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Amsterdam Avenue Turning Into 'Yogurt Alley,' Upper West Siders Lament

By Emily Frost | August 26, 2013 7:17am
 Two new frozen yogurt shops are on the verge of opening along Amsterdam Avenue.
Explosion of New Yogurt Shops Prompts Neighborhood Frustration
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UPPER WEST SIDE — With two new frozen yogurt spots opening on Amsterdam Avenue in the next month, some residents and business owners are feeling a brain freeze.

The prevalence of frozen treat spots on the avenue between West 72nd and West 86th streets — which will soon be home to eight yogurt shops — has some locals calling the strip "yogurt alley." 

The fro-yo overload complaints come as a new Yogurtland shop prepares to open Aug. 31 on Amsterdam Avenue at West 80th Street. The new spot is located just two storefronts from a Pinkberry shop that opened in late June.

The yogurt chain Orange Leaf is also set to open soon, near West 85th Street — directly across from a Tasti D-Lite, Orange Leaf reps confirmed.

Outposts of 16 Handles, Emack and Bolio's, Haagen-Dazs and Sugar and Plumm Purveyors of Yumm are located within walking distance of these shops.

"I feel like they're going to saturate the neighborhood, and I wonder how long they can stay in business," said local Amanda Marchetti, 32.

Greg Hunt, owner of nearby Cafe Tallulah, said he was sorry to see more chain businesses move to the area.

"I think one of the things that gives a neighborhood its character is its small businesses and restaurants... its 'mom and pop' stores and restaurants," he said. "Chains — banks, drug stores or any other type of chain — are soulless, boring and uniform."

But some locals see the new businesses as a plus for the Upper West Side. 

"Love them!" said local business owner Linda Alexander, who sits on the Business and Consumer Issues committee for Community Board 7. 

"I have no problem with trend stores," she said, noting she preferred health-oriented businesses, especially juice bars, which are also cropping up in the neighborhood.

Like 16 Handles, Yogurtland offers self-service of a variety of frozen yogurt flavors, plus toppings.

Orange Leaf franchisee Diana Davidson said she's not worried about all the competition.

The shop selling "richer, creamier" yogurt is geared towards "young families," which will give it an advantage, Davidson said. 

"Competition exists everywhere you go in Manhattan," she said. "If everyone avoided all of their competitors all of the time, nothing new would ever open."