Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fight For Our Future

"This is not about commercial rent control. [The Small Business Jobs Survival Act] is the only one that can establish a better process for lease renewal. It’s the only real solution to stop the closing of long-established small businesses and save jobs." -Ydanis Rodríguz, NY Council member

All photograph by Beatriz Elena Rodriguez © 2018,
shot at the Rally for the SBJSA at City Hall on  October 23rd, 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

People Power Against Profit

Skyrocketing rents and loss of leases replace NYC’s diverse neighborhood cultures — spaces, stores and restaurants — with vacant storefronts. Tell the NY City Council to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. Come testify! Tell your story of a favorite space that closed, a lost lease, or how important it is to you to preserve NYC’s unique culture. If you cannot make it to the hearing you can still show your support for the bill.

There will be a rally and press conference on the steps of City Hall before the hearing at noon featuring David Eisenbach, (Founder of Friends of the SBJSA), Ruth Messinger (Former Manhattan Borough President and City Council Member, Original Sponsor of the SBJSA), Elvis Silverio (President at New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association, Nelson Eusebio (National Supermarket Association), Paul Lau (Executive Director of the Sportswear Apparel Association, Andrew Berman (Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation), Quenia Abreu (President & CEO, The New York Women's Chamber of Commerce), Kin Ming Lam (Garment District Factory Owner), Frank Garcia (National Association of State Latino Chambers of Commerce), Giovanni Taveras (Founder of the New York State Veteran's Chamber of Commerce), Rafael Martinez (President, NY Hispanic Chamber of Commerce), and Jeremiah Moss (Author of Vanishing New York).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

City Dreaming

"Last night, buoyed by this prospect, about 50 New Yorkers gathered at Dream Baby in the East Village for an SBJSA-themed happy hour hosted by #SaveNYC. (The bar’s location on Avenue B is, of course, not currently among the 20% of retail spaces currently sitting vacant in NYC, up from 7% just two years ago.) Attendees were offered $4 off beer and well drinks, $2 off everything else, and got a chance to organize ahead of the City Council hearing on the SBJSA scheduled for the fourth Monday in October... The event featured pro-SBJSA speakers Jeremiah Moss, Jenny Dubnau, and David Eisenbach. Moss is a #SaveNYC leader, anti-gentrification activist, and author of the book Vanishing New York. He drew guests via his beloved blog of the same name."

Text by DJ Cashmere from Bedford & Bowery
All photographs by Beatriz Elena Rodriguez © 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The City Of Tomorrow

At long last, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act is getting a hearing. Come celebrate, meet and mingle, and strategize next steps for this important event and beyond.

Jeremiah Moss and others will be speaking on the importance of this historic bill. David Eisenbach, the anti-REBNY candidate for Public Advocate, will talk about his work and what we can do to get ready for the public hearing later in October.

Dream Baby is giving #SaveNYC an extended happy hour: $4 for beer and well drinks, $2 off everything else.

Wednesday, October 3rd. 7-9PM.
Dream Baby - 162-164 Avenue A, NYC

Friday, July 21, 2017

Follow The Money

"When Mayor Bill de Blasio was a Councilmember he sponsored the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. When he ran for Public Advocate, he championed it. Now that he is mayor, he is prohibiting the same bill from reaching the floor for a vote and recommends urging landlords to be less greedy.

As we head into election-year debates, the city needs to know what happened? Why has Mayor Bill de Blasio abandoned his campaign pledges to take this city in another direction from Mike Bloomberg and help our struggling small businesses so they can survive? There are vacant storefronts in once vibrant neighborhoods and affordable grocery stores are closing all over the city.

Why hasn’t the mayor called a public hearing on the small business crisis so New Yorkers can hear all of the proposals to address it?"

Text excerpted from Powerful Forces Stop NYC Leaders from Helping Mom & Pop Stores by Kirsten Theodos (City Limits, July 20th 2017)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Not Another Starbucks

Another Starbucks is planned for the huge storefront at 125 St Mark's Place at Avenue A. We don't need more chains in the East Village! We need retail diversity and independently owned local businesses! Join community groups and local shop owners from East Village Independent Merchants Association and more to stand up for the unique character of the East Village. Support policies that can promote retail diversity, prevent chain stores and preserve small businesses! Join community groups and local shop owners from the East Village Independent Merchants Association for a protest on Thursday, July 13th at 5:30pm.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Queens March Against Gentrification

Every morning as we ride the 7 train past Queensboro Plaza we see an atrocity taking place in Long Island City. On every block we see a new skyscraper under construction. In each new building, dozens of apartments sit vacant, waiting to be filled. We work every day, struggling to get by, while city planners and politicians conspire with developers — to decide our fate without the slightest bit of compassion or regard for our lives. We see this trend in so many neighborhoods across New York City.

Long-term residents, Black and Brown communities, grandmas, immigrants and Queer youth of color have all been on the front lines of the housing struggle for decades - fighting courageously against their landlords, the bureaucracy and neglect of NYCHA, and the violence of the police and immigration agencies. These battles are sometimes collective, but very often they are individual and never reported on by the media. We write this statement, not for the politicians, but for those who are fighting — we see you and we are with you.

We are at a crucial moment in the development of this city. Currently there are three proposals being considered that will forever transform the landscape of Western Queens, and send a ripple effect throughout the borough that will even be felt in Flushing, at the opposite end of the 7 train:

• The BQX will run a luxury streetcar along the waterfront of Astoria and Long Island City all the way to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. One purpose of the streetcar is explicitly to increase land value

• The development of Sunnyside Yards will essentially create a new neighborhood in Queens, consisting of 24,000 additional housing units, the vast majority of which will be completely unaffordable to current working class residents of Queens.

• The rezoning of Long Island City will open the doorway to even more luxury real estate development, the effects of which(higher property values & rents) will spread eastward.

Any of these proposals alone would result in massive displacement and gentrification Queens. Together, they represent nothing less than an all-out assault on our neighborhoods.

On November 18th, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer led a local march against Trump. He stated, “Queens is a diverse county that appreciates and loves all its neighbors, including the undocumented,” and Trump “cannot occupy our hearts and minds and our will to live in a country that aspires to freedom and fairness and equality for all.” If Jimmy Van Bramer truly cares about all of the diverse working class immigrant communities of Queens, he will stand in firm opposition to all luxury development projects that would displace those same communities, leaving thousands homeless.

The so-called “inclusionary zoning" and “affordable housing” proposals that the city has introduced actually displace more affordable housing than they create as a result of the overall increase in property value from luxury developments. We need real solutions if we want to stop displacement.

We can no longer accept band-aid proposals that ignore the root causes of gentrification and displacement in New York City. We demand that Jimmy Van Bramer oppose, unconditionally, the BQX, Sunnyside Yards development, and the new Long Island City Rezoning. Instead, we demand an immediate city-wide rent freeze and moratorium on upzonings until a legitimate solution is achieved. Additionally, we demand Van Bramer’s unconditional opposition to the privatization of NYCHA.

On Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 6pm we will meet and rally at the 46th Street Public Plaza under the 7 train, across the street from Van Bramer’s office, and eventually march past his office and through the neighborhood.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Save Errol's Bakery

Beloved Errol's Bakery has been serving the Flatbush community for the last 15 years. On November 30th 2016, their lease expired. The owners, Dorothy and Errol Miller, are hoping that their landlord will renew their lease so they can stay at their current location at the corner of Hawthorne Street and Flatbush Avenue.

Due to gentrification, Flatbush is rapidly losing long-time small and family-owned businesses. This is why it is so important to support Errol's Bakery and other long-time small businesses in the area. Come out on December 17th from 3pm-5pm to show appreciation for the amazing Caribbean food and service that Errol's Bakery provides. Let's help ensure that Errol's Bakery is able to stay where it is and to thrive for many years to come!

For more info please contact Equality For Flatbush

Friday, October 21, 2016

Empty Chair Syndrome

"At an alarming and ever-increasing rate NYC has been losing its beloved retail, restaurants, art spaces, and other local institutions. Are we to look forward to a city filled only with chain stores, banks, and luxury boutiques?"

NY Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (the Chair of the Small Business Committee) was a no-show at last night's The Death (&Rebirth?) Of NYC's Mom-And-Pops forum, despite being scheduled to be a part of the discussion regarding the crisis-level issues facing small businesses in New York City.

Photo via Kirsten Theodos

Thursday, October 20, 2016

No Awards For Displacement

The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) is a people of color led, mass-based coalition of tenants, homeowners, block associations, anti-police brutality groups, legal and grassroots organizations working together to end the rampant gentrification and displacement of low to middle income residents of Brooklyn.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Give Small Businesses A Fighting Chance!

"When now-mayor de Blasio was a council member, he supported the SBJSA. Now, he won’t go near it. Same
goes for City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilman Brad Lander, and Public Advocate Tish James, 
all of whom supported the bill before they ascended to leadership positions." -Village Voice, September 30th 2016

Activists from the Artists Studio Affordability Project (ASAP), New Yorkers For A Human-Scale City, #SaveNYC, TakeBackNYC, and other groups stood in solidarity at a press conference on the steps of City Hall on Friday, September 30th to bring attention to the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), and to call for the scheduling of a public hearing and vote on the legislation. Inside City Hall, the Committee On Small Business and the Subcommittee on Zoning & Franchise held a sham hearing on "Oversight - Zoning and incentives for promoting retail diversity and preserving neighborhood character."

Photograph by Ann McDermott