Kavanagh and Niou Aim to Protect Small Businesses by Offering Tax Incentives to Landlords
This iconic array of small shops on Fulton Street evokes the changing retail landscape Downtown, where small businesses have been buffeted by rising rents and cut-throat competition from e-commerce giants, along with a succession of cataclysms — from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, the floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and (most recently) the pandemic coronavirus.
Two State legislators representing Lower Manhattan are proposing to rescue small businesses with a plan that would trade tax credits to landlords for rent breaks to commercial tenants.
Inspired by the acute financial distress that small businesses are experiencing in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus (and the economic cataclysm that it has unleashed), the “COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Lease Act,” sponsored in the State Senate by Brian Kavanagh and the Assembly by Yuh-Line Niou, aims to entice property owners to renegotiate leases and offer long-term, affordable rents to small business owners.
After months of closures, social distancing orders, and quarantine measures, rent is among the most pressing challenges for struggling small businesses. The New York Hospitality Alliance says that 83 percent of restaurants were unable to pay full rent in July. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce reports that more than half of businesses surveyed are worried about staying open, and just 20 percent have been able to negotiate some form of rent relief with landlords. Nearly one-third are continuing to report missing rent payments due to the pandemic. And a report by the Partnership for New York City documents that up to 520,000 jobs have been lost in the small business sector.
State Senator Brian Kavanagh: “Vacant storefronts and rising commercial rents are not a new phenomenon in New York, but the public health and economic crises have greatly exacerbated the hardships facing our small businesses.”
“Vacant storefronts and rising commercial rents are not a new phenomenon in New York, but the public-health and economic crises have greatly exacerbated the hardships facing our small businesses,” says Senator Kavanagh. “When storefronts are vacated, that can have a ripple effect, with reduced foot traffic making it harder for other businesses to thrive, jeopardizing the whole neighborhood. At the same time, many property owners are having difficulty paying their property taxes and maintaining their buildings. We know that we will need multiple approaches to solve these interrelated crises, but we hope that recovery leases will provide our neighborhood businesses and property owners with one significant path to relief and offer them some much needed long-term security.”
“It is long overdue that we put into place relief measures to protect our small businesses that are at risk of closing or laying off employees,” says Assembly member Niou. “We have already seen far too many of our local businesses closed and had too many of our community members laid off. In my district, we saw and felt the economic devastation due to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in January. It is necessary that we ensure that our remaining small businesses and small-business owners, who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19, are able to continue to maintain their commercial spaces through negotiated leases and long-term affordable rents. If we do not put this legislation in place, more of our small businesses, which are mostly immigrant-owned, run the risk of closing and leaving our neighborhoods without the resources and vibrancy we need. This legislation is an important first step in supporting our businesses before it is too late for any recovery.”
A row on storefronts on Hanover Square is emblematic of the shifting ground in Lower Manhattan, where small businesses face ruin in the current economic slowdown — distress compounded by higher fixed costs (such as rent) than in many other communities and the fact that many of the 1,000-plus shops and restaurants below Chambers Street are dependent on tourism and business travel for their livelihood. Both of these customer bases have largely disappeared for the foreseeable future.
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou: “We have already seen far too many of our local businesses closed and had too many of our community members laid off. It is necessary that we ensure that our remaining small businesses and small-business owners are able to maintain their commercial spaces through negotiated leases and long-term affordable rents.”
The bill, recently introduced by Mr. Kavangh and Ms. Niou in their respective chambers of the Albany legislature, would authorize the City Hall to create a program to provide relief to both small business owners and building owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program would grant property tax abatements to building owners who enter into recovery leases that last at least ten years, and limit annual rent increases. Commercial tenants restructuring their current leases, or those entering into new leases (for spaces left vacant for reasons other than eviction) would be eligible to enter into a recovery lease.
While the bill would apply to landlords and small business throughout the five boroughs, it would have an especially pronounced impact in Lower Manhattan, where many hundreds of small businesses are facing ruin in the current economic slowdown — distress compounded by higher fixed costs (such as rent) than in many other communities, cut-throat competition from e-commerce giants, and the fact that many of the 1,000-plus shops and restaurants below Canal Street are dependent on tourism and business travel for their livelihood. Both of these customer bases have largely disappeared for the foreseeable future.
“I believe this program will benefit many small businesses in the Chinatown community,” said Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership. “I especially like that it helps both landlords and tenants. One of the lessons we have learned from this crisis is that we must do as much as we can for as long as we can to keep small business owners from shutting their doors, because once they vacate or leave, it is likely that it will take a long, long time before we can find another to take their place.”
Putting the ‘Down’ in
Downtown Real Estate
Local Apartment Rents and Sales Prices Tumbled in the Second Quarter
A trio of reports quantifies the extent to which property prices in Lower Manhattan crumbled in the three months ending June 30.
A pair of analyses from Platinum Properties, a brokerage firm headquartered in the Financial District, looks in detail at Battery Park City and the Financial District.
The company’s report about Battery Park City documents that the average sales price for a condominium in the community dropped by 24.81 percent, relative to the second quarter of 2019, to $1.16 million. This aggregate figure varies by apartment size, with the worst pain reserved for sellers of two-bedroom units, which dropped by 42.4 percent from the first quarter of this year. The number of units sold fell by more than half, to just nine apartments.
Visionary Plans for Getting Around Downtown Focus on Two Wheels and Two Feet
A pair of new studies outlines a future for Lower Manhattan that is highly cyclical. The first of these, a report from the Downtown Alliance titled, “Bicycle Infrastructure & Commuting in Lower Manhattan,” notes that more than 20 percent of people who are employed Downtown currently walk or bike to work, while nearly one-third of people who live here get to and from their places of business in the same way.
These hardy souls are among some 49,000 New York City commuters (concentrated mainly in Manhattan and Brooklyn) who get to the office and back under the power of their own legs each day — a figure that has jumped 55 percent since 2012, and is growing by roughly nine percent each year.
Following a six-month closure due to the COVID-19, the New Museum announced that it will reopen to the public on September 15, 2020. Admission will be free through September 27 as a welcoming gesture.
Upon reopening, the Museum will resume its normal days and hours of operation, 11am – 6PM every day except Thursday where the Museum is open until 9pm. It is closed on Monday.
Admission will be through timed ticketing and visitorship will be limited to less than 25% of capacity. All visitors will be required to reserve tickets in advance online at newmuseum.org, beginning August 31, 2020.
In the Galleries:ning, the New Museum’s acclaimed exhibitions will remain on view, “Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment,” “Jordan Casteel: Within Reach,” and “Daiga Grantina: What Eats Around Itself.” The Peter Saul and Jordan Casteel exhibitions opened on February 11 and 19 respectively, just weeks before the COVID-19 closure. The exhibitions will remain on view through the end of the year.
Whitney Museum to Reopen
The Whitney will reopen on September 3 for members and a few days later for the general public.
A weekly bagpipe tribute honors those who died on 9/11 as well as those who are sick or who have died from exposure to hazards and toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. Bagpipers play near the 9/11 Memorial Glade.
Meeting of the Members of the Battery Park City Authority
Battery Park City Authority
Anyone wishing to participate in the public comment period should submit their comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 5:30 p.m. on the day prior to the Meeting. Comments should be no longer than two minutes in length, and may be read into the record during the livestream broadcast. BPCA reserves the right to prioritize comments that have not been previously raised.
Demagogue: The Life And Long Shadow Of Senator Joe McCarthy
Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy was one of the most controversial people in 1950s America, championing an anti-communist movement that often gave way to antisemitism. In Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, bestselling author Larry Tye offers a comprehensive portrait of McCarthy based on the first-ever review of his personal and professional papers, medical and military records, and recently unsealed transcripts of his closed-door Congressional hearings. Join Tye for a discussion of his new book and McCarthy’s complex legacy. $10 suggested donation
Theatre For One: Here We Are
Brookfield Place New York
Theatre for One is a mobile state-of-the-art performance space for one actor and one audience member. Conceived by Artistic Director Christine Jones and designed by LOT-EK architects, Theatre for One commissions new work created specifically for this venue’s one-to-one relationship and is presented in public spaces.
Embracing serendipity, Theatre for One is presented in public spaces in which audience members are invited to enter into an intimate theatrical exchange in which actor and audience encounter each other as strangers and are equally dependent on each other.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, artists have been challenged to reconceive the traditional performance space. Theatre For One has answered this with a new performance venue in which your computer is the proscenium and your screen is the fourth wall we are reaching through. In recognition of these facts below and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, we are commissioning a collection of micro-plays by BIPOC women writers for an online residency. We believe that rebuilding a system means taking different actions from within. You must sign up in advance. The performance is completely online.https://www.artsbrookfield.com/event/theatre-for-one-here-we-are/
Community Board 1 Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee
1) Remembering Abolition Park & Helping its Inhabitants with Services – Discussion
On a rare trip tp midtown, I was walking west on East 41st Street as the morning sun illuminated the New York Public Library. This bronze plaque in the sidewalk, part of Library Way, stopped me in my tracks.
To the editor,
It’s interesting that in face of falling rents and vacancies, how tenants under a supposedly sympathetic democrat administration in NYC can’t get good deals.
To the editor,
I am thrilled to see this coming to fruition. I remember the old church and my many visits to it and of course the old World Trade Center buildings in the 80’s and 90’s.
Sounds like a good deal for the Orthodox community and eagerly anticipate visiting the finished product.
To the editor:
In response to: “Being Vigilant about the View CB1 Opposes New Restaurant Planned for Public Land Proposed in Seaport” …
How closed minded could CB1 possibly be?
They’ve shut down all the good ideas to make the waterfront a premier destination that will bring in visitors and revenue to our area. They are upset the view will be blocked?
What’s better … the vagabonds that have taken up residence under the FDR?
To the editor,
Thank goodness for CB 1 and members such as Bruce Ehrmann who, in denying the application for a restaurant under the FDR Drive that would block street level views of the river and our tall ships understand New Yorkers walk and look!
We have lost so many open vistas around the Seaport area due to overdevelopment we need more fighters like Bruce and those at Community Board 1 who treasure what preserving River and Seaport views means to all who love Our City.
New Doc on the Block
Tribeca Pediatrics Founder Gets CB1’s Blessing to Renovate Historic Seaport Building
Community Board 1 (CB1) is giving its approval to a proposal to alter a building within the South Street Seaport Historic District, while also noting that the developer has gone out of his way to address the concerns of community leaders.
The property is 107 South Street (between Beekman Street and Peck Slip), which dates from 1900, and has been vacant for decades. In 2019, the building was purchased (for $6 million) by Dr. Michel Cohen, who will be familiar to many Lower Manhattan residents as the physician who founded Tribeca Pediatrics, and has helped care for a generation of Downtown kids.
CB1 Opposes New Restaurant Planned for Public Land Proposed in Seaport
A rendering of the plan for a restaurant beneath the FDR Drive, in the Seaport neighborhood.
Community Board 1 (CB1) is stating its opposition (for the fourth time) to a plan that would create a new restaurant beneath the FDR Drive, in the South Street Seaport neighborhood.
The proposal would demolish an existing storage shed (located alongside South Street, between Fulton and John Streets) that contains two public bathrooms, and replace it with restaurant housing a 2290-square-foot dining area with 30 tables and 85 chairs, along with a 700-plus square foot bar area with 26 seats. The new structure would largely eclipse the view corridor that frames panoramic vistas of the East River (and the tall ship Wavertree) from John Street.
Perseid meteors are seen every year from mid-July until the last week in August when we, along for the ride on planet Earth, delight in orbiting through the debris field left by comet Swift-Tuttle, a periodic comet that returns every 133 years. Most recently, the comet, named after its modern day discoverers, was visible with the aid of binoculars in 1992.
The Perseid meteor shower is celebrated as one of the year’s best, with 100 meteors per hour expected under optimum conditions. This year, we are challenged to watch for the meteors in the presence of a waning moon. Fifty meteors per hour are likely in dark sky locations. Although the Perseids are most prolific in the hours before dawn when the constellation Perseus has climbed high in the sky, it is worth skygazing before moonrise and again before dawn.
The average speed of Perseid meteors is 37 miles per second, creating fast-falling streaks of light with long, lingering tails. We could be swept away by colorful fireballs, too.
The shooting stars appear everywhere in the sky, although it is useful and enriching to be aware of the apparent radiant, or source, in the northeastern sky at the edge of the constellation Perseus.
During the pre-dawn hours, looking east, greet the rising of winter constellations and the goddess of love and beauty, brilliant planet Venus. Venus is visible through morning twilight.
Recently Reopened Businesses Downtown
Get Out on the Water
from North Cove
Need a safe and breezy break from your apartment? Several cruise operators have reopened in North Cove and are offering opportunities to get out on the water, including Tribeca Sailing, Ventura, and Classic Harbor Line. All cruise operators are adhering to social distancing guidelines; check individual websites for details.
295 BC – The first temple to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility, is dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the Third Samnite War.
1561 – Mary, Queen of Scots, who was 18 years old, returns to Scotland after spending 13 years in France.
1612 – The “Samlesbury witches”, three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, England, are put on trial, accused of practicing witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in British history.
1692 – Salem witch trials: In Salem, Province of Massachusetts Bay, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, are executed after being convicted of witchcraft.
1812 – War of 1812: American frigate USS Constitution defeats the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada earning the nickname “Old Ironsides”.
1839 – The French government announces that Louis Daguerre’s photographic process is a gift “free to the world”.
1848 – California Gold Rush: The New York Herald breaks the news to the East Coast of the United States of the gold rush in California (although the rush started in January).
1854 – The First Sioux War begins when United States Army soldiers kill Lakota chief Conquering Bear and in return are massacred.
1909 – The first automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
1944 – World War II: Liberation of Paris: Paris, France rises against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.
1945 – August Revolution: Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh take power in Hanoi, Vietnam.
1960 – Cold War: In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.
1991 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union, August Coup: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Ukraine.
2005 – The first-ever joint military exercise between Russia and China, called Peace Mission 2005 begins.
2017 – Tens of thousands of farmed non-native Atlantic salmon are accidentally released into the wild in Washington waters in the 2017 Cypress Island Atlantic salmon pen break.
232 – Marcus Aurelius Probus, Roman emperor (d. 282)
1596 – Elizabeth Stuart, queen of Bohemia (d. 1662)
1871 – Orville Wright, American engineer and pilot, co-founded the Wright Company (d. 1948)
1883 – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer, founded the Chanel Company (d. 1971)
1902 – Ogden Nash, American poet (d. 1971)
1919 – Malcolm Forbes, American publisher and politician (d. 1990)
1921 – Gene Roddenberry, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1991)
1930 – Frank McCourt, American author and educator (d. 2009)
1940 – Johnny Nash, American singer-songwriter
AD 14 – Augustus, Roman emperor (b. 63 BC)
1662 – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1623)
1975 – Mark Donohue, American race car driver and engineer (b. 1937)
1977 – Groucho Marx, American comedian and actor (b. 1890)
2009 – Don Hewitt, American television producer, created 60 Minutes (b. 1922)
Edited from various sources including Wikipedia,and other media outlets