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Campaign to Save New York’s Small Businesses Raises Its Profile

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“For rent” signs dot Clinton Street.

This coming week, Community Board 3’s economic development committee will be looking at the issue of small business survival from several angles.

The Small Business Congress will make a presentation on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, proposed legislation that has been blocked in the City Council for years. It would give commercial tenants some leverage in negotiating lease renewals with landlords. Also, the committee will continue a discussion it’s been having for a long time about the possibility of a special zoning district that would give small businesses a fighting chance against chain stores. And the city’s Department of Small Business Services will discuss efforts to reduce the many onerous regulations that shop owners and other small operators must follow.

The issue of small business survival seems to be gaining some traction. The other night, there was a panel discussion in the West Village about what can be done to help “mom and pop” businesses. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York has launched an initiative called #savenyc. In today’s Daily News, he 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.

Here’s the link to the #saveNYC website. CB3’s economic development committee meets Wednrsday at 630 p.m. at Village View, 175 East 4th St.

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  1. What exactly is the Lower East Side Business Improvement doing about this? Even board members of the BID have empty storefronts.

  2. That is a great quote from Updike. Never heard it before – but it feels so true. Especially along West 57th.

  3. so lower real estate taxes and stores and market tenants won’t be charged to cover the increased expenses on the buildings

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