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Wegmans Opens in Brooklyn; Fans Wait in the Rain, and Enjoy



When Alexis Grafakos moved to a small town in western New York in 2013, she couldn't find empanade dough anywhere.

One day while shopping in Geneseo at her local supermarket, Wegmans, Ms. Grafakos mentioned to staff how she wished she could buy some of the ingredients for her Caribbean dishes that she could easily find in Brooklyn. Within a week, she said, the dough was on the shelves. She could make the new life taste a little more like home.

Now living back in New York, Ms. woke up Grafakos, 30, at 5 a.m. Sunday for the opening of a Wegmans at Brooklyn Navy Yard, the first of the chain's supermarkets in town and the 1

01st nationwide. She was driving from the Bronx to wait in the rainy cold before sunrise because she remembered how well the Wegmans had treated her, she said.

Ms. Grafakos also remembered how her Geneseo employees used to t relieve her that New York City would never get a Wegmans because "we were too bad," she said.

Ms. Grafakos was one of of the more than 1,000 people who visited the new store to be among the first customers. Wegmans comes to the area after almost a decade of halted promises to bring a high-quality, affordable supermarket to this once abandoned stretch near Brooklyn Harbor.

During the previous term of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, two developers tried and failed to get a bid on the coveted Admiral's Row page at the Navy Yard. One, PA Associates, was dropped after being charged in an unrelated bribery scandal; Another, Blumenfeld Development Group, said it couldn't find a supermarket that was willing to pay insurance premiums after Hurricane Sandy.

Residents of nearby buildings run by the New York City Housing Authority often had to leave the neighborhood to buy affordable products in bulk.

Karen Lighter, 49, and Debby Eckstein 49, who are neighbors in Flatbush, Brooklyn, rolled carts through the hallways after the grand opening on Sunday, marveling at the variety. To find cozy meat with reasonable price, they said, they used to drive an hour each way to Queens.

"We have nothing like it – it's huge!" So Lighter. "I've never seen so many choices. Out of New York I've seen it. But not here."


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