I remember sitting at home in Toronto, planning our move and being really excited for the opportunity to live in Manhattan. We knew it would be different- moving from a house into an apartment, selling our cars and walking everywhere etc. Yet somehow I randomly got stuck thinking about the logistics of grocery shopping in New York City.
In Canada, we would put our son in the car, drive to a grocery store and park the car in a parking lot. Then we would get a shopping cart, strap the kid in and head to the bakery department for his free cookie so we could shop in peace while he munched away. We would buy groceries and drive them back home. Sound familiar? Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how I would carry a week’s worth of groceries home in New York City, and P.S., what would I do with my pre-schooler? Hire a sitter?
I needn’t have worried.
The first rule of New York City is that everyone delivers everything. It’s a sort of Shangri-La. For anyone moving here, or new to the city here is a (non-exhaustive) list of services we used in our first few months in the city:
Groceries – Order online on sites/apps like FreshDirect, Instacart or AmazonFresh and someone will bring your groceries to you the next day for a small fee. Need something now? Foodkick can delivered in an hour, so you don’t need to “pop out” to the store for that ingredient you are missing. Prefer to physically select your produce? Many local stores offer free delivery or charge a small fee at checkout so you don’t need to awkwardly carry your purchases home. If you have small children online grocery shopping will become your best friend as most grocery store aisles are so narrow that manoeuvring a stroller = nightmare. Those shopping carts where you safely strap your little one while getting groceries don’t exist in NYC unless you are at a large Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and even then there’s not much aisle space. Spare yourself the aggravation. Also, while there is a Trader Joe’s nearby on 72nd and Broadway, which I love, I only go early weekday mornings…I kid you not, if you try to go Friday after work or on the weekend you may be standing in line to get into the store. For groceries! It’s insane. Last hint: all the online stores have free delivery trials and coupon codes – look for these when signing up.
Alcohol – many liquor stores offer free delivery (you can either come in and choose your alcohol, or call them with your order directly), or order online from Drizly or Foodkick and get your alcohol delivered in an hour for a small fee. Someone over 21 must be home to sign for it.
Dry cleaners – many cleaners pick up and deliver for no extra cost.
Laundry – if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your apartment, you can get a wash and fold service from the laundromat. Some even pick up your dirty clothes and deliver them back clean and folded.
Sundries– Google Express is a same-day shopping service partnering with Costco, Target, Fairway, Whole Foods, Staples, Toys’R’Us, Walgreens, PetSmart, Pier 1 and many more. They don’t offer fresh food delivery in NYC at this time, but pretty much anything else you need. Their membership fee is currently $95/year or $4.99 a la carte for each store you order from ($15 minimum purchase per store).
Restaurant Meals – ok this is nothing new as most restaurants deliver, but apps like Seamless, Grubhub and Caviar are repositories of local restaurants and serve as a one stop shop for take-out.
Pharmacy– In New York State, all prescriptions are sent directly from your doctor’s office to a pharmacy of your choice. Capsule they deliver in 2 hour windows of your choosing to your home, office, etc., deal with health plans and you can text or email your questions to the pharmacist.
Needless to say, the convenience of living in Manhattan is unsurpassed. My husband even asked me the other day what we would do if we moved away from NYC and (gasp!) had to physically do our own grocery shopping again. Hilarious, but so true.