CB3 to City: Give Bowery Newsstand Operator a Break

Marilyn Louie's newsstand has been located at 18 Bowery for 35 years.
Newsstand located at 18 Bowery.

In nine days, Bowery newsstand operator Marilyn Louie could be forced to move to a new location or shut down her little business, after 35 years on a Chinatown street corner.  Last week, we reported that Community Board 3’s transportation committee had voted in favor a resolution urging the city to allow Louie to stay in her current location, in spite of a ruling that a new newsstand bureaucrats required her to install is three inches too wide for the sidewalk.

Now we have the full text of that draft resolution. We’re posting it today because  CB3’s full board will not vote to okay the resolution until a week from tomorrow, one day before Louie’s deadline to close her newsstand at 18 Bowery.  Who knows? Maybe someone at the Department of Transportation or the Department of Consumer Affairs will get the message!

Keep in mind, this resolution is not the final version that will be sent on to the city. It could be changed by the community board next week.

WHEREAS, Marilyn Louie has owned and managed the newsstand at 18 Bowery and Pell St since the 1980’s, and before that her father, a WWII veteran, owned the newsstand since the 1970’s. It is evident that this newsstand is a valued asset to the community that enhances the quality of life, as demonstrated by the large turnout of local residents at the CB3 Transportation Committee meeting and the 735 signatures gathered over 4 days on a petition in support of retaining the newsstand at the current location; and

WHEREAS, this newsstand is the standard NYC newsstand structure and was permitted in this location; and

WHEREAS, The Dept. of Consumer Affairs (DCA) cannot issue a license unless approved by the Dept. of Transportation (DOT). DOT has stated that this newsstand has not passed inspection. The amount of noncompliance in question is currently 3″ and will be less with the new Cemusa structure; and

WHEREAS, NYC Administrative Code Title 20, Consumer Affairs, Chapter 2, Subchapter 7, 20-231-E allows for grandfathering; and

WHEREAS, There is a lack of consistency among NYC agencies regarding grandfathering. For example, the Dept. of Buildings (DOB) grandfathers existing businesses even if they are contrary to zoning; and

WHEREAS, Marilyn Louie’s newsstand is a small local mom-and-pop business, exactly the type of small business the City seeks to foster and help and Community Board 3 has a policy of retaining mom-and-pop local businesses;

THEREFORE, be it resolved, CB3 believes that Marilyn Louie’s newsstand at 18 Bowery should be grandfathered in the present location, regardless of whether a new structure is installed, because this is an existing newsstand business that has been in continuous operation at this location for over 35 years. This is consistent with grandfathering policies currently extended by
City agencies.