Reopen News: Overheard at Trader Joe's Line helps NYC residents cope during pandemic

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Overheard at Trader Joe's Line helps residents cope during COVID
At time when many New Yorkers are standing in line outside the supermarket to grocery shop due to the coronavirus pandemic, some residents are creating posters and online postings

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- At time when many New Yorkers are standing in line outside the supermarket to grocery shop due to the coronavirus pandemic, some residents are creating posters and online postings of things they've overheard.

They hear them while waiting to enter a Trader Joe's on the Upper West Side, and the postings have gone viral.

The Instagram account traderjoeslineuws was created in mid-March, with the long and noisy line outside the location on Columbus Avenue passing right in front of a brownstone.

And for people living inside, it's become a case of listen and post.

"I may have opened the window at like 4 and said, 'Shut up,'" Upper West Side resident Kyle Luker said. "And my husband said, 'You can't be that person who yells shut up out the window.'"

The man in that instance was right outside the couple's window, and soon after, it happened again. But this time he put up a sign telling "Stacy" to "zip it," that "no one cares you are getting more frozen berries for your epic smoothie."

Others in the brownstone were also fed up and started putting up signs each day, posting them on social media.

"Sometimes it's just a nugget of something, and we have to add something to make it more fun," Luker said. "And we don't know their names, so have to make it up."

Take the case of "Claudia." They were perplexed she was wearing leather sandals during a tropical storm. The artwork was done my Max Gayle.

"I was like, hey, I like to draw," he said. "I have nothing else to do right now. Let me draw a little doodle. And that's when it started building and building."

At times, they walk the line, incognito, in a mask. It's created a sense of community during a very difficult time, as COVID-19 has hit the area hard.

"Even people in the neighborhood, the girl who lives next door, messaged us, 'I love the sign,' and I come outside to see it," neighbor Gabrielle LeMoullec said.

And the group now has quite a following. One woman on her phone while waiting said she had to hang up because she was too close to the building where they listen and put what you say on a sign. And that, of course, became a sign.

"I think it's cool that they are taking things into their own hands," one admirer said.

They haven't heard from Trader Joe's yet, but as always, they are listening."


Suddenly, the brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different. Protesters put the fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands. Abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance, to demand social change.


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