A plug for D’Agostino
Amidst the excitement over the new Trader Joe’s, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind ST-PCV residents that there’s a terrific and convenient D’Agostino at 355 First Ave., between East 20th and 21st Streets, where the old Gristedes used to be. The store has been completely renovated, and now sports clean, bright, wide aisles, a salad and readymade food bar and a pleasant seating area with chairs and tables, where a weary shopper can also comfortably perch while reviewing a shopping list.
Best of all are Larry the manager, and his always helpful, friendly, and kind staff (thank you, Jose, Theresa, Zenia, Rose, Brandon, and anyone whose name I may have misspelled or inadvertently omitted), who always give customers the kind of personal service so very rare and sadly lacking in the impersonal online or chain big box experience. Whether helping you locate the products you want, or checking you out and bagging or delivering your groceries, the staff always offers help with genuine warmth and smiles.
Larry the manager has been unusually responsive when I have asked him to carry products I always bought at Gristedes, including lactose-free products made by Lactaid and other companies, as well as Levy’s “Everything” Rye Bread, which has all the great taste of an everything bagel, but with far fewer calories. If you’d like to buy a product that’s not there, just let Larry know. As a jaded New Yorker, I never expected anything would happen, but to my surprise and delight, within days, the products I asked for were on D’Agostino’s shelves!
Oh, and another bonus: You can still use your Gristedes loyalty card that ensures you get the good sales prices, senior discount and also helps you collect points that give you five bucks back after having spent a certain amount. (If you have privacy concerns, don’t worry: I’ve signed up for grocery store loyalty cards with names like “Mickey Mouse” and “Clark Kent”; so you can still get your bonuses and protect your privacy.)
Elaine, Stuyvesant Town
Farewell to Butch
We said farewell until we meet again. On Friday, hordes of people filled the Immaculate Conception Church on 14th Street and First Avenue to console each other. “Butch is gone… it will never be the same” reverberated throughout the church. People showed up with overnight suitcases, some from Kentucky, Las Vegas, and New Jersey etc. to pay their respects. John was one in a million… still bringing us all together. What I noticed was there was no discrimination in who John loved and befriended, different genders, sizes, religions, ethnic groups and from all walks of life was there.
When I returned home I mulled over the many statements shared with me: “The Management of Stuy Town named Playground 9 for John ‘Butch’ Purcell because John was instrumental in teaching and bringing the young men in the community together. We didn’t campaign for the naming of the playground,” says Mark Toledo.
As important as John Purcell was to each of us, his physical body is not here but his deeds and message remains: We Are One. Join with me and the deeds that bring us all together, do them in the name of John.
I met John in Harlem and when I moved to East Midtown Plaza found that he was affectionately called the Mayor of Stuy Town.
East Midtown Plaza