The UWS garage is being used as a distribution center, frustrating local residents

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Online grocers such as FreshDirect are now using local garages and lots as fulfillment centers, but the move is riling Upper West Side residents.

It turns out FreshDirect and Peapod use an Upper West Side garage — Impark at 200 West 79th Street — as their distribution center, according to the garage manager. Pickup trucks can be seen stopping at the entrance – on 78th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam – and crates and bags are unloaded onto cargo bikes, which pull small trailers behind them, for the “delivery of the last kilometer”. We are told that cargo bikes are stored in the garage.

upper west side cargo bikes

In an effort to reduce traffic and pollution, Mayor de Blasio announced new funding late last year for a program to encourage sustainable delivery methods such as cargo bikes. But when the ex-mayor first spoke in 2019 of a pilot program for the bikes, he said they had to be stored overnight at company facilities.

The activity disturbed at least one resident of 200 West 79th Street. They tell us that the unloading takes place early in the morning and late in the evening and is noisy, and that bicycles and vans drive on the sidewalks and pose a danger to the inhabitants. A “ghost bodega” in Brooklyn reportedly started causing a similar ruckus last year.

These operations are overseen by Reef Technology, which acquired Impark in 2018.

last mile reef delivery

According to Reef’s website, the company “transforms[s] underutilized urban spaces in neighborhood centers that connect people to locally organized goods, services and experiences. CEO Ari Ojalvo believes parking lots “should be more than a place to park your car. Rather, it can be a hub for the community, connecting people to the businesses and services that keep us all moving forward.

The company is working with delivery services like Uber and DoorDash in other cities and plans to roll out its concept to “several hundred markets in North America and the UK”.


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Sources say the practice of using garages in this way in New York has become increasingly common, as has the use of cargo bikes. Sources at FreshDirect first spoke in 2012 about using bikes to deliver goods.

Executives at AKAM Associates, which operates 200 West 79th Street, tell us they are investigating the situation. We received the following email from the “Customer Success Manager:”

“Thank you for reaching out to comments regarding confirmation of the garage space behind at the rear of 200 West 79th Street. For your convenience, I am immediately forwarding this matter to be addressed by copying the property manager and his Someone should contact you as soon as they are able to resolve the issue.”

Following this initial response, an “executive executive” sent an email saying he was “dealing with this”. We also reached out to Reef Technology for comment; we’ll provide an update if and when we learn more.

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