Monday, March 9, 2015

Can NYC be saved?

From the Daily News:

God forbid we should need our shoes repaired or shirts cleaned. Small businesses are being decimated. Every month, we lose another thousand mom-and-pops .

They’re not closing because business is bad. They’re closing because the landlords are doubling, tripling, even octupling the rents — or simply denying lease renewals. With no penalties to stop them, landlords leave the spaces vacant for months or years, waiting for a national chain, a bank or a high-end business to pay the asking price of $40,000, $60,000, $80,000 a month.

Apparently, New York’s been waiting for you Starbucks, Olive Garden and Applebee’s. And for you Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors.

Small businesses in New York City have no rights. You’ve been here 50 years and provide an important service? Tough luck — your space now belongs to Dunkin’ Donuts. You own a beloved, fourth-generation, century-old business? Get out — your landlord’s putting in a combination Chuck E. Cheese and Juicy Couture.

And despite de Blasio’s rhetorical fears about gentrification, his progressive pro-development push may well only hasten the trend.

That’s why I started the #SaveNYC campaign. We’re collecting video testimonials from New Yorkers and out-of-towners, celebrities and small business owners, asking City Hall to preserve the cultural fabric of the greatest city on earth.

First, we must pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. This bill, languishing for decades and quashed by Christine Quinn when she was City Council speaker, would give small businesses a fair chance to negotiate lease renewals and reasonable rent increases. It would keep our neighborhoods cohesive, helping to slow the tsunami of chain stores and put an end to landlord warehousing of empty, blighted spaces. It is our best hope.

Imagine a city filled with empty super-condos, money vaults in the sky. Our streetscapes will be sleek windows on the dead space of bank branches and real-estate offices.

There will be no more bookstores, no more theaters, no more places for live music. No more places to sit on a stool and drink a beer with regular folks.

When that day comes, and in some ways it is already here, what city will this be? It will be a hollow city for hollow men.

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Anonymous said...

Great idea! NYC has become so boring - everything that made it special - the mom & pop shops in the village being one of them - are long gone!

It was a sad day when the Marc Jacobs book store replaced the Biography Bookshop. Who cares about the boring thoughts of this 1%er clothing designer?

Jackson Heights Johnny said...

As a 67 year old resident of Queens, you can imagine all the "mom & pops" I have seen close over the years.

I particularly recall a small string of stores on 31st Avenue between 91st & 92nd Streets in Jackson Heights (C'mon Old Timers - think back to the 50's & 60's): Rafferty's (Men's Clothes), Lamazov's (Hardware), Joe's (barbershop) & George's (Candy Store & Soda Fountain).

George sold me my first copy of Playboy Magazine when I was about 12 or 13....

Anyway, this has been going on for decades but has now reached EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS!

Queens is in a sorry state of affairs, and the politicians do NOTHING! I truly fear for the future I am leaving my grandchildren....

Anonymous said...

Well written article, but about ten years too late. Where were articles like this when this nonsense started, and gained such a frenzied momentum during the Reign of Michael the First? The Daily News can bemoan the new New York all it likes now, but the fact is that the tabloid has the blood of NYC on its own hands. They helped create the problem by not only ignoring it up until now, but by outright cheering it on with all it's pro real estate pieces and their endless cutsey neighborhood spotlights, proclaiming Astoria, LIC, Woodside and Sunnyside etc to be, "up and coming, the next big thing in real estate" etc. spare us your crocodile tears, Daily News. You helped perpetuate this debacle, now share in the consequences. By the way, hipsters, yuppies and euro trash avoid your rag like the plague.

G.M.N said...

In this context, can NYC be saved ?


Too many external forces influence exert and impose themselves, economically and poltically to the say least, upon this city.

Troll said...

Boo hoo hoo.

Just what we don't need, another government run, taxpayer funded scam to take our taxes and steer them to some politicians buddy!

Rent control for people, now rent control for business?

Where does it end?

Anonymous said...

Its too far gone. Our Constitution has failed. Fascism is the order of the day.

*woooooohooo someone using a .nyc !!!

Anonymous said...

Mom & pop stores are meant to go in NYC. For once I won't miss most of them. They are the lowest paying salary industry in town, no benefits whatsoever, most of them treat employees like dirt, long working hours with no overtime pay. This not only goes for retail but for professional services as well (fire prevention, engineering, architecture, etc..).

Anonymous said...

Everything for "visitors" and "tourists". What about the 8 million people who call NYC home? What about us?????

Anonymous said...

This has been one of my main fears fthroughout the years...that gritty iconic New York establishments are going the way of Disneyland. NYC has already started the process of becoming generalized and sanitized to a point of seriously eroding its character. Will we wind up with a Disneyesque theme park with a high admission price? Probably as long as REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) has its way. Commercial rent control is needed to protect smaller businesses. Nothing else will work. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has barely done its job to save iconic New York. What kind of legislation can be passed to save these small businesses that will be adequately enforced? Sorry, boys and girls...little David will have a very hard time defeating big Goliath. Real estate industry NYC needs a ballistic missile to put a dent in its powers, not an anemic slingshot. This ain't The Bible. It's f-----g mega New York City. AND....with most political candidates being financed by developers, how the hell will laws get passed curbing the appetites of these real estate monsters?

Broadway Baby said...

Unfortunately throughout history, cities change their appearance. Dig up one and you will find the older one beneath it. Ask any archaeologist. What will be buried beneath our "sands" ? Stop electing pro overdevelopment representatives or watch them serve the destruction. My own councilman, Paul Vallone is owned by developers. His firm even lobbies for them. Make no mistake about it , he does not represent you or me. Yet, you dopes voted for him. I expect our nabe, cozy Broadway Flushing, to be a memory some day.. It doesn't matter that Don Paulo makes his home three blocks from me. After he's shit all over his own backyard, he will move on to greener pastures. That is what he did in Astoria!

Anonymous said...

Yes it can, but for the moment , it appears, only in pictures. Keep on snapping and thanks for the memories. You can't take that away from me. But I am just a humble not to be noticed much "senior citizen". Think of what I've seen that' s already been lost!

Anonymous said...

There will be no more bookstores (Kindle), no more theaters (Netflix), no more places for live music (Pandora, iTunes). No more places to sit on a stool and drink a beer with regular folks (over-rated).

Millenials just don't care.

Anonymous said...

Great article. All true, and defies a simple solution. There is nothing one can do to stop a landlord who chooses to not rent his property. I guess he gambles that he won't lose years and years of revenue, and hopes his place rents quickly. Makes no sense, agreed. Government won't solve the problem.

Troll said...

'Small businesses in New York City have no rights.'

Nonsense. You have the same rights as any other person or business.

You don't get a pass because you are a small business.

This city shouldn't have to bail you out. They already spend tooooo much money on the Hollywood Millionaires to get crappy programs/films made here.

Mom and Pop business usually don't hire as many workers as these chain stores (anecdotal).

I say If you can't afford the rent, move out of the city! That goes for business and people alike.

Don't use my tax dollars to bail out another failing business.

By the way, since the last horse buggy whip store close it is sooo hard to get a good horse whip!

Anonymous said...

Listen, i am sad to see Mom and Pops go, but there is an easy way not to be kicked out... own the building you are in.

Thats it.

Don't want to be evicted? Own.

Anonymous said...

The only way to save NYC is to stop being a haven for illegals. Without this nothing else matters.
Second, require city employees to live in the city. Having NYPD living in the city would scare most of the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, saved from what?

As I imagine the Indians hated our deforestation of the region, the farmers hated the original city planners paving over of the land, the home owners hated the co-op dwellers, one entrenched immigrant group hates the one growing in its midst, so do the older inhabitants hate the later inhabitants ad infinitum.

Aside from City Hall and Albany giving the mega developers our tax money under the guise of "economic development", what right does anyone who didn't buy have to complain?

The celebrated forces of creative dynamism and historical value were inevitably going to butt heads. Yeah, certain pols do things that hasten to bring it to a head, but let's face the reality property values will continue to go up as long as the city remains safe and displace people - New York can't be everything to everybody at all times.

Anonymous said...

"Listen, i am sad to see Mom and Pops go, but there is an easy way not to be kicked out... own the building you are in. Thats it.
Don't want to be evicted? Own."

You do realize that most storefront buildings market for 1-2M today, right?

By that measure, you'd see a whole lot of empty storefronts. Good luck getting a loan to start a business with those start-up costs.

"Second, require city employees to live in the city. Having NYPD living in the city would scare most of the bad guys. "

You do realize that it is no longer 1979, or even 1991, right? Safety is not the problem. Real estate prices driven through the roof by foreign investors who do not live here and do not give one fuck about anyone that lives here is.

Troll said...

Conveniently ignores the government roll in all of this.

For the business: regulation, osha guidelines, americans with disability acts

for the employee: workmans comp, worker insurance, medical leave (to lose a worker and have to hire another), can't fire for almost any reason, health insurance (obama care).

It takes a huge corporation with low overhead and a good business plan to succeed. That means the cookie cutter model for business and everything looking alike.

If it wasn't for the government some of these places could compete. In NYC there is really no chance.

It is time to stop crying over the past. It reminds me of the Seinfeld where they go back to the pizza parlor across from their school (to save George's high score on frogger). They say hello to the guy at the counter "remember us?" He replies with 'Where you been?"

For all of these people moaning over the past and waxing nostalgic: When is the last time you went and spent your hard earned money in the community? If its been a while, its time to move on!

Anonymous said...

'Second, require city employees to live in the city. Having NYPD living in the city would scare most of the bad guys.'

Go back on your meds, you are hallucinating.

Working for the city strips you of your right to live where you like? Since when?

If so, start with the politicians and their staff!

Hello Rachel Nordlinder, do you need a moving company?

Anonymous said...

Great idea! It's been tried. In Russia. They gave it up for some reason...

Anonymous said...

Looks like we have a lot of REBNY trolls posting. I guess I mussed up Paul Vallone's "hair" a little too. Hey, Don Goombah, how does it feel to be the dumbest of the Vallone sons? Who else but a fucked up narcicist like Don Pete senior would "p" on his sons? I mean, LOL, Perry, Paul and Pete Jr. How twee. Goebel should release three Hummel figures of the "PPP" boys. Groan, fart, upchuck!

Anonymous said...

Take away the uniqueness of NYC and you kill tourism. That kills New York. We have put all our eyes in the tourism basket. No foreign visitor wants to visit a rubber stamp city composed of faceless curtain wall buildings and chain stores. They could visit China, which I heard, has made duplicates of tourist icons from around the world. Now that is a theme park worth visiting.

Anonymous said...

Own my ass! Have you got several million bucks to buy your store? NYC is headed for absentee tenancy. A large percentage of condos remain unoccupied for a large portion of the year. These NY addresses are kept by wealthy foreigners who open them up again when they're in this neck of the woods. That makes for instability, the kind that happened before the Russian revolution.

Anonymous said...

Having enough Applebee's and Red Lobsters can make or break any city's tourism trade.

Anonymous said...

For all the criticism of hipsters and millennials, I could point out that all those organic shops, microbreweries and taverns are small businesses. In this day and age, mom and pop storekeepers tend to be those with multiple tattoos, Kickstarter support, a visible online presence and worth saving just as much as the 100-year-old pub, shoe repair shop and dry cleaner. Both are threatened by faceless multi-national chains and blend glass condo towers.

JQ said...

The laws that were written that caused this plague of overdevelopment seem to be set it stone. I don't think it can ever be saved, but no should stop writing about it.

From the last minute act of Mayor Fun Size when he signed an ordinance allowing higher building which led to billionaires row on 57th st.. From the gross estimates property owners are leveling on long standing shops that has had the effect of smallpox on the number of closings.
From the marketing passing as journalism from the local tv news and print media.
From the grand declarations by Mayor Big Slow feigning concern for the desperate working poor and modest income though struggling middle class families as he maintains duplicitous ties with the property pimps and listens to the warped concepts of sociopathic city planners.
From the corrupt opportunistic couriers of lying immigrants trying to become citizens because of Obama's amnesty quick fix.
From the billionaire phantom tenants and obscenely overrated actors and singers taking advantage of 421a and avoiding paying their fair share of taxes with the pied-a-tieres.
From the collective of hollow brats of generation gentrification:offspring of the obscenely wealthy,faux bohemians,artisinal food fetish deviants,purveyors of terrible art,music film.Or as they are commonly known as the target free market demographic-hipsters.

These are a lot of hurdles to jump,symbolically as high as that swiss bank account posing as a residential building one57. Although Jerry's idea is great and I hope to contribute, it's not going to have much of an effect unless he gets real star power to match the representative of the now new york brand-that lipsticked spchinter faced douchehag Ms. Swift. The alternative might be plain old fashioned anarchy. Which I'm certain that is what the miliarization of the NYPD is for as demonstrated against OCCUPY(where the fuck are they on this issue?, or have some of them already sold out?).

With all these manifestations resulting from this pestilence,cynical and pessimistic thoughts are overwhelming and all you can do is quit.

As long as I am unfortunately here, and as long as there are people chronicling this horrible phase this city is going through,like JVY and this site,I won't.

We are NYC
Live Long And Prosper

Anonymous said...

"Everything for "visitors" and "tourists". What about the 8 million people who call NYC home? What about us?????"

Pay your taxes and shut up. That's all they want out of you.

Anonymous said...

The asians sure find the money to buy their "mom and pop" stores that only cater to their own kind.

Anonymous said...

This city is going through a horrible phase. Other cities wish they were as resilient, forward thinking and diverse as our city is. Take a look at Detroit, Camden NJ, Gary IND. Does anyone think these cities will ever go back to becoming as glorious as they once were? Probably NOT !! It took city less than a decade to transform itself and become the welcoming place that it is. Now I don't agree with everything that Mayor Giuliani did back in the 90's , but he got the ball rolling and had a real vision. Now everyone wants to come here, eat at our restaurants, stay at our hotels, enjoy our museums, take in a broadway show, and the list goes on. There is a sense of fear in the air but there is also hope. The city will survive this and change for the better. As soon as Diblasio and his cronies are out of office you can bet on that !!