This past Saturday, #SaveNYC organized a Small Business Crawl on the block of Second Avenue most impacted by the recent gas explosion.
photo: Beatriz Rodriguez. Sandy Bachom and Jordy Trachtenberg.
While it's impossible to say exactly how many people showed up to support the businesses, there was a lively crowd and the event was an overall success. The East Village mom and pops got a lot of positive attention from the media, getting featured on local TV news channels, including NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX5, NY1, and WPIX:
To kick off the day, the crowd of supporters met outside Gem Spa, where the vintage newsstand kept the egg creams flowing. They lunched at places like Paul's Da Burger Joint, who reported to #SaveNYC's Kirsten Theodos, "It was a big help, as it pushed business up nearly 40%." The little gift shop Himalayan Visions also did well, reporting their sales were up 200% on Saturday.
Small Biz Crawl supporter Jordy Trachtenberg wrote in to say, "I spoke to the Gem Spa folks and they told me that Saturday was their record day for selling egg creams. Over 350 of them! Wow!"
photo: Kim Cummings. #SaveNYC Steering Committee at work
Business owners very much appreciated the support from New Yorkers far and wide. In a note, Himalayan Visions owner Tenzin wrote:
"Thank you so much for organizing Small Bis Crawl. As I told you that on Saturday their was a lots of people came to support us from our community and also from different apart of area. I was so amaze to see these kind of support. It give us a lots hope & encourage to work hard no matter happen. Lastly, I must say that 'if you contribute happiness to others people life, it is a true meaning of life' -HHDL. Once again thank you so much."
Small Biz Crawl Boosts Blast Zone Business from Bedford + Bowery
Unfortunately, beloved legacy businesses like B&H Dairy and the Stage Restaurant were closed on Saturday, and remain closed. A fundraising page to support B&H has collected over $22,000, money that the beloved dairy luncheonette will need to stay alive.
In disturbing news, while more than 1,000 people have signed a petition to reopen the equally beloved Stage, landlord Icon Realty just evicted them. While there are reports of problems with the gas line, we also recall when E.V. Grieve reported in 2013 that the building was sold "to a group of four relatively young guys" who were heard "talking about 'clearing out' the shop in the front" of the building.
The Stage family has released a statement on their Facebook page. In part, it reads: "We at the Stage Restaurant are deeply troubled by the landlord’s false allegations that we engaged in any illegal siphoning of gas. Stage is a long-standing restaurant with deep connections to the community – we have never siphoned gas, and have committed no wrong... the Landlord is seizing on the recent tragic events as an opportunity to wrongfully evict us for reasons unknown to us."
In addition, Mariann Marlowe's rockabilly shop Enz's (since 1972) has been destroyed. Visit her fundraising page to help her rebuild and get back to business.
photo: Janko Puls
#SaveNYC is planning more actions to support these and other nearby businesses. If you would like to participate in our ongoing efforts, visit the #SaveNYC website, send in videos and photos, and join the Facebook group.