Bay Ridge Is Getting a Co-op, But How Will It Work?

With only one supermarket left in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn College professor Murray Gross thinks his neighborhood is in a food “crisis situation.” His solution? A co-op. “Bay Ridge is waking up to the idea that it cannot afford the prices it has been paying for food,” he says. (And here we thought Bay Ridge was cheap!) Gross wants to model his co-op after the Flatbush Food Co-op — open to the public, with relaxed labor and fee structures, lest he alienate older and lower-income residents. But at a planning meeting this week, younger supporters wanted a local version of the storied Park Slope Co-op, arguing that compelling members to work a certain number of hours keeps costs down and fosters a sense of community. "There's a lot to be said for asking people to pitch in when those who found a co-op do so much work," says realtor David Marangio, a Park Slope Co-op member who lives in Bay Ridge and attended the meeting. So who will prevail? Organizers will visit the Flatbush and Park Slope co-ops before reconvening on July 23 to hash it all out. Either way, this means cheaper tomatoes. –Meredith McGroarty