Image via nyc.go
“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.” – Jeremiah Moss in today’s Daily News.
With out of control rents, insane land prices, and properties trading hands for tens of millions–if not hundreds of millions–New York has become a playground (and a bank) for the ultra-rich. While most of us complain about the rising the cost of living with little action beyond a grumble, others are far more affected, namely the “mom and pop” shops forced out to make way for high-rent-paying tenants such as Duane Reade, Chase and Starbucks. But all is not lost. The issue of small business survival seems to be gaining some traction, particularly with a new campaign called #SaveNYC launched by Jeremiah Moss of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.
In today’s Daily News, Moss writes:
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… 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. In a poem, John Updike warned: “The essence of superrich is absence. They like to demonstrate they can afford to be elsewhere. Don’t let them in. Their riches form a kind of poverty.” He was right. It is late, but it’s not too late.
Moss is dead set on getting the Small Business Jobs Survival Act passed, which would give businesses an opportunity to negotiate lease renewals and reasonable rent increases, whereas right now a landlord can outright kick a tenant out by denying a lease renewal, or hiking up rents so that only large chains can afford them. The act withered for decades under Christine Quinn when she was City Council speaker and was eventually shelved, but if Moss can wrangle the right people to back his campaign, there could be hope.
Want to join in on the fight? This Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Village View, 175 East 4th Street, Community Board 3’s economic development committee will be discussing the issue of small business survival. You can also check out the #SaveNYC website here.
[Via Daily News]
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