Help for Chinatown Businesses:
Chinatown took an enormous hit during Hurricane Sandy. But we’re all pulling together—today I joined NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and NYC Council Member Margaret Chin in announcing the start of the Chinatown BID and Chinatown Partnership’s grant program for businesses that suffered major losses.
You can help Chinatown too—come visit the stores, dine at a restaurant, and help these businesses come back!
Visiting South Street Seaport Businesses:
Lower Manhattan businesses need our help. This morning I toured the South Street Seaport area with Rep. Jerry Nadler, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, US Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, SBS Commissioner Walsh, local elected officials, and community leaders. The business owners I’ve talked to say they need assistance recovering from Hurricane Sandy, and the federal SBA, New York State, New York City, and the Downtown Alliance are stepping up with support.
As New York City begins its recovery from Hurricane Sandy, business owners face daunting challenges. They need to know what programs are available to help them recover from the effects of the storm.
Here are some key sources of assistance that are coordinated by the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation:
In addition, the following Federal Aid Programs for State of New York Disaster Recovery are available:
Further information about these programs and others is available in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Guide to Disaster Assistance and Relief Funding and Senator Charles Schumer’s Hurricane Sandy recovery website.
Over the last decade, the average family has seen the price of everything go through the roof – housing, healthcare, taxes and tuition. Since 2000, the price of a 30-day Metrocard has increased 65%, and gasoline and heating oil prices have tripled. Meanwhile, salaries and benefits are not keeping pace.
We need to reclaim the city for middle class and working New Yorkers. Tonight, in my State of the Borough Address, I’m proposing a set of policies that will help make our city more affordable and prepare it for the future.
First, I’m announcing a plan to cut taxes for working and middle class families. It’s simply not right that in New York City someone who makes $50,000 per year pays the same city tax rate as someone who makes $500,000 per year. I’m proposing that we create a more progressive income tax system that restoresfairness and boosts the economy. You can read more about my tax plan in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Second, we should make housing more affordable by creating a larger fund to rescue foreclosed buildings. We should then work with non-profit developers to renovate these properties and turn them into affordable housing.
Third, at a time when small businesses are having trouble getting loans, we should create an alternative lending source for them. A city-run program is running successfully in Philadelphia, and we should use that model here to unlock the capital that small business owners need.
There are a number of other steps we should take, from passing the paid-sick leave bill to diversifying the city’s economy by developing New York’s higher education, high tech, and green energy sectors. We should reform stop and frisk, and consider replacing it with other, proven strategies that keep illegal handguns off our streets by working with communities, not against them.
Ultimately, we need to confront the great challenges of our time. We need to build a city that honors our heritage and reaffirms our future as a place where working people can buy a home, put down roots, and raise a family, always assured that the next generation will have it better than the one before. I’m prepared for that fight, and I know you will join me. Together we’ll get this done.
Examining the Impact of a Potential Walmart in Harlem on Existing Fresh Food Retailers: Today I’m releasing a new report, entitled Food for Thought: A Case Study of Walmart’s Impact on Harlem’s Healthy Food Retail, that models the potential impact of a Walmart at the proposed West 125th Street and Lenox Avenue site on existing fresh food retailers.
Survey data collected for this report shows that 304 licensed food retailers operate within a 1-mile radius of West 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, including 24 supermarkets, 17 green grocers, and 157 bodegas selling fresh produce.
A Walmart opening at West 125th Street and Lenox Avenue could lead to 30 to 41 fresh food retailers going out of business within one year and 48 to 66 fresh food stores closing within two years. Even with the fresh food retail space a Walmart might bring, Harlem would see a loss of 56,000 to 82,000 square feet of food-based retail.
City programs that are succeeding in bringing gains in fresh food availability to Harlem would also be negatively affected. Prime examples include the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program, which aims to bring grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods, and the Healthy Bodega Initiative (HBI), designed to increase the amount of healthy food sold at bodegas. In just four years, HBI has caused the percentage of bodegas in Central and East Harlem that offer fresh fruit to nearly double.
Walmart would be a bane, not a boon, to the health food economy of Harlem – or any other New York City neighborhood. While the City has little leverage when it comes to private companies operating on as-of-right sites, the report outlines programs and systems that can be created to mitigate potential damage. Should Walmart enter the New York City market, public officials will need to take measures to protect small scale fresh food retailers and the residents who rely on these stores to help maintain their health.