Upper West Side Zoning Plan Could Become Model For Rest Of City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – On the two sides of Columbus Avenue at 78th Street are the two sides of the argument.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

To the west is a deli, a little boutique furniture store, and a few other small shops. To the east, the entire block is a Duane Reade, and a Chase bank.

“There’s a really sad thing. On the next block, Therapie just closed. It was small. It seemed to be one owner, one store.  They just have a lot more character than the biggest stores,” said Phyllis.

She says she’s all for the city planning department’s proposal, under which new storefronts could be no more than 40-feet-wide on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.

Broadway is too far gone already, they say.

“Children actually come up to me, I’ve been surprised, begging to keep the streetscape. They want to see a toy store,” said Coucilwoman Gale Brewer. “Because we love our mom and pops. I can’t tell you how much a neighborhood pharmacy means.”

Opponents including the Real Estate Board of New York say chain stores are popping up, because people appreciate them.

“It’s 24 hours, and a large store like this, can be 24 hours. A smaller store probably couldn’t afford the overhead,” said one shopper. “A large store like this – more jobs. Jobs is really what we need. So, when you have a large store, you have more people working there.”

The idea isn’t to keep chain stores out entirely, but to keep them from dominating.

Kenneth Yoo, owner of the party supply and stationary store Paper House on Amsterdam Avenue, tells 1010 WINS even though a store like Duane Reade is a drug store, their selection and store size cut into his business.

A Duane Reade on the Upper West Side - New York, NY - Feb 3, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

A Duane Reade on the Upper West Side - New York, NY - Feb 3, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

It’s believed the proposal for the Upper West Side could become a model for other parts of the city. It is, however, just a proposal at this point and would require approval from the City Council.

Where do you stand? Sound off in the comments section below!

  • Joe

    Thanks for making absolutely no sense!

  • aemedwedew

    Gentrification, high rents, high taxes, market trends and obsolete business models are the primary cause of the mom and pop demise on the Upper West Side. The proposed ordinance is contexual zoning which sets a aesthetic standard for the streetscape rather than solving the problems small business owners face. Targeted at new buildings, small stores will not get additional competively priced small retail space they desperately need. Large stores and banks will not be kept out as hoped by proponents. Limiting storefront sizes will never achieve the same results as small property sizes have over the last century. Big stores will just look like small ones on the outside. The genie has been let out of the bottle and any attempt to put it back with an ineffective zoning ordinance will not work.

  • dollars and SENSE

    In the last 50 years, what percentage of NY City and State tax revenue (income, sales, real estate, etc) has been outlaid for NYC public assistance and food stamp programs on an annual basis? In that same time frame, what percentage of NYC residents have received such benefits (also on a year-to-year basis)? And is it all possible that funds for such programs could ever be exhausted (at least for a few months) one day?

    • Omar

      Explain what your random question has to do with this story.

  • Esmerelda

    What about the livelihood of the small business owner ?
    Why is the City trying to kill off in so many ways the
    small business ?
    Everyone needs a job.
    The City has gone downhill since this Mayor took over.

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