Perhaps it is not surprising that a bevy of boardwalk shops in Coney Island are about to be replaced by blase brand-names. After all, this has been exactly the case all over the city for the past decade or so, having only gotten worse during the latest economic downturn.
It is a sad tale of stagnation and suburbanization told in the latest issue of City Limits magazine:
Neither the city nor the state tracks the number of small-business closures or openings, but store owners and their advocates, economists and real estate experts agree that recent years have been extraordinarily difficult for shopkeeping.
A study last year by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s office found that of 5,991 stores surveyed citywide, 726 had closed or were in the process of closing—more than 12 percent. According to the federal Small Business Administration, the number of SBA-approved small-business loans in the five boroughs plummeted 500 percent from 2007 to 2009. The number of commercial eviction warrants—nearly 29,000 in New York City between 2006 and 2009—is cited as another indicator of how businesses are struggling.
The magazine blames not only the recession, national trends and the middle-class middlebrowing of the city but also the mayor who has been in office throughtout much of this time. For those who grew up in New York–or moved here–loving not only the beautiful buildings but the unique people inside, City Limits tells a sad tale, one far from over.
So next time you duck into Subway instead of the deli around the corner that makes its own corned beef, or pay full price at a Barnes & Noble or even half-price on Amazon, think long and hard about what you are doing to the city.