Councilman Lew Fidler slammed an article suggesting that Walmart replace the soon-to-shutter Pathmark on Nostrand Avenue as “stupid,” and praised NYPD efforts to catch the murderous Maksim Gelman, during remarks to Community Board 15 last Tuesday.
The board meeting took place the day after Fidler – alongside Congressman Anthony Weiner, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, and others – held a press conference in front of the Pathmark at 3785 Nostrand Avenue, where the team announced they sent letters to a number of supermarket chains urging them to consider the location.
One media chain, Brooklyn Paper/Courier-Life, sought to stoke community outrage by suggesting that neighbors want a Walmart more than anything else, and that the politicians had purposely overlooked the controversial big box retailer in their letter writing campaign.
The councilman dismissed the article’s claims, though.
“It was all ‘Oh, they didn’t ask Walmart.’ I can’t think of anything, quite frankly, stupider,” Fidler said. “I wouldn’t waste the taxpayer’s stamp writing to them to ask if I want them here.”
He once again stressed the importance of bringing in another supermarket to that location, not just to ease the burden on residents and seniors nearby, but also to fill their role as an anchor tenant that brings business to neighboring storefronts.
“I want you to picture for a second what Nostrand Avenue would look like if that Pathmark was gone,” he said. “The vacancies there would’ve been in all the stores in that strip mall, up and down between Y and Z, and what that would’ve done to the entire commercial strip farther up Nostrand and farther down Nostrand, and what effect that has on the commerce and our property values.”
The challenge of the location, though, is that the spot has a much smaller footprint needed for a modern supermarket. But he and his colleagues are making the case to operators that the quality of clientele more than makes up for the lack of space.
“We need a supermarket,” he said. “The disposable income in our community justifies a supermarket.”
Aside from the Nostrand Avenue Pathmark, Fidler also thanked residents for coming to the City Council’s Southern Brooklyn Blizzard Response Hearing, and praised the police for their work in hunting down Maksim Gelman, a Sheepshead Bay resident who went on a 28-hour killing spree earlier this month.
“It would’ve been a wonderful thing had Mr. Gelman been stopped in the morning before he’d been able to harm anyone else. But I will tell you the police reaction – the speed and the magnitude of the response – showed a real caring for this neighborhood,” he said. “[I saw] a stream that seemed never to end of police cars coming from Manhattan to our community to help try and hunt him down. Quite frankly, I want to thank them for that.”