Finally some good news in affordable food: An Aldi has opened in East New York. The international chain already operates stores in Rego Park, Sheepshead Bay, East Harlem, and the Bronx. That the chain is establishing itself on the outer edges of the city rather than spreading from more central areas distinguishes it from other supposed discount chains like Fairway or Trader Joe’s (itself a subsidiary of one arm of Aldi), whose few locations are concentrated in highly populated, gentrified areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks from Brooklyn’s Trader Joe’s, a Met grocery store on Baltic and Smith Streets is closing, offering those in the neighborhood—including the more than 2,800 residents of the Gowanus Houses—one fewer option for local, affordable groceries not found in the new Gowanus Whole Foods or Court Street’s Union Market. In a city that consistently tops cost-of-living lists, any increase in price—or, more to the point, any decrease in affordability—can be a debilitating squeeze on the other 99.
Aldi’s arrival in East New York is a strong counter to the upscale grocery trend along Brooklyn’s western coast, even as it continues to creep inland. We only hope they’ll open more.