Looking around the East Village, it seems that Icon Realty is the most hated realty company in the neighborhood. Maybe it's because they've been pushing out our favorite small businesses left and right -- and leaving the empty spaces sitting empty, plastered with their corporate logo.
The neighborhood is filling up with Icon Realty signs -- more high-rent blight -- in many cases, stretched across the entire length of buildings as they've emptied whole ground floors.
And wherever the signs appear, locals are expressing their outrage. People recently protested on E. 9th Street. Many are leaving angry messages.
"FUCK ICON," they say in graffiti.
They're slapping stickers to the signs that read:
"VACANT: DUE TO SELFISH LANDLORD."
But the biggest protest message so far just appeared spray-painted in big capital letters across the sidewalk in front of the dearly departed Stage Restaurant on Second Avenue.
"DO NOT RENT HERE," it says, "DO NOT BUY HERE. BOYCOTT IN EFFECT," with arrows pointing to 128 Second Avenue.
This sounds like the sort of boycott that successfully saved the Upper West Side's Suba Pharmacy from becoming a bank 10 years ago. Neighbors vowed to boycott the bank if it moved into Suba's space, and that helped save it from eviction.
The maker of this message might be using a similar tactic, launching a boycott of the business opting to rent the Stage's space at 128 Second Avenue. That means you, Kati Roll.
With no protections for small businesses from City Hall, people are doing whatever it takes to save what's left of our local streetscape and its rapidly vanishing mom and pops.