Last week Trader Joe's announced it was finally coming to Harlem, setting its sights on a new 17-story development at 121 W 125th Street (the future home of the National Urban League as well as a civil rights museum and, yes, a Target).
Many articles that followed pointed to a poll on this blog from 2019 showing that 91% of you wanted the grocer to come uptown.
But of course it's much more complicated than that.
As soon as the news broke, your excitement was tempered by some real talk, including your thoughts about the height of the new building, the time it will take to open the store (the development is aiming for 2023), hopes for a Trader Joe's further uptown, and, naturally, gentrification.
Here are some of the highlights from your comments and direct messages on Instagram:
"Happy for TJs, but a 17 story structure, not so much."—@mamasoulnyc
"[H]ere’s the thing...the mom and pop black owned businesses were failing in Harlem because NO ONE was supporting em. [S]o you can’t get mad when big box retailers come in and buy everything up because they have the capital to do so."—@uptownharlem35
"Ooof. I like Trader Joe’s but also definitely one of the horsemen of true gentrification."—@emma_mcsquared
"I was one of the 91% for Trader Joe’s, but I would’ve liked it farther uptown. With all of the recent changes to 125th, it’s looking less “Harlem” and more Upper West Side. Moving it to the Heights or Inwood would bring a little life to those neighborhoods while still serving uptown."—P
"Harlem is really killed by gentrification🤦🏻♂️"—@_ayoariel
"Happy to hear bout TJ, not sure how i feel about Target."—@harlemnoir
"Your friendly Trader Joe’s worker is thrilled for this! I always criticize that the company has the most reasonable prices to help those who really need cheap groceries and yet they’re all in the rich neighborhoods! Thrilled Harlem is getting one!"—E
"Joy and anger."—@yay_its_sara
"I’m so torn! I’ve been praying for Trader Joe’s since Whole Foods got here but another tall building will further destroy the access to the sky that we love."—@allofthisisyours
"2023? Damn it takes 2 years to build?"—@ebonys_melaninated_moves
"Great news! But 2 years to wait!"–@guilhemny
"We need one in Inwood!!!" and also "TJs have been kinda sus about opening stores in non white neighborhoods 🤔"—S
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