Key Food

Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, USA


The Disappointed Tourist: Key Food, Ellen Harvey, 2024. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

This supermarket was located at 120 Fifth Avenue in the Park Slope district of Brooklyn. It closed in 2021 and was subsequently demolished. The site is currently being developed. Plan for the site include a Lidl discount grocery on the ground floor and affordable housing above.

When my teenage son was in second grade, he had to a make poster of his favorite things. Near the top of his collage, with dogs, cats, and the beach, was Key Food, a supermarket around the corner from our home. I knew why. Walking into that grocery store was always strangely joyful. He grew up in those cheery aisles, which were more spacious than most. In a blink, he and his older brother went from swinging their legs in the cart to inventing games that sent them giggling around the store grabbing treats to sneak into the basket. For me, there was something comfortingly nostalgic about the store. A vast airy oasis in an otherwise dense corner of the world, it felt like a suburban throwback, beckoning shoppers with its excessively cool air, neatly arranged stacks of colorful goods, familiar check-out clerks, and cheery hits from the 1960s and ‘70s piping through its sound system. There were always a few of us quietly singing along, nodding to each other as our carts passed. When the store closed in 2022 to make way for a 180-unit development, shoppers from all around the area mourned the loss of local, affordable fresh food source. But now that I see the condo towers ascending from the area where the parking lot and single-story market once stood, I also long for the vast patch of sky that gave the neighborhood breathing room.   Meredith M.