Mid-brainstorming for my third column, I realized I really ought to address my odd love/hate relationship with the Hoboken A&P. Here is the fruit of my labors. Enjoy!
Location, Location, Location
What did you dream of owning when you were a kid—a pony, perhaps? These days, I find myself pining for the oddest things, like granite kitchen counters, a garden in a backyard, and a stoop with a curled rod-iron handrail.
Lately, I can’t help but find myself drawn to the brownstones that line Garden Street uptown, or the Victorians that decorate Castle Point Terrace. Having grown accustomed to my own humble apartment, I forget that there is square footage in Hoboken that isn’t lined with linoleum or wood paneling.
But, it wasn’t until after a discussion with a new Hobokenite that I realized what I really coveted. After learning that my friend’s new apartment was located at Sixth St. and Clinton, as if I were playing a game of word association, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Well that’s right next to the A&P! That’s like, the best apartment ever!”
If I were a realtor in this town, I would organize prime properties according to their proximity to the major grocery stores: Shop Rite or the A&P. Kings is marvelous, but in my book, it’s similar to a Whole Foods, aka, “Whole Paycheck.” Shop Rite and the A&P are a little kinder to people like me, with meager, 20-something budgets.
It’s not that I wish to live in the A&P, but oh, what I wouldn’t give to be a few blocks closer. While my yoga arms may be strong, they are not equipped to lug bags full of A&P’s own America’s Choice brand products for two blocks west, five blocks south.
Growing up, my mother was a finicky consumer. Once a grocery store won over her heart, that was it. After years with the now defunct chain Grand Union, when the World Class Shop Rite was built only a few minutes away, a Power Point presentation and testimonials were practically required to get her to make the switch.
With this brand-loyalty relationship as my point of reference, (I hate myself a little for saying this) to my dear A&P, I must tell you that I have not been faithful. I took a vow when I placed your Bonus Savings Club card on my key ring, and yet, I cheat on you left and right—with convenience stores. When I lived uptown, it was with Fresh Picked on Tenth St. and Washington. Downtown, it’s the CVS for pantry staples and Natural Plus on First St. and Washington for produce. Oh…and St. Mary’s Grocery & Deli on Second and Willow, open 24 hours for late night needs.
It’s just that those little grocery stores are so close to the bus stop or PATH when I get home from work, and you, A&P, are too far away. I guess one could say that I’m not very good with long distance.
I’m just so weak, literally.
For now, I will just have to deal with the guilt. But for the future, I plan to implement a next-to-grocery-store category on Craigslist, where all my apartment searching will take place. Studio or shack, if it brings me closer to the A&P, that’s all I need, because life is all about the simple things, just like a pantry full of no-frills, America’s Choice groceries.