When the 25-year-old Jesse's Deli got the boot from its landlord in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, local customers Doug Cameron and Tommy Noonan protested with a colorful collection of "artisanal landlord price hike" posters. They created a sensation.
all photos courtesy Doug Cameron
Now they've turned their talents to a block of mom and pops in Washington Heights. The businesses, many of which have been on Broadway and West 162nd for decades, have been evicted by the building's new owners, again with an impossible rent hike. (Read about their story in the Village Voice.)
Doug Cameron explained to Vanishing New York:
"This time an entire block in Washington Heights is throwing a ‘Gentrification In Progress’ Sale. The Punta Cana is officially rebranded as the Casa de Campo, which is the name of an extremely wealthy gated community and resort in the Dominican Republic. Posters in its windows now offer 'small plates for twice the price,' such as a single Hand-Cut Seasonal Summer French Fry for $8.99. The awning displays the new Casa de Campo name, along with the logo of a large wealthy man with a monocle eating a tiny portion plate of food."
"The only other business that has not yet moved in the past couple weeks is the Frutera El Buen Camino. The landlord can’t re-rent the space because of a structural problem. Now, next to the Frutera is a new awning: The Nueva Frutera El Buen Hipster, a yuppie juice bar offering Fresh-Mowed Wheatgrass Shots for $7.99, and Locally-Skimmed Pond Scum Smoothies for $14.99."
Doug and Tommy have included a call to action as well: "Tell Bill De Blasio to support the Bill De Bodega," a.k.a. the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). They've also created a site for the Bill de Bodega.
For more on what you can do to save small businesses in the city, visit #SaveNYC and join the group on Facebook.