Our friends are at CPW and 101st. The first time we visited them we made a trip downtown to bring them some of our faves.

                      2. A cashier at the 24th & 6th Ave. TJ's told me last week that the 72nd staff is all hired and in the midst of training and the store will be open the mid of Sept.
                        The neighborhood competition Fairway has cleaned up their act a bit...totally new plastic shopping baskets + they have opened up the bakery area along with the dairy section.
                        Much easier to get around.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pbjluver

                          Yeah, Fairway even had someone greeting customers at the entrance today and handing them a *new* shopping basket!

                        2. Now that Trader Joe's has conquered NYC, we can now surrender the fact that Manhattan has become LA...

                          So happy i'm moving to London...

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

                          8 Replies
                            1. re: Simon

                              let us know how the jazz scene is...

                              1. re: Simon

                                Manhattan has become LA? As if!

                                Count me in as another one who's doing the happy dance - I've been waiting for the opening of UWS TJ's forever!

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  yeah, i was being overly grumpy and cynical and subjective: personally i associate TJ's w/ my previous life in LA, especially with my first year or so there when i was dirt poor and subsisted almost entirely on TJ's whole-grain macaroni&cheese and frozen kungpao chicken...

                                  So while for me, going to TJ's brings back too many nasty flashbacks of LA, i am happy if it makes people happy on UWS...(but, Manhattan has indeed become a lot more like LA in the past few years, but that's another topic :)

                                  1. re: Simon

                                    No problem - we all have one of those moments. I spent a few months wandering around in London and Northern England and have my share of nasty flashbacks, like working-class lowlife Brits grabbing at me and calling me racial slurs (of slanty-eyed variety) because I dared to be out late scantily dressed at Leicester Square...

                                    I personally think all three cities (NYC, LA, London) are fantastic, with or without TJ's!

                                    Now, a little less off-topic, I didn't even think about it at Union Square TJ's since I never bought more than a bagful of stuff there thinking about subway transfers and all, but will UWS TJ's deliver and how much is the fee, within the nabe?

                                    1. re: uwsister

                                      Not sure on the Union Sq delivery -- i never even went inside the one in UnSq when i lived there...(lived on Fourth Ave for seven years)...Whole Foods, however, delivers for free if it's over 100 dollars, or at least they were doing that last year...

                                      p.s. sorry that you were accosted by chavs while in London...was it a long time ago?...i was in Leicester Sq a couple days ago and there were lots of scantily dressed women of all races and creeds and the vibe was very polite, fun, safe...

                                      1. re: Simon

                                        Chavs, ha. Yeah, that they were. It was 2006 so no, not that long ago, but it was during World Cup shortly after England lost - you know those Brits. Unfortunately the months I spent in London were when I heard racial slurs hurled at me the most, which surprised me. London can be shockingly provincial at times.

                                        1. re: uwsister

                                          hmm, it's a new city for me, so maybe i'm in my "honeymoon-phase" with it...email me at maigonoinu@gmail.com if you want to message more about London, slurs, chavs, etc (as we've probably been trying the patience of the moderators by drifting this far off topic:)

                              2. Sign on the door said open Sept.20

                                1. Fairway=shakin' in their shoes. Don't get me wrong...I love(d) Fairway but (maybe?) only because I HAD to? Citarella is great if you want to pay more for convenience. West Side Market - just as crammed as Fairway but less people (which is a weird statement, I know.) Pioneer - not open on Sunday?!!? WTF?
                                  I, too, have noticed Fairway changing their layout, offering me a basket when I come in the store and various employees asking me if I needed help. Part of me is thankful and appreciative and the other part of me says, "a day late and a dollar short."
                                  All I know is I'll be at Trader Joe's opening week and I'll be very, very excited. Trader Joe's - don't let me down!!

                                  1. As a former westsider and now living west of the westside, I still miss Fairway with all of it's foibles. When I lived there they hadn't expanded yet and had no groceries, fish or meats, but what they had/have are wonderful fruits and vegetables (I still buy mine there during the fall/winter/spring) and a great deli counter. These are things that T.J.'s doesn't have (we have one in our town). Fairway also has far better and bigger selection of cheeses. Two very different stores. I still miss having Fairway in my neighborhood.

                                    1. I stopped by on my way home from work, walked in and directly out. Went back at 9:15 PM, much better but still 10 to 15 on the checkout line. Picked up a few things, I suspect they will get my pasta money, my frozen vegetables money, some of my nuts money (like their peanuts but not the tamari almonds), probably not my beef/chicken/fish money as I was not impressed with quality or my dairly money as there didn't appear to be a cost advantage against Fairway. I don't buy any frozen entrees or not many so the category where they are strongest, I don't shop. The produce was sorta crappy looking. If they want to suceed in that department they will have to ramp it up as the competition is very strong just 2 blocks north. I will probably stop in every 2 weeks or so for that and 9PM or after.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: msny98

                                        The apples I bought yesterday were well-priced and the (admittedly only) one I've eaten so far was tasty. If this is any indication of TJ's produce quality going forward I will be happy. My parents buy lots of produce from their local TJ's (another state), which I've tried and agree with them is quite good. Obviously, with fruit things can be hit or miss. While I've bought some very good fruit at Fairway I've also been disappointed of late on occasion. I'd love to see both TJ's and Fairway (and other vendors) provide high-quality produce. I figure you can never have too much fresh fruit and vegetables around - as a buyer, not seller ;-)

                                      2. I went today (Tues) at about 1 pm. I have only ever been in a Trader Joe's once - at USQ and I was decidedly not impressed then. That was a long time ago but I think this store is a lot nicer.

                                        The store wasn't too crowded though there did seem to be a lot of just milling about - I guess that's people still figuring out where things are and what they want to buy. I thought the store layout was pretty easily navigable and the sections were pretty clearly marked. (Side question - is that silly subway number/letter theme thing their hokey thing on purpose? I found that part of the decor/signage to be kinda silly.)

                                        I also thought the prices and such were clearly marked on everything I looked at. But there was one lady complaining to a worker about how there weren't any prices listed. Not sure what that was about. There was a sample area (coffee and salsa) but it was so mobbed that I didn't bother. Do people just hang out there and snack?

                                        About the products ... on the plus side -- I can't believe a pound of pasta (dried) was 99cents. Holy cow. If it tastes good, then I will certainly be back just for that alone. They also had some interesting breads/flatbreads/etc. I bought some flatbreads (2.49 I think which was fine). I bought some of their mozzarella (which I think is about the same price as Fairway) and it's tastes okay/good. So that's cool but I don't think I'd buy other cheese there since it's all prepackaged stuff. I thought the produce was very strange -- everything is packed up in plastic or bags. I wouldn't buy produce that way (I'm strictly a greenmarket person during the season and loose produce otherwise). They had bags of avocados that were a) smaller than any I've seen, and b) within the bag some were rock hard and some were quite mushy. Do you think it's supposed to be that way?

                                        There was a lot of frozen/processed/packaged food. I'm a from-scratch cooking person so I don't buy any of that. But I do think some of it looked interesting that I might give it a try if, say, I didn't have time to do all the cooking for a party or something like that.

                                        I don't eat meat, so I skipped that section and can't comment. I am also addicted to Fiber One cereal so I didn't look at their cereals. But maybe when I have time I'll go see if they have something comparable.

                                        As for the checkout - it was really easy. The employees were helpful in directing everyone (but not in a creepy way that I've read about on some other Trader Joe's threads here). There were a lot of checkout "lanes" open and though there was a line it moved quite quickly. The checkout person seemed so excited that I brought my own bag. That made me chuckle.

                                        As for the tickets -- I guess they've changed things since the opening day. The person told me that you get a ticket for each bag you bring and it is for a chance to win a $25 gift card. But you don't get to take the tickets. They have you write your name and phone number on the back of the ticket and they keep it.

                                        One other note ... little miss finnicky kitty pigged-out on the Trader Joe's "Tune For Cats" that I brought home (one can as a test). I can't believe how much she ate in one sitting.

                                        I will most certainly be back there and maybe even to do more browsing to see if there are any other products I would try. But it won't replace Fairway (not even close) and I am really not sure that they are in direct competition with each other (their products just seem so different). I don't think the TJ would even be a weekly stop for me but a once-every-couple-of-weeks to pick up, say, pasta and such.

                                        Anyway, it's good to have added choices and competition in the neighborhood. And people have all different tastes and ways of eating at home so if it fills another niche, that's all good.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: LNG212

                                          LNG - the 99 cent pasta is fine, but the Organic (but not whole wheat) pasta at $1.29 is excellent. It famously won a taste test against some of the $5 - $10 artisinal pasta. Texture is very good and the surface is a bit rough so it holds sauce

                                          taste test their cereals, I am now on Joe's O's.

                                          I agree on the pre-packaged, I don't cook or eat that way,.. I would never go near the pre marinated, frozen etc chickens/fish/beef. But I got some frozen un seasoned shrimp and some frozen "pesticide free" spinach etc as it is half or less the cost of real organics and I got a mac n cheese to try.

                                          The produce couldn't touch Fairway... IMHO

                                          1. re: msny98

                                            Helpful tip on the pasta - thanks.

                                            The organic high-fiber O's cereal is excellent, I think it's worth a try!

                                            1. re: msny98

                                              Thanks for the tip about the pasta. I'll have to try out the organic one too since that's still cheaper than the Barilla or DeCecco.

                                              I'll take a look at the cereal too. Perhaps the "high fiber O" is similar to Fiber One.

                                              Another exploring mission will be in order at some point.

                                              1. re: LNG212

                                                Here is the pasta contest.


                                                And it was the regular that won, not the organic... I like the organic one better for the texture and heartiness of it. certainly cheap enough to do a side by side for yourself.

                                                1. re: LNG212

                                                  The high-fiber O's are excellent; I find them similar to Kashi Heart-to-heart but without the touch of sweetness. You also may like their high-fiber "twig" cereals. I personally like the one with fruit and nuts, as it has some dried cranberries, etc thrown in. It is a touch sweet, but still retains the heartiness of cereals like fiber one. And they are so nice and cheap!

                                            2. I went this morning around 10ish. As a longtime shopper of the TJ on 14th St., I was really surprised and happy by how spacious this one is in comparison! It was almost luxurious--around that time, there were not many shoppers, so it was a most unusual feeling having all this space almost all to myself. The cashier said it starts getting "crazy crowded" around 1ish.

                                              It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the layout, but no big deal.

                                              Foodwise, it's pretty much what you would get from TJ downtown. I was surprised though by the price of a gallon of mike: $5.99, which is more than my local market, Costco, heck, even CVS!

                                              Overall, a welcome addition to the UWS.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: gloriousfood

                                                That's crazy! Unless it's some specially prepared milk or something it should be more like $3.99, tops. That's what I paid at Food Emporium just the other day. I wonder if TJ's pricing system has an incorrect price.

                                                1. re: gloriousfood

                                                  Shopping at TJ's was a delight when I was there a little after 12 Noon today. Not really crowded at all. I was once again amazed at how relatively modest the total bill was compared to my regular trips to Fairway, which already has quite good prices. As for milk, a one-gallon jug was listed as $3.29. Organic, on the other hand, was pricier at $5.99. So maybe it was mis-marked earlier, or maybe you actually bought organic milk the other day?