Nearly 200 residents gathered under Wednesday's ominous sky to continue the fight against Walgreens, which has officially assumed the store's lease.
Armed with signs and the now ubiquitous refrain "Greenbeans not Walgreens," residents and elected officials alike vowed to keep the drug store mega-chain out of the neighborhood.
"We have shown that it is possible for many years for this community to support a supermarket here," Councilman Brad Lander, D-Park Slope, told the agitated crowd assembled near the at 589 Prospect Avenue.
" and shown them how there is a win-win. And if they choose not to honor this community, and not to work with this community, then they will fail in this community."
Residents, meanwhile, have been trekking to supermarkets across the borough for their shopping needs, namely, Key Food on 5th Avenue and Fairway Market in Red Hook. While plenty of Wednesday's attendees do in fact have their own cars, the majority arrived at the protest on behalf of their elderly neighbors who lack easy access to fresh food.
Neil Eisenberg said that while he is lucky enough to have a car for major shopping expeditions, he is nevertheless regularly struck by Key Food's loss, particularly when it comes to making last-minute purchases.
"It’s been frustrating, especially when you need to cook dinner and you realize you’re missing something. You have to get in the car, drive a great distance, try to find parking and then drive home," he said. "You wind up ruining your evening."
Like many residents, Borough President Marty Markowitz—a Windsor Terrace resident himself—said that though he also has a car, he and his wife are still struggling to establish a regular shopping routine in the wake of Key Food's closure.
"We split our shopping up," he said, citing Fairway and Food Town on McDonald Avenue as his regular destinations. "But the convenience of a few steps away, or a block or two away, that is why we’re here. It’s gone."
Lander's office is in the process of establishing , though due to logistical difficulties, it has yet to see any actual participants. Resident Susan Valenti said she has tried to offer rides to her elderly neighbors on her own, but so far, has had a hard time successfully coordinating any shopping trips.
Anne Axelrod-Bedell, who has lived in Windsor Terrace for 45 years and calls herself a "young senior," said she provides rides to the area's older citizens when she can. But a ride share program, helpful though it is, is not a permanent solution, she said.
"You know, you can't do that forever," she said. "We need a food store.”