What’s Up with Pathmark?

By Saif Choudhury

Pathmark shut its doors last November, and residents of East Harlem are still suffering from the effects of their first neighborhood supermarket closing down. Though the 125th Street Pathmark was bought by Gary Barnett of Extell Development from Abyssinian Development Corp, no one is clear what Extell plans to do with what is now an empty shell.

But people in the community are speculating. Many believe will be converted into luxury condominiums. That wouldn’t be a shock: Barnett — who is known for buying up property from longtime owners — spent millions to buy a Pathmark at 250 South Street in lower Manhattan in 2013. Currently being converted into a 646-unit luxury residential tower, the demolition of that Pathmark created a storm of controversy.Protesters took to the streets last April to fight against how the new developments have deprived residents of affordable groceries.

Many other former Pathmark supermarkets have been converted to Key Food, Stop & Shop, and King Kullen stores. However, residents are still waiting on change in Harlem — and wondering where they will buy groceries.

“Of course not having a Pathmark is a bad thing,” says Zakir Atik, who runs a newsstand on the corner of 125th St. and Lexington Ave. “People who have lived here for a long time have to go far away to get their groceries now. But whatever happens to this Pathmark, it has to happen soon. The homeless people are crowding around the area and it just looks like a zombie land. Someone needs to get them to a shelter and fix this place up.”