Monday, August 17, 2020


This article in the Guardian begins, "On a damp and humid Thursday afternoon Manhattan’s Union Square is looking sorry for itself. There’s 73,000 sq ft of empty retail space up for grabs at 44 Union Square in the now boarded up neo-Georgian landmark that was once Tammany Hall." 

What it doesn't mention is the fact that several small mom-and-pop businesses were pushed out of the building in 2016 to make room for, undoubtedly, more chain and luxury businesses that would fit the class of workers intended for the building's high-tech makeover. 



Frank's Wines & Liquors had been there for over 40 years. A deli went, along with a smoke shop and magazine shop. Also pushed out were the New York Film Academy and the Union Square Theater.

It's unlikely that those high-tech workers are coming. And the chain stores probably aren't either, since they've now "abandoned" Manhattan after helping to destroy it. 

It is deeply regrettable that the leaders of this city didn't pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act or reinstate commercial rent regulation when it would have made a difference. How many small businesses will we lose to the pandemic after they survived the Great Depression, the major fiscal crisis and high crime of the 1970s, September 11, the financial crisis of 2008? Some even survived the pandemic of 1918. Because when the rent is reasonable, businesses can survive even the worst catastrophes.



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