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Mar 10, 2011 04:12 PM

My love/hate relationship with Fairway

I love them passionately. We all do, and you already know why. It;s all about the balsamic vinegar, the baguette, the fresh fish, the 57,000 varieties of cheese. They even have 57,000 varieties of kosher cheese.

What I hate is the fruit and vegetable situation. Why can't they just throw stuff out as it goes limp. Why do i have to sotr through the bins, or lift off the sad, shriveled zucchini to uncover the fresh ones. The other day I reached into the jicama and they were slimy.

Often, the vegetables are wonderful. But not always. Admittedly, not many grocers can do a vegetable department properly. But it can be done, and I wish Fairway would make the effort.

Also, I wish I could buy a peach, tomato or pear at Fairway, and have it delivered intact. This too is possible. Even if you carry it home, it gets squished.

In italy they sell you completely ripe persimmons in cases that are sort of like large egg cartons. You get home and they are perfect, unbruised. I dream of Italy, but live with Fairway.

Fairway Market
2127 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

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  1. I dream of Italy, but live with Fairway.
    and some of us who no longer live near Fairway, dream of Fairway ;)

    in my experience the produce quality varied with location - the stuff out in Jersey at the Paramus store was usually quite good...much better than the pathetic displays at the Harlem & UWS stores.

    1. I was at Fairway 2 weeks ago and they did not have any zucchini.
      I prefer to go to Westside Market 2 blocks north on Broadway.
      Excellent produce. Less hectic. Cleaner store.
      And a wonderful cheese dept.

      Westside Market
      2171 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

      2 Replies
      1. re: pbjluver

        |less hectic

        isn't this what makes Fairway great? i couldn't imagine food shopping in another market. you have to be ready to fight for your food. it's always an experience.

        1. re: coasts

          That's the main reason I don't go here as much as I used to. It's the only market where another customer accosted me with a racial remark. I'm a native New Yorker, but some "experience"--even in my beloved city--I can do without.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. funny, I find the produce particularly good and never have to sort past limp or slimy stuff... at the UWS store. I get to the checkout and put things on the counter in the right order so they get packed to my liking and if not I rearrange right outside. If they used the egg cases I'm sure we'd complain about the costs and enviro impacts.

          People in other neighborhoods have Food Emporia and Dag's or maybe Whole Wallet. They might dream of Fairway's produce quality in the first cases or its prices in the second

          1. Limp vegetables are hardly my first problem.

            Not when I am getting rammed by old ladies with pushcarts, stuck dodging traffic while I wait 5 minutes for an elevator to take me up to organics, sidelined into a display case to let through families with feral children running through the aisles keeping me from the solitary jar of Branston pickle I want. If you are ever unlucky enough to come after work when the bread is running low, you'd be cover your ankles lest a renegade bubbe take out your Achilles heel before you can get the last babka. I have literally emerged wounded from shopping at Fairway, but never could complain about the quality of my produce.

            6 Replies
            1. re: JungMann

              tell it, JungMann.

              the horrible competitive sport that is shopping at fairway totally brings out the misanthrope in me. that, and the wacky organizational scheme, with the same product located in three different locations so that you can never compare ingredients/prices. and at the harlem store, it feels to me like they're always changing the layout. after 5+ years shopping there, i still always struggle to find things.

              and yet, the love side of the pendulum...the cheese selection, the organics, and the yogurt selection are so great.

              1. re: rose water

                Fairway is the type of place that gives New Yorkers a bad name. It was where I finally lost my Midwestern nice and became a New Yorker and got in a verbal altercation with a shopper because of how insulting and demeaning they were to an employee. I've gotten used to most of the quirks of the store and its incomparable selection, but if there were a supermarket anywhere else in the city that rivalled Fairway's price and breadth, I would be happy to never deal with the teeming mass of inhumanity that generally skulks there. I generally try to do my shopping elsewhere now that they're no longer my neighborhood store.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Oh please, the teeming mass of humanity is typical Upper Westies, generally in a rush, who know their way around, not even with their children much less letting their FERAL children wander far from the cart, who are usually friendly and nice to the staff (I have also let a person or two have it for being rude to the workers), though they do block the aisles with their carts that you can just push aside... my girlfriend has comented that i glide like oil through the store. The elevator comes at least every 2 minutes, there are stairs to the organics and the express checkout is under 3 minutes from the turn by the olive oil.

                  Fairway is a NY experience and part of its charm, not a place that gives us our bad name...

                  1. re: msny98

                    With you, msny98, 100%. I know my way around the UWS Fairway the way I know my way around my own kitchen. I prepare shopping lists according to where ingredients are located. That a similar product is in two different places makes perfect sense to me; imported here, domestic there. And if you don't know where to find something, or if that something even exists, ask any employee and if they don't know the answer they will bring to you someone who does. I sometimes, but not often, have to search through the produce to find the better stuff; ginger, shallots, and onions in particular. Been shopping there three or four times a week for more than thirty years. It's one of the reasons, and one of the more important ones, that I haven't moved in all those years..

              2. re: JungMann

                This made me laugh. (It also makes me want to visit so I can see for myself! The Tribeca Whole Foods sound positively docile compared to this.)

                1. re: JungMann

                  heh...i never take the elevator -- i push through the downstairs checkout line and then head up the stairs...and the second floor checkout line is much more mellow and orderly than downstairs...

                  my most amusing Fairway experience was when i returned from living in China and went to Fairway for the first times in about a year and thought "Wow, everyone here is polite and nice!"...which says more about China than Fairway :)