Last week, blogger Travelerette posted a cornucopia of photos showing the ghost town that Greenwich Village has become, thanks to greedy landlords who kick out commercial tenants, and then warehouse the empty spaces while they wait for high-paying national chain stores to move in.
What happens? The spaces sit vacant for months and years.
all photos by Travelerette
This past spring, Tim Wu in The New Yorker online called this phenomenon "high-rent blight." It's a plague across hyper-gentrified parts of the city.
This summer, Tribeca Citizen found 100 empty spaces in their neighborhood and posted the photos.
"I had gotten the general impression, while wandering around the Village, that there seemed to be an unseemly amount of hideous and depressing burned out storefronts where once there had been vintage clothing stores, Chinese restaurants that serve cold sesame noodles, and tea shops frequented by local drag queens. But was this just a vague impression, or could I back it up by careful research?
I decided to spend today roaming around the Village from Broadway to the east, Hudson to the west, Houston to the south, and 14th Street to the north. photographing all of the pathetically empty ghost buildings I could find. I was going to stop at 100, but at last count I had 103." And there's more.
There is no dis-incentive for creating high-rent blight. Leaving storefronts vacant is a big part of the hyper-gentrification process that is killing New York. Landlords hike the rents--doubling, tripling, quintupling--to essentially evict good commercial tenants. So we lose our beloved, long-standing mom and pops, and for what? Nothing, and then more nothing, followed by a Starbucks or Marc Jacobs. And the city isn't the city anymore.
It's time to fine landlords for leaving spaces vacant for extended periods of time. In San Francisco, landlords get fined. In London, it's done through taxes. Tell our City Hall to take action. Join #SaveNYC and fight for the life of this city.