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Whole Foods & TJ’s
“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” Well, that may not be true for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which have both expanded in the big city, but could they do so in the same retail space?
It sounds unlikely, but Luis Vazquez — 18 years selling real estate, eight years living in the Financial District and four years running the FiDi Fan Page on Facebook — thinks so. For now, just Whole Foods seems like a surer bet.
The retail space in question is what once was 1 Chase Manhattan and is now 28 Liberty St. Fosun, the Chinese company that bought it, is looking to revamp the space beneath the landmarked tower and plaza. Vazquez says that ultimately 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space will be up for grabs.
“They are going to need a retailer to drive people to that site,” he told us by phone.
Vazquez said Whole Foods is not “confirmed, confirmed” but he hears from sources they are close to inking a deal. But so is, apparently, Trader Joe’s.
“I think there is room for both — easily,” he said.
Thanks, Mr. Popik
We here at UnderCover are honored that Barry Popik, the man the Wall Street Journal called “the restless genius of American etymology,” has just credited Downtown Express with coining the phrase “Vesey Squeezey” to describe the pedestrian crush of World Trade Center area commuters and residents on Vesey St.
Popik, on his New York City blog noted last week that our 2014 article coined the phrase, which was later used by the Journal and USA Today.
As we’ve said before, we’re sure our lexicon fame was helped immensely by Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson who immediately embraced our phrase and used it in her push to open up more space on the street.
Revival of ‘Americas’
Raise your hand if you call Sixth Ave. by its legal, lawful name Avenue of the Americas. Right, no hands — exactly what we thought.
Many New Yorkers have always called it Sixth Ave. despite the best efforts of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the City Council, who in 1945 officially named it Avenue of the Americas. It was supposedly to honor “pan-American ideals and principles” — or at least that’s what Wikipedia says. In the 1980s, even the Dept. of Transportation capitulated and put back Sixth Ave. signs, but letting the “Americas” name languish for tourists, we suppose.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and the official and unofficial name of the avenue became important for Tribeca developer DDG. Despite community opposition, DDG will build high-end condos on the irregularly shaped lots at 100 Franklin St. The two buildings — one six, the other eight stories tall whose entrances will be on Sixth Ave. — need addresses and so a trip to the Manhattan borough president’s office of topographical services took place.
There, the developer learned that “basically, there’s been this historical oversight where this little one block stretch of Sixth Ave. was never actually renamed into Avenue of the Americas,” Zulekha Inayat, development manager for DDG, told Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee on Sept. 9, seemingly unaware of the decades of rejection the street name has suffered.
Hector Rivera, of the topographical bureau, explained to UnderCover by phone that the Avenues omission in Tribeca happened because the city used a map from April 17, 1929, which had the street going to White St. In reality, the city should have used an amended map from Sept. 26, 1929 that had it going to Franklin St.