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BY SAM SPOKONY | Three weeks after the closure of the 30-year-old Pathmark supermarket on Cherry St. — an affordable food source that was a lifeline for thousands of low-income and elderly residents of the Two Bridges neighborhood — it appears that the national chain store is still interested in maintaining a Lower East Side presence.
Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, traveled with several associates to the Montvale, N.J., corporate headquarters of A&P (which owns Pathmark) on Monday, to meet with A&P C.E.O. Sam Martin.
In an interview the next day, Papa told this newspaper that Martin and his team were “very enthusiastic” about collaborating with community leaders, with the ultimate goal of finding ways to allow Two Bridges residents to keep shopping for Pathmark groceries.
“I have no reason to doubt their sincerity, or their interest in staying connected to the Lower East Side community,” Papa said.
Martin could not be reached for comment by press time.
Specifically, Papa explained that he and Martin discussed the possibility of an Internet shopping plan, through which Two Bridges residents could buy groceries online and have them delivered from other Pathmark supermarkets, such as those in Harlem or Gowanus.
But Martin doubted the feasibility of a Two Bridges-based suggestion to place a smaller supermarket within the previous Pathmark pharmacy building on Cherry St., according to Papa.
In any case, the Two Bridges leader stressed that Monday’s meeting was a very positive first step, and noted that the discussion ended with an agreement that both sides would continue to convene in the coming months.
“They took the time to understand us,” said a clearly appreciative Papa, who has taken the lead on this issue ever since A&P announced the sale of its lease on the 227 Cherry St. lot to a developer in September. “They trust us now and, to some degree, we trust them.”