The Key Food at the intersection of Sterling Place and 5th Avenue in Park Slope may not be the prettiest of businesses along that bustling commercial corridor (nor is the big, adjacent parking lot), but it sure is useful. I don’t even live in Park Slope but, over the years, the number of staple shopping runs I’ve made there have been too many to count. While nearby bodegas are numerous and I rely on them for all the Vitamin Water and egg and cheese sandwiches I need, they don’t offer the toothpaste or antiperspirant or La Croix flavors I want. In New York City, a big old boring, practical, and economical grocery story, like the 5th Avenue Key Food, is hard to find. So, unexciting though the store may be, I was not happy to learn that a Brooklyn developer has zeroed in on it for yet another mixed-use development.
According to DNAinfo, Avery Hall Investments aims to “enhance” this part of brownstone Brooklyn with its plans for the plot. So far we know, this will mean a mix of residential and commercial space, with some affordable housing. If the developer’s projects elsewhere can offer any insights—like its project-in-progress at 465 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, with 30 condos, 15,000 square feet of commercial space, a fitness center and a children’s playroom—Fifth Avenue and Sterling place will look much fancier in the near future. (And hopefully better-constructed than all those brittle towers popping up around Downtown and Fort Greene of late.)
The most encouraging information is that one of AHI’s founding partners, Brian Ezra, is a fourth-generation Park Slope-native, and his team of three is purportedly considering keeping a grocery store around. So, let us hope that Ezra, too, remembers all those staple shopping trips he has surely made to Key Food over the years, undoubtedly to buy his favorite cereal and bulk beverages for cheap. It may not be as exciting as a fitness center or playroom, but neither of those do a happy boy make when it’s time to eat—which is to say, all the time. For everyday life, we hope these developers remember: boring (and well-built) is often best.