Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Park Slope Starbucks

Park Slope has a new Starbucks. A gigantic Starbucks. It recently opened on the corner of 7th Avenue and 9th Street in a part of the neighborhood with very few, if any, national chain stores.



This large corner spot was previously home to Brooklyn Flipster's, a burger place. Their lease was not renewed.

Too bad the city won't stand up to corporations. Too bad they won't zone to stop the spread of chain stores. Too bad they won't pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act or give us back commercial rent regulation, like we had decades ago.

Too bad Mayor de Blasio, in his own home neighborhood, won't do anything to stop the homogenization of the city and the total destruction of the small business streetscape.

Too bad no one in power will stand up and #SaveNYC.

16 comments:

Donnie Moder said...

Over the years I have noticed that Starbucks is an early harbinger of the "malling" of a neighborhood. Parkchester, Harlem, Washington Heights. They get a prime spot and pay up for it, then several other Starbucks sprout up within a few blocks. Then every chain drugstore and bank take up all the other available storefronts. Dunkin Donuts finds a way to squeeze in there too.

Mitch Golden said...

Let's just hope the people of Park Slope continue to patronize the many nice, local cafes in the neighborhood, instead of this.

David George said...

It would interesting to see what would happen if DeBlaz's dry cleaner in Park Slope were driven out by an outrageous rent increase. I certainly don't wish this proprietor any misfortune, but DeB visits that shop on his way to or from his visits to his PS gym (and there have been photo ops), all of which (bizarrely) take place during office hours (i.e., on our dime). It's going to take some of the powers that be to be personally affected before anything will change. It's wishful thinking to believe that could ever happen since none of them understand what makes a "neighborhood" or what previously made NY special (before its "mallification").

Tony Lopez said...

I recently moved from Brooklyn back to Texas (the rent is too damn high!) and I actually liked Flipsters. The service wasn't the best but the food was OK. This article makes me sad. Does anyone know if the old Melt Kraft space around the corner has been leased yet?

eddie knasiak said...

Park Slope has changed so very much since I moved there in 1981. The shop about the Starbucks in discussion used to be a gay and lesbian bookstore. Park Slope was one of the very few outer borough thriving gay and lesbian neighborhoods. Particularly the South Slope.
Sad to see my butcher, jeweler, show repair and local diner all leave in the searly 90's.
Used to love Park Slope, but not any more.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Yes, it's a bit sad that De Blasio makes such a big deal about returning to Park Slope to work out/drink coffee etc. but has nothing to say about protecting small businesses. If he weren't so tone deaf he could visit lots of long-term establishments all over the city and be more of a mensch about what's important to city residents. He could even just stroll up to the the Park Slope donut diner if city-wide travel were too daunting a prospect. It's sad to see his insularity.
I don't know what the story is at Flipsters, but a past owner certainly had an er, interesting history. Maybe the place just ran out of steam. In any event, I'm sure the rent at that corner is astronomical. It's true that there are comparatively fewer chains in Park Slope, but there are quite a few on Fifth, and a disproportionate number of banks and gyms. It's good that there are plenty of small businesses, tho' many on 7th and a lot of 5th are of the upscale 'hip'-suburban kind. Apart from donuts, bagels, Ansonia pharmacy, copy shop, Mr. Lime & Russo's, (all within 4 blocks) I'm barely on 7th, as it's expensive, there's little I'd want, and the endless hordes of wealthy parents w. their offspring ( the Lucases & Taylors, the Romulus & Remus twins) are rather depressing. I'm more likely to be on Fifth, usually below 9th, which is closer by, & still has a neighborhood feel, with some good local restaurants, repair shops, & groceries. The pressure is on there too, as development sweeps along south into Sunset Park. A big Crunch gym just displaced several small businesses, and corner delis are falling fast. In realtor parlance, it's "burgeoning" ...

Tal Hartsfeld said...

One trademark of a feckless conformist society: "One Size Fits All"

Donnie Moder said...

On today's Brian Lehrer's WNYC Ask The Mayor segment, Deblasio says he has no solution for the vanishing small business local Mom & Pop enterprises. None, period. Even though a prized italian diner is being forced out of his neighborhood just a block from his house due to a rent increase.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Thanks Donnie, I'm listening now. Amazing...we had commercial rent control for years in NYC. Why not now?

Scout said...

Jeremiah wrote "we had commercial rent control for years in NYC. Why not now?"

That's easy to answer - the City can't raise property taxes on landlords while at the same time capping the rents they can collect.

Pretending that we don't know the reasons behind what's happening won't help solve the problem. This is a question of a City trying to fill its coffers and avoid the near-bankruptcy that happened in the 70s, by using the laziest methods possible. The Mayor and City Council need to have their feet held to the fire, be forced to earn their self-inflated incomes, and find solutions that work for the entire community, not just the wealthy.

Sam said...

I do think it's worth saying that De Blasio believes that commercial rent control - as the City Council has proposed - wouldn't pass legal muster. He suggested on the radio that those who have proposals to send them through WNYC, and he would look at them.

Jeremiah, is it worth sending your suggestion directly to WNYC and have Lehrer raise the issue with him?

Jeremiah Moss said...

It's not the 1970s anymore. All those neoliberal measures put in place by Koch, and built upon mostly by Giuliani and Bloomberg, have got to end. They are outdated and they are killing the city.

Will de Blasio stand up to Big Real Estate? Doubtful. They've been given so much power, over the past 30 years, they're more powerful than City Hall. They need to be taken down.

Scout said...

Jeremiah wrote: "All those neoliberal measures put in place by Koch, and built upon mostly by Giuliani and Bloomberg, have got to end."

I'm loathe to engage with that tired and overused word "neoliberal" (it's generally used to mean "anyone with a different economic theory than mine"), it needs to be pointed out that the City has not yet given all economic control to the private sector (the basic definition of "neoliberal"). Once the last public school has closed, the last social service program been shut down, and the MTA gone back to being privately owned by various corporations or individuals, then we can say neoliberal principles run the City.

"They are outdated and they are killing the city."

I can't speak about "outdated" (that's for history books to discuss), but as for "killing" the City... we might need to define "killing." City Council would argue that NYC is in better shape financially than it has been since 1960. The population continues to swell. Is the city as fun, interesting, and charming as it was 35 years ago? I would say no, many would agree; many others would say they prefer the safety of today's City to the chaos of the 70s and early 80s. Many newcomers think that we're living in a Golden Age right now (I've heard them say so, and I keep my disagreement to myself).

Regarding taking Big Real estate down - I agree that it's an admirable goal; but every movement needs praxis, and so few movements today have any at all. What's the functional strategy for achieving this goal? From where will the power come to sway political opinion in our favor?

We're all very aware of the problem - the awareness stage has been achieved; who will find the solution?

Richard Federico said...

Great point Scout! The city had a one trick pony plan to get us out of almost certain collapse while they secured their inflated salaries. Consequently over the years our Mayors and city council have gotten themselves into a bit of a quagmire relying solely on laissez-faire capitalism as an easy solution for everything.

It looks like their plan has backfired as we are now witnessing the collapse of our most prized assets, our history, our family run and locally owned businesses, and our colloquial identity. It's all being replaced now with global banality and mediocrity while the native New Yorker was sold out in the deal.

As Jeremiah says, the real estate companies are now more powerful than ever and need to be stopped. They are in control now and are trying to mine every square inch of this city for every speculative penny they can get before it all goes to hell... Brace for impact!

John K said...

Scout wrote: it needs to be pointed out that the City has not yet given all economic control to the private sector (the basic definition of "neoliberal"). Once the last public school has closed, the last social service program been shut down, and the MTA gone back to being privately owned by various corporations or individuals, then we can say neoliberal principles run the City.

Uh, no. Neoliberalism is NOT an all-or-nothing proposition, and in fact it can and has been introduced in stages throughout the West. Neoliberalism in its basic form is ceding control, in partial or full form, to the market (whether free or not). So partial privatization and shifting of resources to private corporations, selling off of state and municipal assets and commons, and defunding of public goods, etc., ALL constitute neoliberalism. It is neither a "tired" term, nor one to be disdained, since it continues to proliferate rather than being arrested in any reasonable form or fashion, not just in New York City, but across the US, and the globe. We ignore it at our peril, as the proliferation of private equity control of many public functions is now demonstrating. The New York Times's deeply disturbing series on public equity's growing control of public institutions is here.

Additionally, the power of the real estate industry in New York City extends to Albany. Let's not forget that Sheldon Silver's power derived in large part from his corrupt dealings with the real estate industry, which is how he was brought down. Any reasonable checks on the real estate industry in New York would require collaboration between forces in City Hall, the Mayor's office, and Albany. Unfortunately Governor Andrew Cuomo, like many "New Democrats"--remember, he was a member of the Clinton administration and help to dismantle public housing initiatives there--does not see the neoliberal shift as a problem, In fact, he's all for it.

What's the functional strategy for achieving this goal? From where will the power come to sway political opinion in our favor?

This is the pressing question anyone who cares about preserving what remains of pre-hypergentrification New York should be asking. As you point out, for many newcomers the changes have become naturalized and normalized, so they don't see there being an issue. This mass erasure of the old New York City is also thought to be "inevitable," "progress," the kind of change every city undergoes. Past history beomes just another commodifiable moment to be used by the culture industry (punk couture at the Met!) and corporations. But there are other ways of thinking about and preserving the vitality of pre-hypergentrified New York, and the challenge is, how to enlist cultural leaders, City Hall, the Mayor's office, the State legislature, and longtime New Yorkers themselves to ensure that Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, etc. don't all become sterilized redoubts of the millionaire and billionaire classes. It's too late for San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area, where families are being pushed out en masse, but New York and its urban northeastern New Jersey counterparts don't have to go this route.

Ob Askin said...

Used to spend a lot of time here in the '80s, when it was "The Alamo." Our bar crawl would start here, then hit just about every saloon along Seventh Avenue (Rex, The Coach House, Santa Fe Grill, etc.) until our night would end at 4 AM at Mooney's, an Irish Pub on Flatbush.