Kudos to Mani Market at 697 Columbus Avenue and West 94 Street in Manhattan. While many people in this area who should know better line up (at profoundly too-close distances to one another) a block away from here to pick over the few chips, dips and canned corn at Trader Joe's, or head to Whole Foods three blocks north with mixed results, Mani - a small independent grocer - has been open longer hours during the coronavirus crisis.
Mani has replenished stocks of essential food products that actually can be used in cooking and sustenance to make tasty, nutritious meals. There are vegetables, fresh fruit, Italian pasta, dried fruit (wash and then steam it for delicious results), nuts, olive oil, coffee, yogurt, eggs, cured meat and fish, fresh bread and hard cheeses for grating.
I have sung Mani’s praises before, and now the market rises to the challenge again. I encourage you to help them thrive so they can help you thrive. And remember, when the crisis subsides, that you actually ate better (in terms of health and flavor) than what the big stores sell.
Continue to keep Mani a part of the neighborhood fabric. Two additional requests: take a plastic bag as you enter the store and place it over the hand you will use to handle all items. Then, when you line up to pay, stay six feet behind the person in front of you and ask the person behind you to do the same. You won’t get to the cashier any quicker if you crowd together.
Fred Plotkin is the author of six cookbooks and is the opera columnist for WQXR. He has lived on the Upper West Side since he was ten.