Vacant thinking

14 Dec 2017
Reade-vacant-storefront square

Every day, it seems, another beloved restaurant, flower shop or shoe-shine-place closes it doors due to rising rents. Everyone now agrees that loss of mom-and-pop small businesses in NYC has reached a critical level. Invariably, the spaces remain vacant for months or years, making matters worse. The causes of this problem — gentrification, greed, and the rise of online retailing — seem too complex, and maybe event impossible to root out.

But that is what government is for — to correct unfairness of the unregulated, and inefficient, free market. Today, the City Council released a report — Planning for Retail Diversity: Supporting NYC’s Neighborhood Businesses — that lays out 20 concrete steps our elected officials can take. Rather than scapegoating street vendors as part of the problem, the report acknowledges that vendors are also small businesses, and they can and should be part of the solution. After all, every vendor we know dreams of having a roof over their business one day, including SVP member Christine Lynch, who testified at the Council’s hearing on the issue on behalf of so many others.

 

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