Excited NYers tailgate while waiting hours in line for Wegmans to make its long-awaited Manhattan debut (2024)

Jordan White, a professional chef by trade, woke up at 2:30 Wednesday morning in order to be the first customer to enter the brand new Wegmans food market on Astor Place at 8:45 a.m. — 15 minutes before its scheduled opening.

Walking into the space, along with other Wegman-iacs who lined around the block to get in, White was greeted by the store’s staff who — showing excitement for the long-awaited opening — had just finished a loud cheer: “W-E-G-M-A-N-S, what does that spell? Wegmans! One more time! Wegmans!”

“When I heard they were opening the one on Astor Place, I was like, ‘I gotta check it out,'” the 31-year-old White, who aptly wore a University of Rochester sweatshirt — not only the school he attended, but also his hometown and that of the Wegmans brand — told The Post while still on line outside the door, where he had waited since 4 a.m.

20

20

20

20

20

Plenty of others wanted to check it out as well — fueled by the anticipation of this long-awaited arrival. One shopper even quipped, “I’m getting overwhelmed!” News of the opening date came this past July, when the grocery giant announced the specific Oct. 18 debut. That bit of new information came almost exactly two years after Wegmans made headlines for announcing it would open its second New York City location — and its first-ever Manhattan market — in the former Kmart space.

(However, store-related gossip on Reddit preceded official news of that summer 2021 update. On a New York City subreddit, and on the heels of reports that a “first-class regional grocer” would move into the shuttered Kmart, a well-informed snoop spilled the beans that Wegmans would be the new tenant, though nothing at that time had been confirmed by the company.)

“I’d be so happy if this is true,” said one commenter on that 2021 post, with another chiming in saying, “My love for Wegmans is eternal.”

White, who said he had previously worked at Wegmans in the sushi section, can agree.

“I moved here in 2016 and I didn’t really feel comfortable shopping at other [stores] because it just didn’t feel right,” he said. “I knew they were opening one in Brooklyn, but that was in 2019. Up until that point, I was kind of struggling to find one location where I could get the majority of my groceries.”

20

20

20

20

20

Now, fans of the upstate brand have another location within city limits — not to mention one within much easier reach, at least with regards to subway access. This new two-level, 87,500-square-foot store, at 770 Broadway, is located steps from the R, W and 6 trains — and just less than 10 blocks south of the Union Square L station. (The 2019-opened Brooklyn Navy Yard location, which boasts a sizable parking lot for locals arriving by car, is a known schlep from the subway — requiring a lengthy walk from the High Street A station or the York Street F platform, both in Dumbo. Buses, such as the B57 and B69, offer direct public transportation access, but still require a subway transfer for most shoppers.)

For decades, Wegmans has enjoyed a cult following that flocks to the store for its reliably fresh bites — both in the grocery aisles and in the prepared food sections — at reasonable prices. Customer favorites include the Danny’s Favorite sub — with salami, capicola, spicy ham and provolone cheese between spongy bread — that’s named for Wegmans chairman Danny Wegman.

“It’s really good with red pepper relish on it,” said Rochester native Hannah R., 29, who stopped by this new market to grab a Danny’s Favorite sub for lunch during her work day.

Other popular gets include the chocolate-dipped chocolate chip cookies, the “Butter Boy” French butter with sea salt, cave-ripened Cremeux de Bourgogne cheese and, as simple as it may sound, inexpensive cans of sparkling water — whose flavors include ginger, mixed berry and lemon-lime.

20

20

20

20

20

At this store, shoppers can get all those goods, as well as sushi, pizza and Mediterranean options from the “Mezze” section on the ground level. In 2024, visitors will also have an on-site dining room with an omakase bar, and even a Champagne and oyster bar.

And, of particular note, Wednesday marked the opening of Wegmans’ first-ever Japanese “Sakanaya” fish market, located on the lower level, selling whole fish that are flown in daily from Japan and brought right to the store from John F. Kennedy airport. Wednesday’s selections included “Kinmedai” Splendid Alfonsinho ($29.99 per pound) and “Houbou” Red Gurnard ($25.99 per pound).

Adrian Hutchens, 32, a Wegmans Sakanaya student said its purpose is to fold in famed Japanese seafood into the American diet — to “make it approachable, make it easy,” he said.

20

20

20

20

Beyond expanding palates, others came to Wegmans on Wednesday for some fun. Buffalo natives Brad Orego, 35, and Jeff Pollock, 35, stood outside in Bills outfits having a football-style tailgate. Their table had a breakfast casserole made with eggs, cheese and peppers; pancakes and links of maple sausage, all ingredients purchased at the Brooklyn Wegmans on Tuesday.

“It’s a ridiculous way to celebrate Wegmans,” said Orego. “We tailgated the Brooklyn opening as well. When we had that stupid idea and heard about this one [we thought] ‘of course we’ll go.'”

Jennie LaMancuso, 24, queued up with four friends for a first-day visit.

“Both my parents are from Buffalo — I grew up in New Jersey and all our family is still up in Buffalo,” she said. “Anytime we’d go up, I remember me and my sisters would run through Wegmans and take as much as we could back to New Jersey in a six-hour car ride.”

Now, she lives near this location — and doesn’t need to drag her groceries back on a long drive.

“This is my grocery store,” she said.

Excited NYers tailgate while waiting hours in line for Wegmans to make its long-awaited Manhattan debut (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Maia Crooks Jr

Last Updated:

Views: 6108

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Maia Crooks Jr

Birthday: 1997-09-21

Address: 93119 Joseph Street, Peggyfurt, NC 11582

Phone: +2983088926881

Job: Principal Design Liaison

Hobby: Web surfing, Skiing, role-playing games, Sketching, Polo, Sewing, Genealogy

Introduction: My name is Maia Crooks Jr, I am a homely, joyous, shiny, successful, hilarious, thoughtful, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.