OMG Not another 99 cent store!! — Brooklynian

OMG Not another 99 cent store!!

Commercial revitalization is one of our key focuses at Nostrand Park. So we were excited when we saw that a "for rent" sign previously posted on a particular Nostrand storefront(can't recall the exact address but it's around 758 Nostrand between Sterling and Park) had finally come down. What could be coming in? Clothing store? Restaurant? Art gallery?

At first one of the workers told us it would be a grocery store. Which didn't make sense given the nearby competition. But after some snooping we managed to speak with the owner who informed us, as you may have guessed from the post title, that it will be a 99 cent shop. No, no, no!

We did a post a couple of weeks about the $743 million retail gap in Crown Heights. Across dozens of retail and service categories, from food services, to clothing, to auto-related - Crown Heights is grossly underserved.

And yet, what comes to answer the call? Yet another 99 cent/variety store - there is another one that opened up a block away a couple of months ago(there is about 1 per block on Nostrand). Ugh!

According to our conversations with some local landlords, Crown Heights (Nostrand specifically) has been typecast. And despite their efforts to attract more diverse businesses, the same cast of characters keep showing up.

We are working on some retail development initiatives, and we are happy to see some of the new businesses like Syd's Serious Sandwich Shop open, but its frustrating to see 99 cent posse still has such a tight hold.

Anyways, that's just our rant...

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Comments

  • I predict this post will be controversial, but it is amazing how many 99-cent stores a neighborhood can support, when they are all essentially selling the same stuff. There must be a huge profit margin on the stuff they sell.

  • Are a lot of those $0.99 stores a chain?

    They seem to all have similar merchandise, so they likely buy from the same suppliers.

    But do they have the same owners? Unlike bodegas, they don't seem to have their owners on site ...which makes me wonder whether their is a Dollar Store Tzar who visits every outlet everyday to check on his/her empire.

  • boycott?

    blame the tree branch guy?

  • boycott?

    blame the tree branch guy?

    No, no, no.

    This is happening on Nostrand Avenue, not Franklin. The folks on Nostrand seem to have different approaches. ...and Damn them for making me crave Syd's Steak and Cheese again as a result of this thread.

  • What's wrong with a 99 cent store? What does NostrandPark want,a sushi bar? A bicycle shop? Coffee and croissants? A wine 'bar'? Syd's Serious Sandwiches? Oh yeah, they got that.

    This is yet another class-based rally against a business that boo-jeefolks don't want simply because they don't want it. They want something reflective of how they seem themselves, and as far as they are concerned, going into a 99 cent store and getting a gallon of Poland Spring just doesn't fit their mold. They want their egos massaged with paper bags that scream 'I'm green and earth friendly!' They want 20 dollar gourmet sandwiches. They want laundromats where you can drop of your drawers and have them dry-cleaned. Damned Hipsters.

  • From the posts I read, there are already a number of $.99 stores in the neighborhood. Why not add some variety in the local offerings, rather than more of the same?

    Or do you object to adding higher-priced shops because that alienates lower-income residents?

  • Variety? 99 cent stores have variety. I object to the notion that there is something wrong with inexpensive goods.

  • Sometimes those 99 cent stores start out as such, but then gradually carry better merchandise as time goes on. ....they become 99 Cent PLUS stores, and/or begin to carry small appliances like toasters and clock radios.

    Some specialize by carrying drug store type merchandise, and have everything but the pharmacy.

  • So, MHA, you are content to furnish and decorate your apartment and to dress yourself solely with what you can buy at 99 cent shops?

    You see no need for any other shops at all? No shoe repair, hardware, dry cleaners?

  • I think Nostrand Park's point is that currently many of the CH residents have to go outside their neighborhood to get the quality of goods and services they desire.

    All that money is spent: Outside the 'hood.

    All those jobs being created and supported by that money: Outside of the 'hood.

    The political capital and power that is given to genuinely powerful business owners [for example: I want more police protection from my pct] is given to an owner: Outside the 'hood.

    ....but I will concede that MHA is correct in that the businesses on Nostrand have become much more diverse over the past few years. Change is happening.

  • Yep, content with 99 cent merchandise. No need for Special Ed's fois gras nonsense... Nostrand Ave already has shoe repair. hardware. and a dry cleaners... No need for boutique clothing in Brooklyn babe!

  • This is yet another class-based rally against a business that boo-jeefolks don't want simply because they don't want it.

    exhibit #84

    They want something reflective of how they seem themselves, and as far as they are concerned, going into a 99 cent store and getting a gallon of Poland Spring just doesn't fit their mold. They want their egos massaged with paper bags that scream 'I'm green and earth friendly!' They want 20 dollar gourmet sandwiches. They want laundromats where you can drop of your drawers and have them dry-cleaned. Damned Hipsters.

    who is "they"???? i object to your use of the word "they"!!!

    i am righteous and indignant!

  • MHA,

    I'm often with you, in theory at least, if not in practice. But in this case, I feel you're going overboard trying to prove your point. There are already several 99 cent stores in the area. Some might say more than enough. I don't think the consensus was to have something "hoity toity" move into that space, just not another 99 cent store, or hairdresser, or bullet-proof chinese or fried chicken place, etc., i.e., things that are already available ad nauseum around here.

    Maybe a nice, local family-owned restaurant option? Or a card store? Pharmacy? Heck, I'd kill for a good quality butcher shop or fish market within walking distance any day of the week.

    Notice I'm not suggesting sushi, or wine bar, or organic, high-priced bodega or especially lattes. There is a whole universe of options squarely in between the likes of 99 cent stores and $9 coffee bars that you're ignoring on principal, and its silly.

  • wine bar

    class-based term.

  • Even when Abigail's on Classon bill itself as such on its street signage?

    Case in point, my second living room for nearly 7 years, Sepia on Underhill, is distinctly not a wine bar.

  • Even when Abigail's on Classon bill itself as such on its street signage?

    Yes. It should be called Abigail Cafe and Wine Shop.

    Taking this a step further, "Bars" (just saying that word makes me shudder) should be called Liquor and Beer Shops. Enough is enough, people. The lengths "they" will go to satisfy their class-based pretensions.

  • I'd be surprised if anything really upscale survived on Nostrand, but I am optimistic that the new businesses will make it.

    The new sushi place.

    Syd's sandwich place.

    The new bar with jazz and pool

    Each seems like it will do well.

    If I'm right and the new jazz-pool place does well, I wonder if Q's Lounge will adapt part of their business plan in the future.

    P.S. On an alcohol consumed per dollar basis, aren't wine bars are about the same as most beer bars? ...btw, a lot of good looking women prefer like wine, not beer or liquor. My sense is that going to a wine bar has improved the sex lives of many heterosexual males: The odds are often good. The goods are not always odd.

  • Not getting it Mr. Met. What's your issue with the term "bar"? Sonce when did "bar" come to represent the front lines of class warfare?

    Would tavern, saloon or pub be preferable? I mean, "Liquor and Beer Shop" doesn't really do it. For one, it takes too long to say. There should be a snappier colloquialism for it.

    Note - I'm assuming you're going with sarcasm here, but its not easy to read when its just words on a screen...

  • Case in point, my second living room for nearly 7 years, Sepia on Underhill, is distinctly not a wine bar.

    Not to get off topic, but I concur: Delissa does run a fine establishment.

  • She sure does. Those damned kids we had in the last few years have prevented us from going nearly as much as we used to, sadly.

  • ntfool, from the Thirst Wine Bar thread (written by MHA):

    I don't know if 'transformation' and 'clean-up' necessitates it being 'better'. It all depends upon whose interests are being met. Were I a john looking for a 'working girl' (or 'boy' for that matter) then the price of said service has now gone up. I mean, the meat-packing district has become a ghetto for boutique bullshit and the self-consciously scrubbed; stainless steel, glass and chrome are now prerequisites. I dunno, that kind of stuff is disgusting in a 'progressive' sort of way....

    What's wrong with a wine shop beside a scrapyard and a chicken slaughterhouse? Note my use of 'shop' instead of bar. It's conscious. Why must we dress up everything? That's not a rhetorical question. There is something self serving and narcissist when 'folks need to sit in mood lighting just to drink alcohol. A bottle of wine that retails for 8 bucks is taken into a 'wine bar' where one buys a glass of wine for 8 bucks... Crazy hipsters....

    As I have said before, MHA, you pull the same kind of shit in just about every thread you participate in. What sucks is that not everyone knows that this is your MO, and they actually take the time to engage you as if it were worth the time. You hijack threads with your ramblings. You ruin them. You ruin part of my Internet life. As an Internet entity, you suck. I award you zero points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

  • Yeah, I'd read that other thread. Just didn't realize that that was what you had been referencing. And I do agree with you, as per my post addressed to MHA from an hour or so ago this morning.

    Again, sarcasm = difficlut to determine with just words on screen. Thanks for clarifying.

  • MHA - not sure if you bothered to read the stats on the amount of "retail leakage" in the neighborhood to the tune of $743 million dollars that we referenced in the OP.

    What that indicates, as whynot points out, is that there is a substantial demand for goods and services in the neighborhood that is not being met by the businesses in the neighborhood.

    And the profile of what is demanded in the neighborhood and who is the source of the demand is based on a comprehensive demographic analysis of this neighborhood - and specifically takes into account that the median household income is a mere $39,000. It is not based on a random poll of "hipsters".

    Perhaps it is your own classist stereotypes that lead you to the conclusion that folks of a lower-income in this neighborhood do not demand a greater variety of goods and services, but the hard data bares out a different story.

  • This is yet another class-based rally against middle class people that MHA doesn't want simply because he doesn't want them in his neighborhood. MHA wants everything reflective of how he sees himself, and as far as he is concerned, going into a 99 cent store and getting a gallon of Poland Spring is just what everyone should do. Just stamp yourself in MHA's mold. (Hey, I get my water from the tap, MHA is too bourgeois for me!) He wants his egos massaged with paper bags that scream 'I'm just as miserable as you!' He wants no diversity, no variety except variety stores, only bodega sandwiches, only hair braiding places, only stores that serve the West Indian/African/black people. He wants laundromats where you can drop of your drawers and have them dry-cleaned. Damned didn't they do that before we moved in?

  • One last point ...

    We do not begrudge the hair salons or Caribbean restaurants, generally, but there is a lot to be said about (1) the need for a greater diversity of businesses in Crown Heights, and (2) the need for a greater quality of goods and services.

    The grossly inferior quality, service, aesthetics, standards, and product that is commonplace in businesses throughout the hood – an inferiority which is generally based on owners' own stereotypes rather than what is actually desired by the community - should be considered unacceptable to any true community advocate.

    To the same extent, the lack of options and alternatives in one’s community should be considered unacceptable to any true community advocate. Let’s talk about the fact that low-income residents are only ever exposed to inferior foods, goods, and services based on someone else’s stereotypes about what they “deserve” or “want”. Let’s talk about how that informs their value system. Let’s talk about how perhaps introducing other options to the hood could have a positive effect on the residents.

    Or perhaps, MHA, you think otherwise. Your prejudices are more poisonous than the people you admonish. Check yourself.

  • The grossly inferior quality, service, aesthetics, standards, and product that is commonplace in businesses throughout the hood

    yes yes, but does "inferior quality" and "inferior aesthetics" always mean "worse"? just kidding. i agree with you, of course. if i may, i'd like to anticipate the response:

    Who determines what is inferior? Who determines what looks good and what doesn't look good? These are class-based assertions and value judgments coming from people trying to impose their will on MY neighborhood. Damn hipsters.

    Or perhaps, MHA, you think otherwise. Your prejudices are more poisonous than the people you admonish. Check yourself.

    :cheers:

  • Nostrandpark,

    well stated.

    Mr. Met,

    hey, I like the guessing game. I'll play along. I think it is fair assume that I will then point out:

    No one owns the neighborhood, and that MHA (like each one of us) can't speak for anyone but himself. And that the vast majority of the people being presently being under served by the businesses in the community share MHA's complexion, even if they don't share his opinions..

    Perhaps we could create an auto response computer program, like those porn-bots I've heard about. I hear the well written ones cause some men fall in love with them, or at least reach orgasm.

    It's like a record:

    People who disagrees with him are first called "racist".

    If he learns they are his same race, he then calls them "classist".

    However, there is a part of me that would like to get money from my parents, learn to ride a fixed gear bike, like coffee, and be 15 years younger. Then MHA could hated me because I was as a "damn hipster".

    I would take pride in being a damn hipster. I would be the best damn hipster ever.

  • Returning to the topic at hand, I walked down Nostrand and the other day and its looking a lot better than in the past.

    The drug dealers were more subtle.

    The litter was tolerable.

    The Jamaican food was yummy.

    ...the avenue is really coming along nicely. If I had some cash, I'd invest in a commercial property somewhere along the EP to Atlantic strip.

  • like those porn-bots I've heard about. I hear the well written ones cause some men fall in love with them, or at least reach orgasm.

    hahahaha

  • If I had some cash, I'd invest in a commercial property somewhere along the EP to Atlantic strip.

    Ditto.

  • I am a proponent of Jane Jacobs' style controlled gentrification. I believe that Nostrand Ave. would benefit from more diversity of goods and services. I believe that socioeconomic diversity benefits a neighborhood.

    But, to be fair, NostrandPark, although you say that you are advocating for "low-income residents," I think the reality is that (in this post at least) you are speaking for people like you. Your post values certain types of retail establishments over others by mentioning them by name, i.e. restaurant, clothing store, art gallery. This is the wish list of a professional-class, recent arrival to the neighborhood. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there are certainly class implications.

    In fact, looking at the data you present (Retail MarketPlace Profile, attached), the biggest "pent up demand" by far is for "Motor Vehicle & Parts Dealers" (with a retail gap of $60 million - is that possible?). The survey says that Crown Heights is actually relatively well-served by "Food & Beverage Stores", and that there is more on offer in the "Book, Periodical, and Music Stores" category than the people of Crown Heights want. Which makes me think an art gallery may not be a smart investment here.

    I have no problem with businesses opening on Nostrand that cater to a middle-class clientele. (I do have an issue with all businesses suddenly catering to a middle-class clientele.) When those businesses do open up though (and they will), let's not fool ourselves about who wants or needs them. Poor people will still be shopping at the dollar stores. And, hopefully, also at the newly-arrived Automotive Parts store.

    Personally, I love dollar stores. Ah, the lovely, chaotic clutter! The randomness! The possibilities! Did you know they sell dresses from H & M for $4.99 at the one on Franklin Ave.? I don't think dollar stores are inferior at all. I think they're exciting and fun. Perhaps I reveal my own class origins?

  • I love love love dollar stores!

    Personally, I love dollar stores. Ah, the lovely, chaotic clutter! The randomness! The possibilities! Did you know they sell dresses from H & M for $4.99 at the one on Franklin Ave.?

    Which one is this south or north of the Parkway? I will add it to my rotation.

  • whynot wrote: If I had some cash, I'd invest in a commercial property somewhere along the EP to Atlantic strip.

    bentley wrote: Ditto.

    I think a nice, sit down, upscale restaurant (like that place Brooklyn Exposure on nearby Bedford Ave that has been there for years) would be a nice addition to Nostrand.

    That place is really yummy. It turns into a night club catering to professionals at night.

    I'd buy a building that could support that type of use.

  • If I were to cater to the neighborhood I would open a nursing uniform store. the demand alone would allow you to keep the prices low.

  • Didn't read thru the thread but I agree w/MHA's first response

    Nostrand Ave residents are served perfectly by the businesses available to them. The avg Nostrandite doesn't give a shit about sushi, and to take the liberty of pushing the wants of the minority as representative of the neighborhood at large is a surefire way to open a failing business.

    Franklin is a decent walk/short bike ride/shorter bus ride away, Vandy is a nice bike ride/bus ride away. Nostrand will NEVER be Franklin/Vandy.

  • Krowonhill:

    There are dollar stores all over nostrand. I don't understand anyone that has a problem with wanting anything other than a dollar store on that strip.

  • I agree w/krowonhill too... dollar stores can be good for cheap little things like sweatpants and dish soap. How often do you need something like a sponge vs go out for sushi? It seems the businesses of Nostrand ave are grossly underutilized by its growing professional class ;)

  • I don't think anyone needs to worry about the disappearance of dollar stores. Discount goods have a bright future.

    ....but a variety of business are coming. I just hope they don't over estimate the wealth of the neighborhood and quickly fail.

    As usual, time will tell.

    ...When there are more neighborhood amenities, more people with money will move in to support them or, as NostrandPark points out, simply be able to spend their money locally.

  • There are 99 cent stores all over the strip! There is a middle ground bw discount stores on every block and sushi and art galleries.

  • Seriously, mr. met, did you even read my post? I reviewed data from the survey that NostrandPark posted about on her blog, and concluded that the neighborhood at large is not in need of her proposed art gallery, clothing shop, or restaurant. (http://nostrandpark.com/2010/12/23/nearly-30-income-increase-and-740-million-of-retail-opportunity-in-crown-heights/) According to the survey data, what people could use the most are stores that sell auto parts, furniture, and electronics (in that order).

    Not the professional class' dream list, but there you have it. I also suspect like CTK that this class seriously underutilizes the dollar stores. :-)

  • Yes, I read your post. When you walk down nostrand between ep and Atlantic, do your eyes tell you that more 99 cent stores are needed?

    What is the professional class?

  • 50 millIion in unmet demand in food and drink services and 125 million for clothing. You dismissed those out of hand and went right for auto parts. And where did you get the 60 million number for auto parts? I see 215. Maybe I'm reading something wrong.

  • Ms. Krow-

    Mr Met seems to agree with you. Like many on this thread, he is stating that Dollar stores are great, but that some variety would be nice.

    I find that one must read these reports regularly to understand the implications. For example, many auto parts stores, furniture places and electronics places are "big boxes".

    As a result, neighborhoods will always be either under served or over served by them. It is tough to distribute them by neighborhoods because they tend to locate in clusters on shopping strips that serve large geographic areas. A little store on Nostrand would be foolish to try and compete with the likes of Pep Boys (auto parts), IKEA (furniture) and PC Richards (electronics).

    Urban Planning and Community Development are a professions, and serious skills are needed to effectively pull it off.

    Regardless, legal businesses get to choose where they locate. Even if those in the community development field only get to armchair quarterback based on what we think would do well.

    That said, I love Dollar Stores, they allow me to save enough money to go out to eat at nice, local restaurants.

    Have you tried the place on Bedford I mentioned? When I was there, I had the sense it catered to local professionals. It has always been full when I went, and I imagine that the area could support another such establishment.

    Small, somewhat upscale, boutiques selling women's clothing and accessories seem to be doing ok on Washington and Franklin. ...and seem to cater to the neighborhood's large number of middle class women who work in the government and health care sectors. I see "them" get on and off at Nostrand's subway, or catching the bus to Kings County Hospital.

    Depending on their shows, small art spaces have shows that attract small crowds from all over the city. CH may be ripe for galleries because one can still get large, unfinished spaces for reasonably cheap. As folks are priced out of Williamsburg, CH may be able to attract a few to its vacant storefronts.

    As Mr. Met points out, I guess it is how you define professional.

    I define it as someone legally earning 40k, about the area's median income.

    I'm glad you'd also like Nostrand to provide them with more services and goods than it does. The area has been under served for a long time, and is just now beginning to attract businesses that are able to compete for their residents business.

    The other day when I went to Syd's again, a Steak and Cheese ran me $9. It was made by two guys (whom I assume were local), who were talking to each other about the grades they received on recent college papers.

  • mr. met, you are reading the survey results wrong.

    Also, from now on, please refer to my above post(s). I don't advocate for more dollar stores.

  • Krowonhill:

    I was reading nostrand's blog post, not the actual survey. Maybe that was the problem.

    Also, from now on, please refer to the topic of the thread. This one is about adding another dollar store to the collection of dollar stores on that strip. I haven't seen anyone badmouth dollar stores in general.

  • Ouch. By that definition I'm not professional class.

    Opening the survey, I'm still seeing the 215 number for autos, but whatever. I'm on my phone so maybe I'm just being silly. In any case, there are big gaps in a lot of areas.

  • dah, I was editing as you two were agreeing about dollar stores.

    I missed the love

    mr met wrote:

    Ouch. By that definition I'm not professional class.

    Hopefully this year will be different, and you'll get a promotion. Even if you don't, I hope Nostrand provides you with a wide variety of choices. It is improving all of the time.

  • There are some serious discrepancies in data between:

    1. the document that NostrandPark posted inline as a .jpg (top right of page)

    http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Crown-Heights-Market-Profile.jpg

    &

    2. the scanned document to which she links in the text (link="Crown Heights Market Profile")

    http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/scan0325.pdf

    &

    3. the blog post itself.

    That's why we were seeing different data. My apologies, mr. met. You were just reading from a different source than I was.

    However, the numbers are supposed to reflect results from the same survey. NostrandPark? What are the real numbers?

  • Data inconsistencies aside, you do realize the field of urban and community development isn't a hard science, right?

    That there is no perfect blend of businesses.

    ....no perfect blend of incomes, race and education.

    As a result, a vibrant urban neighborhood is often never static; it is always changing in response to the changing demographics.

    Likewise, it is important to realize that a study that states a specific neighborhood has "unmet demand" doesn't mean that you should necessarily open a business to meet it.

    All studies have flaws in data collection and sampling. Despite the study's seeming exact numbers, like all studies, it should be looked at as merely an estimate, and should be looked at in context of the results of OTHER neighborhoods.

    Knowing the field of Urban Development is key to understanding the data and its implications.

    Lots of data is needed before opening a business is good idea:

    cost of raw materials

    taxes

    wages

    competition

    rent

    etc.

    ...even then, opening a business for whatever segment of the market you choose to serve is hard work and risk.

  • In fact, looking at the data you present (Retail MarketPlace Profile, attached), the biggest "pent up demand" by far is for "Motor Vehicle & Parts Dealers" (with a retail gap of $60 million - is that possible?).

    Agreed. I note the same in the OP when I say “from food services, to clothing, to auto-related - Crown Heights is grossly underserved.” These were mentioned, not necessarily because of my personal values - for instance, I don’t even have a car, and haven’t renewed my license – but because that is what the data says. The demand for "food service and drinking places" is around $125 million [NP1]. Not as much as automobile parts, but definitely nothing to sneeze at [NP2]. The demand for clothing stores is around $49 million.

    And I don't disagree with your enjoyment of dollar stores. In fact, the data indicates these types of “other general merchandise stores” would do well in this neighborhood. With $55 million of unmet demand, every single solitary storefront on Nostrand could be a $.99 store and probably do well - but is that ideal for the neighborhood? No.

    Again, the point that I am making is that because the neighborhood has been erroneously “typecast” other businesses that would also thrive here refuse to open.

    What we strive for is a complimentary retail mix. I can go into more detail about the "science" of it all, and how cultural institutions like art galleries help foster a sense of neighborhood identity and attract other businesses but I won't bore you.

    But, to be fair, NostrandPark, although you say that you are advocating for "low-income residents," I think the reality is that (in this post at least) you are speaking for people like you. Your post values certain types of retail establishments over others by mentioning them by name, i.e. restaurant, clothing store, art gallery. This is the wish list of a professional-class, recent arrival to the neighborhood. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there are certainly class implications.

    I wouldn’t rush to that conclusion about my motivations. Again, peep the data above. Also, peep my MO: last year I was inspired to write a piece about Nostrand Avenue being an art inspiring mecca the hair industry. In my own life, I don't go to hair salons. Have no “value” for me. But I do recognize the value that it has for the broader community. Undoubtedly, I’m influenced by my own personal values, but the point that I made in this post, is the same point that I’ve made in different ways before (see Rastafarians Lead the Health Food Movement in Crown Heights, Organic selections coming to a bodega near you, and As neighborhood gentrifies, local bodega gets an upgrade) – the neighborhood has been typecast to the detriment of development.

    [NP1] So we are all on the same page (literally and figuratively), I am referring to the full survey results for the 1 mile radius that was linked in the body of the NP article - not the picture of the results, which is for a smaller cross section and was only page 1 of 2. Sorry for the confusion.

    [NP2] You can’t automatically assume that more dollars demanded means more people demanding - particularly, for instance, where the per unit cost of goods like auto parts is generally going to be substantially higher than the per unit cost of something like food. So there may be a higher per capita demand for food services than for automobile services.

  • There are some serious discrepancies in data between:

    1. the document that NostrandPark posted inline as a .jpg (top right of page)

    http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Crown-Heights-Market-Profile.jpg

    &

    2. the scanned document to which she links in the text (link="Crown Heights Market Profile")

    http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/scan0325.pdf

    &

    3. the blog post itself.

    That's why we were seeing different data. My apologies, mr. met. You were just reading from a different source than I was.

    However, the numbers are supposed to reflect results from the same survey. NostrandPark? What are the real numbers?

    The photo was just meant as a photo to brighten up the post. We are using the link as the reference.

    But for your reference, the difference between the photo and the link are the cross-section that is being looked at. You will notice at the top of the photo, the "ring" that is looked at is .5 mile. In the link, the "ring" is 1 mile. So there is no discrepancy in the data set - there are two distinct data sets.

    We use the 1 mile analysis as a reference because it covers more of the neighborhood. Also, for technical reasons that might bore you, we think it more accurately captures the trade area. But you could definitely do an analysis based on the .5 mile if you wanted.

    Another interesting piece of data is the "consumer profile" of the neighborhood. Within the 1 mile radius, about 60% are considered "city strivers" 26% "high rise renters" and 6% "trend setters". Which one are you? What do you think about it generally?

  • There are some serious discrepancies in data between:

    1. the document that NostrandPark posted inline as a .jpg (top right of page)

    http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Crown-Heights-Market-Profile.jpg

    &

    2. the scanned document to which she links in the text (link="Crown Heights Market Profile")

    http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/scan0325.pdf

    &

    3. the blog post itself.

    That's why we were seeing different data. My apologies, mr. met. You were just reading from a different source than I was.

    However, the numbers are supposed to reflect results from the same survey. NostrandPark? What are the real numbers?

    The photo was just meant as a photo to brighten up the post. We are using the link as the reference.

    But for your reference, the difference between the photo and the link are the cross-section that is being looked at. You will notice at the top of the photo, the "ring" that is looked at is .5 mile. In the link, the "ring" is 1 mile. So there is no discrepancy in the data set - there are two distinct data sets.

    We use the 1 mile analysis as a reference because it covers more of the neighborhood. Also, for technical reasons that might bore you, we think it more accurately captures the trade area. But you could definitely do an analysis based on the .5 mile if you wanted.

    Another interesting piece of data is the "consumer profile" of the neighborhood. Within the 1 mile radius, about 60% are considered "city strivers" 26% "high rise renters" and 6% "trend setters". Which one are you? What do you think about it generally?

  • Oy.

    Happy New Year everybody. :shaking:

  • Community development is hard work, but when done well, it can really make a difference.

    Hunter has a good, affordable graduate program.

  • Happy New Year everybody

    what do you mean by "everybody"???

  • I mean all the people here. I mean it's too early to start taking off the gloves. And I really mean that. I mean whitefolks, wannabe white folks, colored folks, I mean everybody. I mean all the people I like and loathe, the niggers, the spics, the coons, the wops and the crackers. I mean you, me and everybody else. I mean me, people like me, people like you, people unlike me, people unlike you. I mean everybody. I'm still in my 'peace on earth good will to all men (and women)' vibe. And I mean that. Every body. Even the dogs who constantly shit in the nearby tree pit, the whitegirls who hold their purses to their scrawny bodies as they walk by, the cops who look at me warily, the white dudes who square their shoulders, the gay dudes who check out my crotch, the sisters who don't heed anything I say; I got love for them anyway. I mean people like you itching for a fight Mr. Met; people like Whynot with whom I have detente; people like CTK for whom their is likely mutual respect and disappointment- probably. I mean every body.

  • Happy new year, MHA.

    I love it when you're mellow!

  • NostrandPark,

    I've read your blog, and respect your initiative in seeking to revitalize a seriously socioeconomically-deprived neighborhood. I disagree with you though that the Nostrand Ave neighborhood is being unfairly "typecast". The current population IS NOT interested in the kinds of goods & services that you propose. Your retail survey shows this. The unmet demand on which you are focused comes from areas far from Nostrand Ave.

    - The data set that reflects an area .5 mile distant from Nostrand Ave shows no demand for bars and restaurants but high demand for auto parts and furniture stores.

    (http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Crown-Heights-Market-Profile.jpg)

    - When the data from the .5 mile to 1 mile cross-section is added, suddenly a high demand for bars and restaurants appears.

    (http://nostrandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/scan0325.pdf)

    - The .5 to 1 mile cross-section (that you admit you are interested in) includes areas that are already heavily gentrified: a large swath of Prospect Heights including its most desirable addresses such as the Richard Meier building, the Western area of Crown Heights, from Franklin to Washington, and also Bed Stuy South.

    Of course, these heavily-gentrifying areas are producing demand for bars and restaurants, but they don't represent an area around Nostrand Ave. Even in this greatly expanded area you've identified, you still tell me that 60% of the demo is considered "city strivers" and 26% "high rise renters." According to your own consumer categories, then, 60% of your demo likes fast food and 26% doesn't eat out (drawing from the website to which you linked). That's even with the heavily-gentrified areas added in.

    I have no issue with your proposed development. (I think that middle-class visitors and residents bring social, financial, and political capital that is sorely needed by this neighborhood.) But I am calling you on claiming to speak for low-income residents, when I think you are really just representing your own ideas about what's needed here. You said:

    Let’s talk about the fact that low-income residents are only ever exposed to inferior foods, goods, and services based on someone else’s stereotypes about what they “deserve” or “want”. Let’s talk about how that informs their value system. Let’s talk about how perhaps introducing other options to the hood could have a positive effect on the residents.

    You're talking about bars, restaurants, and clothing stores. What salutary effects could these possibly have? By god, yes, middle-class people moving into a neighborhood can improve the options for the area's lower-income folks! (And bring on the banks and the fresh produce, even if that takes social interference.) But restaurants and bars? That the lower-income residents don't need, don't want, and can't afford?

    When I was poor, I drank Maxwell House coffee and sipped Carlo Rossi wine. Now, I drink cups of cappuccino and sip glasses of Argentinian Malbec. Do you find me and my values greatly improved? Well, my consumer choices are just the result of having more money to spend.

  • Gee I don't know where you are coming up with the assumption that the people who live around Nostrand are not interested in food, bars and galleries. I know that my tenants, friends and neighbors eagerly look forward to new development on Nostrand ave. Perhaps we are not so noticeable on the avenue. We don't hang out, we go to work, but we live here too.

    What do you propose would be most helpful to the "lower income folks"?

  • tsarina, Please, please, please read my post a bit more carefully. I'm not making assumptions. I'm drawing from data that Nostrand Park presents from the NYC Dept of Small Business Services.

    I don't know why the demographic and market profile of the neighborhood doesn't appear to include you and the people you know. Perhaps you (and yours) are outliers. But the profile that looks at a .5 mile radius area from Nostrand/Eastern Pkwy doesn't even include a category for bars and restaurants, because there is so little demand for them. In contrast, a market segment that includes Western Crown Heights and much of Prospect Heights shows a huge demand in the category for bars and restaurants.

    Given what the market and demographic profile says about demand, would *you* be willing to stake your life savings on opening a bar or restaurant on Nostrand (especially considering that bars and restaurants are notoriously hard types of businesses to succeed at)? Or, would you instead open a dollar store, an auto parts store, or a nurses' uniform store like Stacey?

  • Krowonhill: at first, you questioned the validity of the data. Now you treat it like gospel to use it to support your pretty obvious stance on the larger issues. You know what the people of nostrand want. No one else does.

  • Krowonhill,

    Do you remember the prior page about businesses providing what is profitable?

    Things can be in demand, and people can be spending money on them, yet not be profitable to open. ...or require large up front costs.

    Supermarkets have long been a classic example. Large spaces are needed, large investment, perishable merchandise. Low profit per item requires large turnover of stock.

    But I'm glad you agree that Nostrand could support a greater variety of businesses. Once a few new businesses open, others may realize the areas potential and accelerate the present trend.

    BTW, nurses make really good salaries in NYC .... I suspect they enjoy eating and drinking at nice places near where they live. ....check out that restaurant on Bedford I mentioned, when I've gone it is always full ...... go early.

  • If I may presume (and I admit it is presumptuous) to read between the lines of Krowonhill's posts, interpreting them in the light of her comments in other threads, I would guess that she is motivated by admirable compassion for those neighborhood residents who clearly could not afford to partake of the expanded offerings of a gentrifying area, and whose very ability to continue living in that neighborhood might well be threatened as gentrification causes rents to rise.

    Let there be no mistake... gentrification is a zero-sum game: what benefits the gentry is damaging, and sometimes disastrous, for the less advantaged residents.

    While some residents might well be thrilled to have more dining, drinking and shopping options, it would in fact be in the better interests of other, less well to do residents, to add yet another 99 cent store.

  • Booklaw-

    I agree, that how I read her posts as well. But the neighborhood is also home to people who are more fortunate (some of these residents are new, and others have been there a long time).

    The long term "fortunate" residents, as well as the relative newcomers, wish for a more diverse avenue. They would like to shop locally, perhaps only out of convenience.

    While the complaint of "OMG Not another 99 cent store" may seem impatient or entitled, these fortunate individuals are bringing new life to a community which once was far more drug infested and violent.

    Did they cause this decrease in violence and crime? I have no idea. ....but we all know the pattern: Once a neighborhood is deemed to be somewhat safe, huge numbers of people decide that they would rather live there in exchange for a larger apartment than their present neighborhood. ....and the cycle begins.

    Those poor who are fortunate enough to live in government subsidized or protected apartments are not displaced, and instead benefit from schools that are often better that they were prior to the process.

    However, the supermarkets and business improve their acts to get their share of the growing income, and start carrying name brand merchandise that the poor can't afford.

    However, just as neighborhoods grow "richer" via gentrification, the opposite also occurs:

    When a neighborhood becomes over priced, or the economy tanks, blight occurs. The neighborhoods of the wealthy contract, and those of the poor expand.

    Although it is a zero sum game, like all games, we all pick a side to cheer for. Very few us remain neutral.

    I hope the business owners (present and potential) are able to correctly gauge the neighborhood. A failing business benefits no one, and hurts all.

    Krowonhill-

    Have you been to the big box auto parts store on Atlantic? I'm pretty sure it is an Auto Zone. I replaced my mother in laws wipers there. It is located just outside the borders of CH, and likely serves much of PH as well.

    I mention this because some types of businesses (like Auto Parts stores) require a busy street, a large lot size, and parking ....and, hence wouldn't work on small store front, no parking, pedestrian intense, one way traffic, Nostrand Avenue.

    ...let's see how the new jazz place does. I think tonight it had it's grand opening. If it is successful, more entrepreneurs may decide that "moderately priced" businesses will do well. .....and NostrandPark may get his/her wish that more diverse businesses open.

    BTW, don't worry, I predict the new 99 cent store will do fine. Everyone loves a bargain.

  • My Thesis: I believe that NostrandPark is co-opting the needs/desires of lower-income neighbors in order to push her own middle-class agenda on the neighborhood.

    Note: I *believe* in her agenda. The Nostrand Ave. community would benefit from the presence of middle-class people, because they would bring social, financial, and political capital to a neighborhood that sorely needs it. I believe that the most healthy communities are socioeconomically mixed.

    So, bring on some bars and restaurants for newly-arrived or visiting middle-class people while continuing to support the dollar stores where lower-class people already shop. But please don't tell me that you're bringing in the bars and restaurants for the patronage of lower-class folks, especially when you are simultaneously telling me that these outlets will manage to "sivilize"* them. That's disingenuous and condescending.

    *i.e., "civilize" per Huck Finn

  • Ms. Krow-

    Two items:

    1.

    I feel you continue to view only the area's "newly-arrived or visiting" as middle class. Needless to say, I do not share your view. I continue to see the neighborhood as having a large based of long term, educated middle class residents. I believe they have been under served by Nostrand Ave for decades....

    Regardless of whether you acknowledge the existence of these folks, you should know that I do not believe people should be assigned different values based on how long they have lived in the neighborhood. New residents and long term residents all deserve to be equally listened to.

    Businesses certainly do not care whether their money comes from a long term resident or a new one. ...they just want and need customers.

    2.

    I looked back thru this thread, and I tried to figure out why you think NP or myself believe that the "new bars and restaurants are for the patronage of lower-class folks" or that these outlets will manage to "sivilize"* them.

    Clearly, middle class bars and restaurants will be out of the financial reach of the poor except for special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

    However, until very recently, the neighborhood's middle class and poor residents all had to leave the 'hood for a suitable location for such occasions. So, I do see some gains to all from these businesses, especially when they open in storefronts that were vacant.

    I was unable to find any comments by NP or myself that indicated we felt Crown Heights low income residents were somehow in need of being civilized/sivilzed.

    As a participant in the street beautification project organized by NP, I experienced the exact opposite: Long term residents and business owners, new residents and business owners, wealthy folks, poor folks, etc all seemed to appreciate the effort.

    The event was well attended, and she seemed to know many of the old and new businesses on the Avenue.

    I can't imagine that NP pursues the other tasks involved in community and economic development any differently. The blog posts she links above indicate that she is well aware of the neighborhood's diversity, and seems to respect it and enjoy it.

    Due to her work and the work of many others, Nostrand Avenue is finally on the rise.

    If the trend continues, the new dollar stores, bars and restaurants could benefit the area's unemployed and under employed.

    Bring on the businesses!

    ....it's very empowering to the residents of a neighborhood to be told that they are wanted as customers, and that businesses are willing to cater to their wishes and desires in exchange for their continued patronage.

    I am confident that those business that don't up their game to the new standards will lose out. Some of those long term business will (and SHOULD) close. No one, regardless of their income, will cry a tear when some of the nasty places on that block disappear. Afterall, a gallon of milk frequently costs the same whether it is sold to you by a decrepit, dirty store or one that has been told to clean up its act in order to keep its customers.

    I am also confident that even those who think there are too many dollar stores (such as the OP) think another dollar store is better than a vacant storefront!

  • I for one, personally, do no think Nostrand Ave has been or is yet being co-opted by anyone's agendas, except some neglectful, greedy landlords of the commercial spaces on the Ave.

    The rents per square foot on Nostrand Ave are still higher than Franklin Ave - though I don't think this will be true in the next 2 - 3 yrs - yet the actually spaces on Nostrand Ave. do not seem to be adequately maintained by the landlords to command such prices.

    (This is based on my informal conversations with the merchants on both Franklin and Nostrand Ave about their leases, informal browsing through Craig's List and calling the Realtor's offering spaces on both Ave's for lease)

    The landlords on Nostrand Ave - who seem to operate out of a short-sighted, neglectful greed based train of thought - do not seem to do much screening on the quality of the business's they lease to and they do even less to maintain the quality of their properties.

    Again, this is all based on my informal conversations with various business's on both Ave's.

    What seems to end up happening on Nostrand ave. is, many Mom and Pop entrepreneurs with the desire to run a business - but with a weak or no business plan - open up shop without being fully prepared financially or practically.., and then end up closing.

    The landlord's on Nostrand Ave., who choose to operate like this, keep up this disastrous rental cycle up of leasing their sub-par spaces to sub par business's with shaky financial standing - yet the landlord's keep asking for rates per square footage that keep increasing - while their conditions of their properties steadily decrease.

    So, what kind of business's would want to or more importantly choose to lease in that atmosphere?

    In my opinion, the kind of business's that already dominates Nostrand Ave. - sub par business's with short-sighted goals/business plans (making next's month's rent & barely covering operating expenses).

    I think the resident's, who shop on Nostrand Ave., do desire better than another .99 cents store selling sub-par goods.

    I have nothing against moderately priced stores selling inexpensive goods of some sort of QUALITY. Quality here is the key word for me.

    There is much middle ground between "another sub par .99 cents store" and a lovely Art Gallery or Wine Bar or high end vegetarian restaurant or a snowboard shop - that I for one and not ashamed to admit that I would be thrilled to have on Nostrand Ave. as they absolutely serve my personal needs.

    These "middle ground" types of business's - diverse, reasonably priced goods of quality - are what is sorely lacking from Nostrand Ave.

    I see a lot, but certainly not all, of this as a result of the landlord's on Nostrand Ave who choose[u] to operate in this neglectful & greedy manner.

    Charging top dollar for spaces in deplorable conditions which only attract inexperienced entrepreneurs or sub-par business's on the shakiest of financial ground.

    Hopefully, this will soon change on Nostrand Ave., but right now, I see it as an unfortunate cycle that needs to be addressed.

    There needs to be more quality business's on Nostrand Ave. Quality does not have to mean high priced, high end exclusive goods.., just NOT sub-par, cheap goods

    Is it too much to ask stores to sell fresh food or goods that are not expired or defective in some way?

    There is nothing wrong with a $3.00 - substitute moderately priced - hamburger or turkey burger made from QUALITY meat.

    But there are many things wrong with cheap, sub-par goods and a shopping district flooded with business's that primarily sell these kinds of goods.

  • i just want to point out that not every "newcomer" to the neighborhood is "middle class" or "professional class." not all of them want new businesses that are more expensive. they just want new businesses.

  • @Mr Met - FYI - the $10 cover charge was an unfortunate typo on the part of whoever designed the flier. This is and will be a free event!

    I went with a few friends - one's a professional singer - and we had a blast listening to the 4 piece band!

    The drinks seemed reasonable - I'm not a drinker so am not overall familiar with prices - maybe $6.00 for wine and/or $7 for a mixed drink.

    The design of the place is more like a sports bar than Jazz lounge, but I enjoyed the music so much!!!!!

  • 1) NostrandPark said:

    So we are all on the same page (literally and figuratively), I am referring to the full survey results for the 1 mile radius that was linked in the body of the NP article - not the picture of the results, which is for a smaller cross section and was only page 1 of 2.

    Please see attached for page 1 and 2. Hope that helps.

    2)

    But restaurants and bars? That the lower-income residents don't need, don't want, and can't afford?

    Please also consider the target market for and success of restaurants such as Applebee's (the nearest one being on Fulton and New York Avenue), IHOP, and Dallas BBQ.

    3) Please see the results of a retail needs assessment conducted by the economic development committee of community board in 2006 for insight into the community’s complaints about the district. [Note I just updated the link. At first there was a pdf of the results, but the 2nd page was not showing up. Hopefully you can view the full excel file.] Now, because of how the survey was conducted, it is admittedly not the most reliable data, but it does provide some helpful insight into what the community wants and their complaints about the district. Sound familiar?

    Though I am doing this on an unpaid volunteer basis for Crown Heights, I work in a community very similar to Crown Heights in terms of demographics. We have recently completed a survey of 523 residents in the community. When asked what they want to see change about the commercial district in question, the most frequent response (28% of respondents) was they wanted better quality and greater diversity of stores. The number 2 most frequent response (22%) was residents wanted a cleaner more aesthetically pleasing environment. Mind you, this was a fill in the blank type survey where we did not supply the options.

    Again, just because we see certain things in the hood, does not mean that it is necessarily a reflection of what the community wants.

    4)

    The .5 to 1 mile cross-section (that you admit you are interested in) includes areas that are already heavily gentrified: a large swath of Prospect Heights including its most desirable addresses such as the Richard Meier building, the Western area of Crown Heights, from Franklin to Washington, and also Bed Stuy South.

    Of course, these heavily-gentrifying areas are producing demand for bars and restaurants, but they don't represent an area around Nostrand Ave.

    Note the average HHI in the .5 mile radius is $50,969. The average HHI in the 1 mile radius is $51,012, a mere difference of $43. Furthermore, the average HHI in the .25 mile radius, which does not include the more tonier areas that you allude to is $57,647. Please see attached.

    5)

    I've read your blog, and respect your initiative in seeking to revitalize a seriously socioeconomically-deprived neighborhood. … But, to be fair, NostrandPark, although you say that you are advocating for "low-income residents," I think the reality is that (in this post at least) you are speaking for people like you.

    Thank you. Firstly, NostrandPark advocates on behalf of the neighborhood at large, but we addressed class distinctions because they were brought up by another poster. Secondly, I will keep my personal life personal, but suffice it to say that my personal and professional life are heavily connected to lower-income communities of color. You read can a person's blog and still never know the person behind it.

  • @Mr Met - FYI - the $10 cover charge was an unfortunate typo on the part of whoever designed the flier. This is and will be a free event!

    I went with a few friends - one's a professional singer - and we had a blast listening to the 4 piece band!

    The drinks seemed reasonable - I'm not a drinker so am not overall familiar with prices - maybe $6.00 for wine and/or $7 for a mixed drink.

    The design of the place is more like a sports bar than Jazz lounge, but I enjoyed the music so much!!!!!

    cool. guess you saw that part of my post before i deleted it.

  • Secondly, I will keep my personal life personal, but suffice it to say that my personal and professional life are heavily connected to lower-income communities of color. You read can a person's blog and still never know the person behind it.

    assumptions are easier, i guess.

  • nostrandpark wrote: Secondly, I will keep my personal life personal, but suffice it to say that my personal and professional life are heavily connected to lower-income communities of color. You read can a person's blog and still never know the person behind it.

    mr met wrote: assumptions are easier, i guess.

    Although they are easy to make, they do get annoying. I mean, why should nostrandpark have to tell others she doesn't want her opinions to be ascribed to her on the basis of attributes that others assign?

    Likewise, why should Mr Met, myself or anyone else be to told we hold points of view as a result of what social class we belong to, how much money we earn, or how long we have been in the neighborhood?

    ....assumptions like that are silly. In addition to revealing the "assumers" biases about how members of groups should think, they are often made with very limited information, so they often guess the demographics wrong.

    I find it hard to respect the opinions of posters who engage in such laziness. While we shouldn't go overboard and question the intent and meaning of every word, this board remains an intelligent place to kill time having conversations because it's members consistently confront patterns of such posts.

    SnowboardQueen and Nostrand Park,

    As someone who isn't into commercial real estate, your recent posts are making my head have what are likely to be seen as "some pretty rookie type thoughts".

    The idea that the avenue is owned by an assortment of landlords used to providing "low quality, undeveloped spaces" to unsophisticated entry level businesses intrigues me.

    It sounds remarkably similar to a market I am familiar with: The market faced by new renters.

    The dynamics seem very similar in that the renters pay what I consider to be high prices for poorly maintained units. ....like you describe, the price per square foot between the units are counter intuitively similar (or even higher priced) than nicer properties located in nicer neighborhoods.

    The reasons residential tenants have to settle for such crappy, expensive spaces arrangements are well documented, and it is not my goal to repeat them all here.

    In no particular order, I'd like to get away with summing up "the factors that keep these tenants in the less desirable neighborhoods and spaces" as up as a combination of:

    a. Not being savvy enough to shop around

    b. Not having the solid references (track record) that the landlords in the nicer communities require.

    c. Discrimination based on race, religion, etc.

    d. Discrimination based on type of income (for example Section 8 vs salary)

    [there's entire graduate school classes taught on this stuff, I don't feel like repeating what is documented elsewhere]

    Returning to the commercial market, I can't help but see the similarities, and agree that that Crown's Heights Nostrand Avenue strip of seems to be stuck in a self-fulfilling prophesy:

    The owners don't realize the potential of the avenue, so they don't invest in it.

    This then causes renters who CAN overcome the factors very similar to a - d, to quickly leave the 'hood for greener pastures.



    As you describe in your posts, this process causes the properties to constantly turn over and makes the entire commercial strip not reach its potential.

    We all seem to agree that it only takes a few businesses and landlords to "up their game" in order to have the market to force the others to follow suit. Besides attracting businesses that offer services and products beyond what the avenue is currently known for (i.e. caribbean food, nail salons, dollar stores), are there any efforts to look upstream?

    For example, has outreach been done to real estate agents that handle commercial sales?

    These professionals could market commercial properties for sale in a way that would attract landlords aware of the site's full array of business uses.

    In a perfect world, these new landlords would then improve the properties to the degree that they could attract the savvy business operators the community desires and deserves.

    Afterall, there's no reason anyone on the avenue should have to tolerate nasty food, rude service, or dirty, decrepit storefronts.

  • Although they are easy to make they do get annoying. I mean, why should nostrandpark have to tell others she doesn't want her opinions to be ascribed to her on the basis of attributes that others assign?

    i agree.

    In addition to revealing the "assumers" biases about how members of groups should think, they are often made with very limited information, so they often get the demographics wrong.

    I find it hard to respect the opinions of posters who engage in such laziness.

    ding ding ding

  • Lest readers think that I am relying on assumptions or stereotypes (or indulging in some character assassination to satisfy my own ego needs), I will say one more time that I am relying on evidence for my thesis. I'm not making this up out of thin air. Instead, I looked at:

    1) the NYC Dept of Small Business Services data that NostrandPark presents, easily available from her blog for anyone else to review too

    2) NostrandPark's own statements, i.e.:

    "Let’s talk about the fact that low-income residents are only ever exposed to inferior foods, goods, and services based on someone else’s stereotypes about what they “deserve” or “want”. Let’s talk about how that informs their value system. Let’s talk about how perhaps introducing other options to the hood could have a positive effect on the residents."

    As I said before, I think NostrandPark is doing good work, and I admire her for doing it. Taking on the role of a community advocate is hard. But when someone takes on the role of speaking for the community, we as community members have to hold them up to a high standard. The community deserves that.

  • As I said before, I think NostrandPark is doing good work, and I admire her for doing it.

    My Thesis: I believe that NostrandPark is co-opting the needs/desires of lower-income neighbors in order to push her own middle-class agenda on the neighborhood.

    in other words...

    i really respect NostrandPark, BUT i think she's disingenuously using the interests of the poor to advance her own agenda...

    why don't you be a little more up-front and forthright about YOUR agenda? you dress your point of view up with faux diplomacy, but your contempt shines through.

  • mr. met, NostrandPark is involved in many actions on behalf of the community besides just bringing bars and restaurants to Nostrand Ave. But I believe (even if some don't) that bringing bars and restaurants to Nostrand Ave will benefit its lower income residents, albeit in an indirect way. And I know that NostrandPark is aware of these secondary benefits as well, even though her focus in this thread has not been that.

    NostrandPark and people like her, working together with our community, can be a powerful force for change. I applaud her (over & over again).

    As far as my own motivations, my personality type (Myers Briggs) is that of an "Idealist". For better or worse, I am strongly attached to my values and am aggressive in defending them when they are violated. And I believe that the experiences/hearts/minds, etc. of poor people are often misrepresented in our society, even by people of privilege who are truly good hearted and seek to help them. I have a unique perspective on this because I grew up (desperately) poor, but am now primarily surrounded by middle-class people who trust me as one of them.

    But I find myself wondering what your motivations are? You spend your time following me (and MHA) around on the Brooklynian ripping into my posts with outright hostility using character assassination to harrass and harangue me. I get the impression that you think that I am the devil incarnate.

  • mr met's an internet troll, don't mind him

  • Can we lose the "I have a unique perspective", persecution/savior language and continue to talk about Nostrand Avenue?

    As I read NP's quote:

    "Let’s talk about the fact that low-income residents are only ever exposed to inferior foods, goods, and services based on someone else’s stereotypes about what they “deserve” or “want”. Let’s talk about how that informs their value system. Let’s talk about how perhaps introducing other options to the hood could have a positive effect on the residents."

    I infer that she is tired of seeing the culture of poverty that is represented (and perhaps created by) violence, Tobacco, 40 oz Malt Liquor, Bling Jewelry, Junk food, and being unable to plan a better future for yourself.

    Aren't we all against these things?

    Instead of devolving this thread into silly "I speak for the people of the neighborhood and you don't" nonsense, let's have this thread go places....

    Let's talk about keeping money in the 'hood, and not exporting those jobs.

    Let's talk about attracting businesses that meet the communities unmet needs and desires.

    Let's talk about building the struggling retail sector, and having a business strip that will attract powerful people to the neighborhood.

    As Krowonhill states, we will need lots of people, with lots of talents to improve the neighborhood. That isn't going to happen if we create an environment in which people leave as soon they become successful because their is nothing to keep them there.

    Ultimately, afterall, the residents of the neighborhood will speak for themselves. Business that aren't liked will go under. Let's get a variety of businesses to take the risk and see which ones survive.

  • But I find myself wondering what your motivations are? You spend your time following me (and MHA) around on the Brooklynian ripping into my posts with outright hostility using character assassination to harrass and harangue me.

    correct me if i'm wrong, but i think this thread is the first time i've ever talked to you. i don't see that as "following you around the Brooklynian." in any case, i'm sorry that you feel persecuted. my motivations for responding to your posts are that i disagree with them and the attitudes and assumptions they convey. the same is true for when i "harrass and harangue" MHA, although i wouldn't put the two of you in the same category.

    you probably sense hostility from me because i think you've used this thread as an excuse to express your social views and how they apply to crown heights. i find this annoying. people are complaining about a large amount of businesses (in this case, 99c stores) being concentrated in a small area. somehow you use this to talk about your obviously deep-rooted views about the "middle class," the "professional class", and "sivilizing".

    for example:

    but am now primarily surrounded by middle-class people who trust me as one of them.

    what does this even mean? they trust you as a member of the Middle Class Club?

    i am tired of so many inoccuous discussions in this forum getting somehow get wrangled into being an Us vs. Them dichotomy. it's obvious that that's really all some people want to talk about. and that's fine. people can talk about whatever they want, but i'm not going to stop being annoyed about it.

  • mr met's an internet troll, don't mind him

    oh please

  • -----I repost because I'm afraid my prior post got lost in the squabbling, and I'm genuinely interested in community development.

    I also continue to dream of buying a commercial property on that strip. Hopefully SnowboardQueen and Nostrand Park haven't quit this thread because it is annoying-----

    SnowboardQueen and Nostrand Park,

    As someone who isn't into commercial real estate, your recent posts are making my head have what are likely to be seen as "some pretty rookie type thoughts".

    The idea that the avenue is owned by an assortment of landlords used to providing "low quality, undeveloped spaces" to unsophisticated entry level businesses intrigues me.

    It sounds remarkably similar to a market I am familiar with: The market faced by new renters.

    The dynamics seem very similar in that the renters pay what I consider to be high prices for poorly maintained units. ....like you describe, the price per square foot between the units are counter intuitively similar (or even higher priced) than nicer properties located in nicer neighborhoods.

    The reasons residential tenants have to settle for such crappy, expensive spaces arrangements are well documented, and it is not my goal to repeat them all here.

    In no particular order, I'd like to get away with summing up "the factors that keep these tenants in the less desirable neighborhoods and spaces" as up as a combination of:

    a. Not being savvy enough to shop around

    b. Not having the solid references (track record) that the landlords in the nicer communities require.

    c. Discrimination based on race, religion, etc.

    d. Discrimination based on type of income (for example Section 8 vs salary)

    [there's entire graduate school classes taught on this stuff, I don't feel like repeating what is documented elsewhere]

    Returning to the commercial market, I can't help but see the similarities, and agree that that Crown's Heights Nostrand Avenue strip of seems to be stuck in a self-fulfilling prophesy:

    The owners don't realize the potential of the avenue, so they don't invest in it.

    This then causes renters who CAN overcome the factors very similar to a - d, to quickly leave the 'hood for greener pastures.

    As you describe in your posts, this process causes the properties to constantly turn over and makes the entire commercial strip not reach its potential.

    We all seem to agree that it only takes a few businesses and landlords to "up their game" in order to have the market to force the others to follow suit. Besides attracting businesses that offer services and products beyond what the avenue is currently known for (i.e. caribbean food, nail salons, dollar stores), are there any efforts to look upstream?

    For example, has outreach been done to real estate agents that handle commercial sales?

    These professionals could market commercial properties for sale in a way that would attract landlords aware of the site's full array of business uses.

    In a perfect world, these new landlords would then improve the properties to the degree that they could attract the savvy business operators the community desires and deserves.

    Afterall, there's no reason anyone on the avenue should have to tolerate nasty food, rude service, or dirty, decrepit storefronts.

  • whynot good post, I think the question of what the catalyst has to be for Nostrand to "step up its game" comes down to how real the client base for said businesses on Nostrand is.

    Not to mention, while there is generally what ppl on this forum regards as "crap", there's also a lot of good stuff

    - Key Food on BKA and Fulton is excellent; IMO the best grocery store I've had access to since moving out of my parent's place ~4 yrs ago. Big, clean, cheap, good variety

    - Fish monger on Nostrand and Fulton

    - Natural food store on Nostrand and Atlantic

    As far as a "Nostrand Park" or similar types of business, I sincerely don't think there's enough of a client base to support them. Franklin would not be what it was without the Alma Realty complex pretty much wholly supporting places like Franklin Park, and the demographics continually change more and more as you go west to have strips like Washington & Vanderbilt.

    Plus the fact that Nostrand is somewhat "dead" works in the favor of people who live around there- the rent is cheap, and coincidentally the good businesses there can afford to stay & provide goods at price points that work for the people in the area.

    Like someone said in another thread- "Nostrand is not Franklin, let Nostrand be Nostrand" or something to that effect. For those with the means to travel west quickly, Nostrand/NYA/BKA can be a gold mine.

  • whynot good post, I think the question of what the catalyst has to be for Nostrand to "step up its game" comes down to how real the client base for said businesses on Nostrand is.

    Not to mention, while there is generally what ppl on this forum regards as "crap", there's also a lot of good stuff

    so you think that nostrand avenue is pretty much how its residents want it to be? in other words, that it's fine as is and doesn't need to/shouldn't "step up its game"?

  • CTK,

    I agree and disagree.

    As a result of walking my dog everywhere in my free time, I agree that Nostrand has some definite assets (such as those you list).

    However, I disagree with you that there are not huge opportunities for businesses to make money on Nostrand. Given the neighborhood's demographics, replicating a beer garden that benefits from 4 huge buildings of college educated people largely in their 20 and 30s strikes me as a bad idea.

    In fact, once the pizza place and thai place opens, the businessman in me runs out of new money making business ideas for Franklin.

    ....which leads me to look at Nostrand, the next avenue with lots of foot traffic and a busy subway!

    I see the busy strip and lots of middle class "cubicle people" and health care workers hauling home merchandise and food in bags after they get off work.

    I want to stop them and say: "What is in there? Would you have bought that locally if it were here?

    I want to find out why Crow Hill Bistro (one of Nostrand Ave's recent "middle class" sit down places) went under, and what they would do differently if they were to do it again. I want to know who they were able to engage, and who they were not.

    I want to buy a vacant or under performing building from someone who does not see the area's potential, renovate it for a bargain while the construction market is depressed, and then rent it out.

    I want to hang out at the thriving Super Wings and ask them what they would open if they had the capital to open another establishment, and why. Because their bajillion customers have decided to eat something "new" for the neighborhood, I want to ask them what else they want. ...whenever I am in there, I see a mom buying takeout for her family. What local businesses would her 'tween and teenage kids like?

    Given their enthusiasm for the new sushi place on Nostrand, I want to ask the readers of Brownstoner, what else they would like: http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2011/01/sushi_opens_on.php#comments

    I certainly don't want to compete in the world of steam table food or dollar stores, to me that market seems saturated. I want to find something that someone (perhaps not me) could earn a solid living from owning and operating.

    I hope to go to the jazz -sports bar sometime soon, have a beer and get a sense of who else is around me.

    ....man, I would love to get out of the "cubicle life" and own a business, or work part time because I had somehow pulled together enough to become a landlord.

    I hope there are others like me.

    I hope they are beyond the dream stage.

  • One of the things that I think needs to be kept in mind with regards to the current state of play on Nostrand is what are the mindset of the landlords of the street. Its important to understand that on a strip where the police were able to shut down five or six storefronts for illegal drug sales, the types of businesses that are there provide a reasonable, reliable level of CASH flow to some absentee landlords. As they don't live in the neighborhood, they don't care about scaling up the place because tenants that are engaged in illicit sales are usually involved in recession-proof businesses that are still able to deal with rent increases.

    With some of the property changing hands in the last ten years, there has been somewhat of a changing mindset in the area. But one has to wonder if something is going on when every business on a street sells the same exact goods and yet no one ever closes down or gets driven out of business by the competition. Until there is an economic incentive for landlords to move out those storefronts that don't actually ever have any goods for sale or those places that manage to stay in business even without a visible customer base, I don't think there will be much in the way of change on Nostrand.

    And as an example, I give you this same discussion from 2 years ago.

  • Homeowner-

    Yes, I still see several storefronts that continue to meet your description.

    ...and that is a good link. While much of it still rings true to me, I perceive some progress as having been made.

    I'd have to learn more before I become optimistic enough to believe that we could achieve some of the existing drug depots to consolidate. (I don't consider elimination to be realistic).

    In my dual quest to improve the 'hood and make some money, I'd take local crime levels into account, and make informed decisions about whether their interests are best served by accessing and deciding which of the local "powers that be" should be kissed up to, whether they be the drug dealers, large scale landlords (Mr Dave and Mr Jeff?), or the at times "irrelevant" 77th pct.

    Perhaps a food service place that serves traditional American food and does not need to be open really late, like a nice diner? .....I'd ask the owners of that diner on the other side of EP (the name might be Sunshine...) how Nostrand Ave was treating them.

    It should be interesting to watch the Italian place that will soon open next to the Sports Jazz place.

    ....both seem similar to my latest whim.

  • Given all the talk about drug dealing, I wonder whether the dealers perhaps shake down legitimate stores... "let my friends sell drugs from your restaurant kitchen or your chef will not live another day..."

    That could certainly exert a drag upon efforts to run a profitable business.

  • I had good cause to walk on Nostrand between Fulton and Eastern Parkway twice in two days. Nostrand has EVERYTHING! The irony is I could not find a 99 cent store! I am sure they exist, but, where are the countless numbers of them griped about? What does seem wrong about the businesses seems to me to be out of the control of the proprietors, and more the responsibility of the landlords. There seems to me to be little maintenance to property, and, if you ask me, that's a perennial issue when it comes to 'certain' people living or doing business and others indifferent to the quality of life of 'certain' people...

    There are so many businesses on Nostrand! The area is teeming with people, car traffic and the sounds of commerce.

    Here is an irony for you: When the dude with the pawnshop started his business, I was the first to mention my own issue with it, and to that came tremendous blowback about capitalism and the good ol' American way. Here I am saying quite the opposite: 'What of the good ol' American way?' And some of the social planners are responding as if there should be some sort of cultural code which ought to dictate what sort of business should exist in a specific area, because those who live in that area with a median income of 'x' want it -- as if that somehow ought to dictate some dude's desire to sell Poland Spring for 99 cents?! Whaddup wit' dat? And to that social-planner -poster -- who has cleverly branded his/her neighborhood with a sexy moniker and icon (and no doubt trademarked it to boot) -- tells me to check myself (before I wreck 'mha-self', presumably). Ah well. It's weird, when I am in midtown and I walk down Restaurant Row, I don't hear people bemoaning the plethora of restaurants; or when I am in Chinatown, I don't see anyone bemoaning the presence of vendors selling the same stuff, the same food, or when I am in Little Italy, no one says, there's too much pizza here, but whenever Black people sell the same thing, whenever you get 3 hairdressers on the same block, or 4 places selling roti, or curry goat, everybody has a problem with it, and hipsters want to say we need a Syd's sandwich shop; that we need 'variety'. Well, ain't Das Kapital supposed to Da-termine every-thang??? Wassup wit dat?

    Check yo-self indeed....

  • MHA!

    First,

    What would you do to get those landlords to "up their game"?

    Second,

    I like Nostrand too! There are a lot of businesses and shoppers there.

    I think that is what is causing folks to wonder what should go in next. Kinda like when you bite into a really yummy burger and say to yourself "You know what would go really good with this? ....Ketchup!"

    So Nostrand is the burger. What would you add to it?

    How about marketing it as THE Carribean Destination of NYC?

    After getting all the vendors input, it could be like Little India in the Village, with stores competing on the basis of which part of the region they came from.

    One could even put a theme store in that would sell tourist kitch from each island: the silly carved coconuts, bracelets, t-shirts, etc that the cruise ship people buy. Folks could sell hunks of sugar cane to the visitors.

    One could operate a liquor store that sold only rum. Rum from every island. Dark Rum, light rum, etc.

    It would be like a mini trip to the Carribean and it could tie into the labor day parade. It would be great!

    NostrandPark wrote about her version of it here: http://nostrandpark.com/destination-nostrand/

    ...her version is a scaled down version of mine. She seems more practical and realistic than me.

    P.S. Did you see the new We Buy Gold Place? It is located at 814 Nostrand.

  • MHA makes a damn good point

    You can't move into a cultural enclave and complain about them not catering to you... and it's a little goofy to dismiss the businesses not catering to you as 'low quality'.

    Plus again it's not like Franklin isn't a little walk away.

    Take stock in what Nostrand has to offer. I come back to CH just for jerk seasoning & chicken patties

  • 1. The fact that nostrand has businesses and foot traffic isn't in dispute

    2. Nostrand doesn't have everything

    3. Demand for certain businesses dictates whether they should be there

    4. No one wants to boycott the new store, so it doesn't really compare to the situation with the pawn shop. If the store flourishes, so be it.

    5. Das Kapital is supposed to determine everything. That's the point of this thread -- according to data, demand doesn't seem to be being met.

  • Nostrand doesn't have everything for mr. met. But for the majority of people who live near it it has enough.

    There aren't that many "urban" bars or clubs on Nostrand either. The only one I can think of is Starlight Lounge, which I believe closed down. Nostrand just doesn't seem conducive to becoming a Washington or Vanderbilt. Trust, business folks are looking east, but just not seeing the environment they would like to open something up on Nostrand.

  • CTK, I haven't read anyone propose that the demographics of Nostrand would support the types of businesses recently added to Franklin and Vandy.

    Such businesses would probably fail on Nostrand.

    Many of us seem to believe that the areas current demographics could support a greater variety of businesses.

    .....this stops short of Krowonhill's assertion that new businesses should be encouraged to bring a greater mix of people in.

    This "serve the current residents first" model of development is one I like in my role as an potential businessman because it seems to involve little risk and few assumptions.

  • KOH:

    The data speaks for itself.

    Respectfully, you read the data wrong (as I clearly pointed out in my previous post). You read the community wrong. You read me wrong.

    Though every single piece of documentation that I posted clearly supports what I was saying – that folks here want more diverse options on Nostrand than what is currently available – there still seems to be lingering questions, primarily about my motivations -

    this despite the fact that what I wrote is consistent (1) with dozens upon dozens of conversations that I have had with numerous merchants on Nostrand Avenue, (2) recurring conversations with multiple property owners on Nostrand Ave, (3) multiple community board meetings that I have attended, (4) a survey conducted by the community board (the body that represents the community, (5) conversations that I have had with too many local residents to count and (6) data by a renowned retail consulting firm. Rather than just acknowledge that you got it wrong, you continue the attack on my character, which you know nothing about.

    Thought I'd done my diligence, but please let me know how much higher these standards are that I have to meet before I can speak. Should I be more involved in the community than I am (see Community Pride Day, which I planned from start to finish. I'm in the picture at the bottom). When the data speaks for itself, what does it matter that I'm the daughter of an immigrant? That my grandfather was a taxi driver? That half my family was born in and still lives in the ghetto?

    I honestly respect and appreciate that you challenged me, but then to not acknowledge that ultimately you were wrong, and to continue the attack and not know anything about me is counterproductive.

    When polled by the community board, 63% of the residents polled - who've lived here an average of 22 years (not the hipsters and recent professional transplants that you suppose) - indicated that they do not shop on Nostrand and similar commercial corridors because "I can't find what I want there". 47% begrudge the "poor quality of goods and services" and the "lack of selections". Not to mention that the unmet demand for bars and restaurants in the neighborhood is one of the highest across various categories. Yet you declare that "Nostrand has EVERYTHING" and that lower-income residents do not "want" or "need" bars or restaurants.

    Well, kudos to you (and MHA) for your omniscience. For knowing more than the community board. Knowing more than the property owners. Knowing more than the consulting company. Knowing more than the business owners. Knowing more than the property owners. Knowing more than the residents. Knowing more than me (heck, even knowing more about me than me).

    Next time I embark on a project like this, I'll remember to go straight to the TRUE source for my information.

    -----

    Oh and MHA - regarding the "irony" of overlooking the cultural niche along Nostrand - as whynot pointed out - see Destination Nostrand. Read more. Type less.

  • As some one who lives "near nostrand" - the avenue that I walk everyday, I would like more choices. I occasionally pick up an item at the 99cent store, but IMHO, the 99 Cent Stores and other discount stores that exist on Nostrand are pretty much all the same, they are well represented in number and generally cater to a specific buyer. If I had my druthers, I'd prefer not to have another 99cent/bargain store when there are so many other economic possibilities. The fact of the matter is that there are a large amount of untapped dollars that leave the neighborhood for shopping and entertainment on a daily basis. I know mine often do. (A girl can only eat so much curry and roti.)

    It would be great for everyone involved if more of that money from residents who started moving in about 10 years ago, thus slightly altering the demographics, stayed in the community. The question shouldn't be "discount store" OR "upper scale specialty shop," but how do we foster a landscape that accepts and encourages both. Did anyone else go to the, I think it was called, "Fulton First" meeting, at Restoration about 7 or 8 years ago wherein the representatives we so stunned by the data showing the large amounts of middle class money that had been steadily moving into the northern side of Crown Heights? They mentioned a huge gap between residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Fulton Street, those below the poverty line, and those above 100k while asking how do you satisfy both? More people with disposable incomes are moving in and the same question has yet to be answered. The money is here. It would be nice to keep it here.

  • In regard to Crow Hill Bistro, just like Tavern on Nostrand before them, it's my feeling that they didn't read their customer correctly. Many younger 20-30 somethings, and even 40 somethings, those who use restaurants like kitchens, are looking for a more relatable atmosphere. Less fine finishes, less catalogue furniture, a little more home spun. It's not the weekend special night out customer that a neighborhood place needs, but the anytime regular who feels just as comfortable eating in their Chuck Taylor's as their Cole Haan's.

    I wonder if we could support a good Japanese ramen shop on Nostrand.

  • By way of disclosure, I was white and middle class as a child (still am though not a child). I grew up in a neighborhood that was more diverse (racially, economically) than most in NYC - though is not now. My childhood took place in the 1970s.

    I am all for a diversity of places to shop. I don't have anything against a 99 cent store, but don't desire another one. And largely my wish list of stores mimics the type of places that I remember shopping at as a kid.

    There was Williams Bar-B-Que chicken, Murray's appetizing shop, Morris Brothers children's clothing store, Rosen Brothers meat store, the Towne Shop (when shopping for clothes with Mom), Party Cake and Lichtmans bakeries, West Side Camera and West Side Judaica. There were a couple of restaurants Chun-Cha-Fu and Taj Mahal are the only ones I can name though there was also a steak shop. There was a Five-and-Dime (Woolworths). There were a couple of bookstores, though the one I went to most was around the corner from the New Yorker Movie theater. A couple of places that I can't name anymore I can still remember the names of the owners/people behind the counter - the pet shop was owned by Tom and later his daughter Kate, the toy store by Jim. And there were a couple of supermarkets - Red Apple, Daitch (sp?) and Key Food and a bank - Dime. There were also a lot of places we did not shop.

    What strikes me about the list is that I can name places and workers who I haven't seen in decades. It is also diverse (I've not named a single place more than four blocks from the apartment in which I grew up) and did not involve chain stores for the most part.

    But here is one issue with the list, almost none of the places still exist. They have been replaced by up-scale chains. And truthfully, that neighborhood needs another bank or Banana Republic about as much as Nostrand needs another 99 cent store. (Again just my opinion.)

    A desire for shopping diversity hits up against two factors that did not exist back in days of my childhood - the big box (Target) and the category killer (Toys-R-Us). I don't know if my parents would have gone to Morris Brothers for my clothing if a Target had existed. And for low-income people, having the choice of lower-cost places to shop, both in the neighborhood and outside of it, is imperative. But for those of us who can afford it, there is a lot to be said for the personal service at Sisters rather than the discount at Lowes.

    This brings up my question - one that I think is at the heart of Nostrand Park and many other of the people posting. How do we foster diverse economic development? One glimmer of hope is that the populace at all economic brackets in Brooklyn knows how to eat at non-chain restaurants. How do we similarly encourage shopping for everything else in the same way? And trust me, I don't have the answer to this.

  • i am tired of so many inoccuous discussions in this forum getting somehow get wrangled into being an Us vs. Them dichotomy. it's obvious that that's really all some people want to talk about. and that's fine. people can talk about whatever they want, but i'm not going to stop being annoyed about it.

    Amen.

  • Next time I embark on a project like this, I'll remember to go straight to the TRUE source for my information.

    Worker's Vanguard? The Militant? Or maybe Z-Magazine?

    When you're armed with the ideology of class struggle mixed with subjective experience, who needs reason and fact?

This discussion has been closed.