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Upper East Side Gets Ready for Fairway as Construction Kicks Off

By DNAinfo Staff on October 6, 2010 2:03pm

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER EAST SIDE — The countdown for the opening of the new Upper East Side Fairway Market started the minute the shovels hit the dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

Passersby were already taking guesses on when they could start shopping at the new location at 240 E. 86th St. before the groundbreaking ceremony had even come to an end.

"The nearest place we have is Key Foods, I'm so looking forward to Fairway," said Lorraine Borbas, 56, a resident of East 92nd Street and Second Avenue, who said the store could serve as a much-needed boost for the area during tough times.

"We've been kind of cut off because of the subway," Borbas said of the area's Second Avenue subway construction.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who was on hand to announce the groundbreaking, said one of the highlights of the store's construction is the number of union jobs it is expected to create.

"300 to 400 jobs, you don't get that very often," Maloney said.

Residents, including Community Board 8, overwhelmingly supported the grocery store's move to the neighborhood, although the East 86th Street Association initially had reservations about the effect the store would have on street conditions and truck traffic.

Now that construction is underway, the organization will have to serve as a watchdog to make sure Fairway follows the rules, said Michele Birnbaum, vice president of the association, citing the importance of following laws regarding loading zones and hours.

"We're happy to have them, as long as they follow regulations," Birnbaum said at the ceremony.

The two-level store will have an in-house Kosher butcher and bakery, roasted coffee on the premises and more than 600 artisanal cheeses.

Howard Glickberg, CEO of Fairway, said he hoped to open for business within six to eight months.

"I'm happy today," said Glickberg, whose family has owned Fairway for three generations, beginning when his grandfather opened the first store on the Upper West Side. "But I'll be excited when we open."