Saturday, March 15, 2008

Restricting banks in Harlem, not in Queens

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with banks. (Why, we use one ourselves for the cash that we don’t keep in a hollowed-out dummy book.) But when banks start to appear cheek-by-jowl-by- cheek-by-jowl, they can drain a lot of life out of a street.

Richard Barth, executive director of the City Planning Department, elaborated: “Banks can have have a deadening effect... They can take away from pedestrian activity. They’re not 24-hour uses. In many cases, they’re no more than 9-to-5 uses. And they can potentially take up space” that could be occupied for arts, entertainment or retail purposes.

As a result, the new zoning restricts banks. They cannot occupy the ground floor of new buildings along 125th Street, between Broadway and Second Avenue, or the ground floor of new enlargements to existing buildings. They may, however, have an entranceway or lobby on the ground floor that leads to banking space on another floor. A limited amount of ground-floor space may be devoted to automated teller machines.

Why is 125th Street being protected and not the rest of the city? Commercial districts throughout Queens, for example, are seeing their small merchants being replaced by banks and no one at city planning seems to care. They must want them to "drain the life" out of our streets.


Anonymous said...

The covert (or not so covert) plan for Harlem
is for it to be gentrified !

The real estate is considered (by the closet bigots)
far too valuable for African Americans to occupy.

If a bunch of banks string together in a daisy chain along 125th Street, it might look
to the current residents that their neighborhood
is under assault by the money interests.

But that's EXACTLY what's happening !

Anonymous said...

Let's face it.
There's one industry that hasn't fled New York.
It's the real estate industry!

Greedy Queens commercial landlords
continue to boost their rents to well beyond
the market rate.

The only kind of businesses that can afford to pay
these rent gouged rates are BANKS, chain drug stores, fast food & restaurant franchises.

It's time NYC adopted some form of
small business rent control to keep store owners
who provide essential services
to our neighborhoods from being forced out!

Anonymous said...

You all should move to a communist country since you want the government to control everything.

Anonymous said...

You need lots of banks in Queens to:

1. 'speak your language'

2. bleed a community by sending money home rather than spending it locally to help the neighborhood

3. issue mortgages so local groups can get into the community and be ready made tweeded in a heartbeat.

For example, Brazilians show up in Astoria, and within months every bank has a native speaker advertising mortgages and new buildings have open houses featureing samba music.

Preservationists may stumble around unfocused and naive, but the machine rumbles along laying its pavement.

Anonymous said...

That is funny about Astoria: block after block of banks, 99 cent stores, nail salons, pharmacies, and third world dining experieces (and the scattering of clubs with a rough element)

Yup, there is one community that is gentrifying. Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Astoria was a dump 10-20 years ago. The great new restaurants, cafes, retail and activity are have been terrific improvements.

Anonymous said...

"You all should move to a communist country".

How about giving up
your Social Security entitlements
(a "communistic" program)
you reactionary ignorant sphincter .

If the government had done a better job
of controlling the banks
in their sub-prime lending idiocy,
we wouldn't be in the middle of a recession.

Yes, after beating around the bush for some time,
our president has finally concurred
that we're in one.

Anonymous said...

Astoria was a dump 10-20 years ago. The great new restaurants, cafes, retail and activity are have been terrific improvements.


talk to people suffering above those hooka places or on Braodway above those clubs catering to white trash that deosnt even live here.

just because you say something does not make it real

see you at rotiboti with the other cabbies!

Anonymous said...

Astoria was GREAT 20 years ago before all the absentee landlords started filling the basements with Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

"the great new retail"


'nuff said about where that nabe is going.

Anonymous said...

Funny you would say that about the Brazilians. Went to the 30th Ave Street Fair last year. It usually is a pretty good fair.

The place was mobbed with green and yellow and a gigantic concert stage of Brazilian music (sponsord, thank you Major Auto) and in front of it table after table of Brazilian themed booths with sponsord by real estate agencies.

We were astonished. Even more so when we saw that someone had blogged before the event that it was the First Annual Brazlian Independence Day Festival.

We were even more surprised to see CDs of the concert for sell a few days later.

Now, the funny thing is no one on the 30th Ave Merchants were even aware that their event was hijacked.

Its bad enough that now we will get that f*en Queen Catherine statue in Athens Square or the like, but who in the hell is organizing those people to set down roots and move into the community?

Anonymous said...

Astoria is still a dump. You can't buy a book, a CD, a decent pair of have a few semi-decent chain stores on Steinway Street and even those are cluttered messes. It's all Rite Aid, 99-cent stores, a few little boutiques with clothes that look like they're for hookers, and banks, banks and more banks. A few Greek coffee shops do not make a neighborhood. What about the Bank Restaurant? Rizzo's Italian village? Gables? Just a few that disappeared in the last 5-10 years.

Did you know Barnes & Noble looked at the space previously occupied by the Oyster Bay catering hall, but the building owner said, "no, thanks." And it remains empty except for a gym that no one seems to use. That's just on Broadway; the rest of the neighborhood is going in the same direction.

We Light Up Queens said...

I couldn't agree more with these banks deadening affect. Its understandable that these banks want to reach all their customers but it really is useless for the other 98% of the people frequenting the area. I think that restriction should be extended to Queens. To the second poster, you do have a good point but at the same time I rather see another banks than an always empty failing restaurant, there is already enough in the area, and I wont go into further details.

Anonymous said...

Did you know Barnes & Noble looked at the space previously occupied by the Oyster Bay catering hall, but the building owner said, "no, thanks." And it remains empty except for a gym that no one seems to use.

That is the problem in that community - the people that control the real estate are running it into the ground - they rent to anything as long as they get a buck, never invest in upgrades, and haven't the foggiest imagination to do anything new.

They may have money, but they are crude, ill-eduated, and have no creativity.

Its a shame - the people that left them a community left it a strong place.

It takes a lot to kill what was once a good place.