We got a heads up from a press release that this Thursday Aldi, the mega-giant, German-held discount supermarket chain is opening an outpost in Sheepshead Bay at 3785 Nostrand Avenue. I have experienced the German version of Aldi many times, but to figure out what we’re getting in to, I took a trip to the only other Aldi in NYC — at the far east end of 116th street in Harlem.
You may not be familiar with the company, though you’ve probably bought something from them before. Aldi is the owner of Trader Joe’s, the funky California-based grocery store with a few locations around the city. Unlike the welcoming TJs cultish fold, Aldi Germany is an existential experience of randomness. It does not conform to the German stereotype of order and logic. Almost immediately upon entering you find yourself standing in a long, skinny aisle with a giant array of generic soda options sitting half-unwrapped on the pallet. Next to that will be a haphazard display of snack foods followed by possibly apples, crates of shelf-stable milk, and 35 boxes of freeze-dried coffee.
I had to see if Aldi Harlem maintains the sense of dizzying inconsistency in layout as its progenitors. Sadly, the Harlem Aldi was nowhere near as confusing in layout as its European counterparts. The experience was, however, uncanny. American Aldis are huge. It was as if I had shrunk to half my size and were standing in an aisle full of off-brand batteries and curry ketchup.
The nihilistic layout was supplanted by a natural flow. The selection, however, was limited. At Aldi Harlem you have the choice of Aldi’s generic brands or nothing. All grains were Millville; all canned meats were Brookdale. Only Coca-Cola and Maruchan were the recognized brands. But who cares? Everything was under $3. Most things were under $2 and basics hovered around the double-digit pennies. Meat, produce, and household goods were fresh and cheap, too. We can only assume Aldi Brooklyn remains as Germanically consistent with its prices as well.
Being excited about Aldi Brooklyn depends how far you live from it. You could get a can of black beans for 59 cents and a 45-minute train ride, or you hit up your local supermarket and get the same can for 79 cents. If you’re a nostalgic Teutophile like me, you’ll take the ride to the end of Nostrand
um ein gutes Angebot zu kriegen und eine unheimliche Erfahrung zu haben to get a good deal and have an uncanny experience.