A ‘lot’ of pain at Red Hook supermarket as grocer bans cars overnight

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The free ride is over in a Red Hook parking lot — and it has some residents overheated.

One of the owners of the Fine Fare supermarket on Columbia Street has overturned a decades-old policy and will no longer allow locals to park their cars in his lot overnight, when the supermarket is closed.

As a result, locals are now forced to search for scarce on-street parking spots, which have been harder to come by since the opening of the IKEA megastore in 2008.

“I’ve been in Red Hook since 1966, and this has never been a problem,” said Lillian Marshall, the president of the Red Hook West Tenants’ Association. “Now all of a sudden, it’s a problem?”

Marshall said that the lot was particularly handy when she’d arrive home late from community meetings, or when friends and family come to visit.

“It’s not like his lot is full of cars at night,” she said.

But Damien Castillo, the Fine Fare co-owner, saw it differently.

“People were parking there overnight, there were abandoned cars, stolen cars,” he said. “People would change their tires there and leave the old tires.”

He said the five-year-old store put up signs advertising the new “bad neighbor” policy, and waited at least 10 days before enforcing it. He added that his supermarket and the Sovereign Bank, dollar store, and other tenants in the mini mall near Lorraine Street pay for upkeep on the lot so that customers — not freeloaders — can enjoy the convenience.

“We just don’t have the space,” he said.

That comment ignited road rage.

“He’s a liar,” Marshall charged. “Maybe he’s angry that he doesn’t get that many customers — he’s more expensive, and his meat is horrible.”

Ray Hall, co-founder of Red Hook Rise, didn’t want to discuss the quality of the offerings at Fine Fare, but he agreed that Castillo’s policy “is pretty unfair to everyone down here that’s been parking here so long.”

Still, Hall said he remains hopeful that a solution can be worked out. “There is always compromise,” he said.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Fourth Estate from DUMBO says:
Seems to me a solution would be to rent spaces at night. But, it is privat.e property no less
April 13, 2010, 10:15 am
John from East Williamsburg says:
How dare the supermarket not allow you to use its private property for your personal comfort and convenience.
April 13, 2010, 10:45 am
v from vg says:
why don't the freeloaders offer to pay to park their cars there -- but no such offer is being made
April 13, 2010, 11:58 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Never underestimate how much car drivers feel they're entitled to.
April 15, 2010, 10:34 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Lillian Marshall is upset because the owner of Fine Fare won't let Freeloaders park in his lot overnight.

Lillian tell those freeloaders to pay to park($150.00). Lillian how on earth did you choose this stupid, unreasonable fight? Say it ain't so, Lillian!
April 19, 2010, 4:47 pm
Mel from Red Hook says:
We just don't shop there anymore. If they can't be a good neighbor who needs them.
July 12, 2011, 7:31 am

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