Thursday, July 2, 2015

On East 9th Street Dusty Buttons is closing after 125% rent hike: 'Saying goodbye will hurt like hell'



A reported rent hike forced Cafe Pick Me Up out of its 20-year home at 145 Avenue A at the end of May.

Meanwhile, landlord Icon Realty apparently hasn't been renewing leases for the small shops that make up the East Ninth Street storefronts. Just two remain open… and one of them, the vintage boutique Dusty Buttons, has just put up a store closing sign.


[Photo via Bayou]

Aside from announcing sales and thanking customers, the proprietors offer a sarcastic kudos to the landlord.

"And thank you Icon Realty Management for making all of this possible! Hope your investments pay off! Coming soon, the NEW East Village!"

Dusty Buttons owner Amanda Loureiro told us that Icon served her a 30-day notice to vacate her shop last Friday.

She also shared a letter that she plans on posting to the store's Facebook page (edited a bit for length):

The first time I heard from Icon Realty we were asked to vacate for an undisclosed amount of time to allow for repairs to the building, and also offered a new lease with an unaffordable 125 percent increase for our less than 300-square-foot store. Then with no more conversation came the 30-day notice to vacate. I knew this day would come, that energy was swirling about for months. Icon bought our building last year, since then we have been looking for affordable East Village store front with no luck.

We opened Dusty Buttons six years ago in October. We moved once from across the street. My husband and I both live in the East Village. He moved here in his early 20s in 1982. I ran away to NYC at 17 in 1992 to live with a boyfriend for a while, attracted to the creative energy and a feeling of anything could be possible for a odd young girl from a small New England town. The boyfriend and I broke up and I begrudgingly moved home, with a feeling that I would return one day...

It was 2009 when I returned, very different from 1992. But that energy was still here and we found an affordable rent for Dusty Buttons. I met amazing like-minded creative people, became part of a neighborhood ... and adored being part of a community.

My husband and I are considering moving the store and ourselves to Philadelphia. The rents are lower and a creative energy feels full and strong. We may change our store a bit, more antiques ... maybe even a name change to 'Dusty and Buttons' a bit more of a duo like Tango and Cash or Hall and Oates!

July 29 is probably our last day as we have to be out by the 31st. There will be a sale, not a crazy one because we adore our inventory and want to bring it with us, but still a pretty good one! Come by and say farewell. I can't promise to not be tearful because this little shop was my baby, and saying goodbye will hurt like hell.

Icon Realty bought the building at 145 Avenue A for $10.1 million in April 2014, according to public records.

39 comments:

Walter said...

The best of luck to you. 36 year resident talking! Got one more year on my lease and then it's sayonara. This area is becoming like midtown south. It's already lost most of its character. Again, best of luck...moving will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Unknown said...

Goddamn.

R.O.S.A. said...

This is another death knell to one of the most interesting shopping blocks in the city -- not just the East Village.

But the fools who are "running the show" now will replace this darling shop with some soulless crap for the bros and hos...and inevitably, it will be out of business within a year.

Stop tax breaks for vacant retail properties!!!

Wake up, City Hall!

Anonymous said...

Here you have a successful local business put OUT of business and for what?! This is the equivalent of walking up to a random stranger on the street and shooting them in the face. It's so senseless.

Giovanni said...

I was just cruising down ninth street yesterday and thinking this is still one of the great blocks in the East Village. Well not anymore.NYU is hell-bent on destroying what's left of the West Village. Icon and the rest of the real estate crowd are hell-bent on destroying what's left of he East Village.

Imagine if someone told you that in 30 days they were going to destroy everything you worked hard to build. Real estate investors must be the only people on earth who will actually buy something because they hate it and want to destroy it. They think they're the only ones who can make something better by destroying what's already there, even when what's already there is really great. .I just hope when these knuckle dragging lowlifes finally make it to hell they forget to bring their asbestos jumpsuits and suntan lotion. And won't they be shocked when they find out that they can't evict the devil.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for Waka Flocka Killah's investigative piece on Icon Realty for Bro + Brah. They care!

uncle Pete said...

so sad... just sad. Here's to fresh hope and new beginnings... you will find your new spot and it will be even better than 9th street was!

Anonymous said...

"Here's to fresh hope and new beginnings... you will find your new spot and it will be even better than 9th street was! "

Yes! a block of coffee shops served by caffeinologists in their trilbys and trendeateries serving those with self-illusion of selectivity (#SIoS). East Village today!

marjorie said...

I'm so sorry, Amanda. I hope if you can't stay here you'll find a wonderful space and make a fabulous life in Philly. Fuck Icon.

Shawn G. Chittle said...

Amanda and Peter are incredible neighbors and friends. Philly would be a much better place with them in it. Having said that, I hope they can still find a store in the East Village - so many vacant storefronts.

Anonymous said...

This is a stab to the heart. What the fuck is happening to our beloved, sacred community? FUCKED UP! Greedy landlord asswipes.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

The City Council allows this to continue despite a solution that's been around since the mid 1980s. It's called the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. It's been intensely opposed by the real estate industry since it was first introduced. Votes on it have been squashed by mayors and successive Speakers, including our current "progressive" Speaker.

The SBJSA puts commercial tenants and landlords on a more level playing field when leases need to be re-negotiated. If a new agreement can't be reached, a mediator's brought in. If that fails, it goes to binding arbitration, paid for by the parties' involved. There's no government involvement, or cost. It's not commercial rent control.

Google Small Business Jobs Survival Act, you'll find plenty of info on it. The Villager has been doing a great series on it too.

Anonymous said...

The sad reality is that many non-EV neighborhoods are what the EV once was... both in and out of NYC!

Anonymous said...

More level playing field? It puts all the power in the business renting the commercial space. And who would be in charge without any judicial or legislative oversight? A private group of individuals. If this was around back in the day, blacksmiths would still abound. Another proposal to annihilate NYC's economy.

Ena Paul Kostabi said...

I only went there once

Anonymous said...

Beware of politicians and planners: "Beyond the avenue corners, storefronts along the entire length of St. Mark’s Place are nonconforming. Hundreds of businesses throughout the East Village would not exist if today’s politicians and planners had their way."

"Commercial rent control is an oft-cited demand from those who bemoan the city’s changing retail landscape, but regulating retail rents is unpopular with all but the far left, and has no realistic chance of passing. Even small business owners are far wealthier than most New York City tenants, and they sell goods out of their spaces at unregulated prices."

http://newyorkyimby.com/2015/06/to-diversify-manhattans-retail-free-the-side-streets.html

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

July 2, 2015 at 12:01 PM You seem to be very confused. First though. How exactly does the SBJSA puts all the power in the hands of landlords?

Second. Commercial contract arbitration is a very common. It's an attractive legal alternative to litigation because going to court is a long process and very expensive. The agreement between the landlord and tenant to submit their dispute to arbitration is a legally binding contract.

Third. Blacksmiths wouldn't still be around if we'd had something like the SBJSA around. Obviously because small business survival would strictly be a function of supply/demand and not the whims of the landlord.

Anonymous said...

Walter:
I am 38 and left the East Village last year. I had been hanging out in the EV since 1994, but set roots down on Ave A in 1997. I later moved to 2nd Ave near 13th St, which is like frat boy and girl city, with all the bars. My rent nearly doubled over the last few years and it just got to a point, btw the morons walking around, the noise (oh god, the fucking noise) and the puke all the time, that it finally got to me. It was hard to digest at first, but life has greatly improved since. Amazing how I always used to read this from people that said this before me all these years and I was like, nah. But it's true; leaving the EV so far has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I didn't move all that far, but I've really only gone east of Third Ave maybe 2 or 3 times in the last 12 months. Now with Pick me up gone, among other places, there is just nothing left that I used to know. The days of Korova and The CocK, even the old Mexican place on the corner of 11th and A "La Caribe" which was fucking awesome is long gone, now West Vill East jammed packed with a bunch of insanely stupid White girls (I'm a White guy) sipping ice coffee and fixated on their phones. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have never been in any of the stores on 9th Street, except the barber. I'm not really a shopper.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

July 2, 2015 at 12:01 PM sorry I misread your first point. And not sure how that happened since your contention is the one that the real estate industry has been shoveling to the public and especially to gullible city council members.

So to your piece of disinformation. Yes, initially, the business may have "all the power." But that changes when it triggers the move to mediation/arbitration which does level the playing field absolutely. As you probably know but aren't saying, arbitration has proved so popular and effective in the USA that it's now being used by businesses internationally.

weigone said...

I LOVE Dusty Buttons 😥 So sorry for you and sorry to see you go. Best, best, best of luck.

skearney502 said...

I am sorry to hear about getting shafted by your landlord. I remember my great aunt, who grew up and worked in NYC from pre-WWI until the 1960s, told me that "NYC was becoming suitable only for the very rich, and nothing in between." She made that statement almost 50 years ago! I hate seeing the city fall into the hands of rapacious land owners and their equally greedy cohorts/customers from Wall Street.

Please come to Philadelphia! We are still a livable city and getting better all the time. I would be your first customer in line.

Anonymous said...

It's so strange to think that there are people behind Icon Realty. What kind of people or business runs this way? It's so strange. It hurts them in the long run financially because they are destroying the area.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating, Ena. Just . . . fascinating.

sam_the_man said...

Anonymous 1:26 -

Oh.

Anna said...

The East Village was a place for little interesting shops. Up and coming designers were able to open their first stores, such as Eileen Fisher, who still owns a store just a block away. For a while all we saw were nail salons, and gelato shops. Now we have empty storefronts. What a shame to lose such a wonderful shop, and couple - Amanda and Peter. We will miss you.

Scooby said...

Such a cute shop - sorry this happened to you. I wish you luck in wherever the new shop lands. Hmm... Philadelphia - I've always considered moving there as things have slid down the shitter here. My relatives there would like to see me closeby.

Perhaps, as people have said, it is a blessing in disguise. I know the pain of seeing the East Village that we know 'n love being actively destroyed in front of our eyes... Be well and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

@2:14pm: There are NO actual human beings behind Icon, only pieces of shit disguised as humans but always functioning at the level of pieces of shit b/c shit is all they know.

Anonymous said...

When I first moved to the neighborhood 25 years ago, there were so many small, interesting shops. Now the neighborhood is dominated by bars and chain stores like Starbucks and 7-11 are moving in. It's sad to see the change. It's not for the better.

Anonymous said...

Asheville, North Carolina.

EVQP said...

Sign the petition to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, and join the Facebook group #TakeBackNYC - and please help to spread the word!

https://www.change.org/p/support-the-small-business-jobs-survival-act-sbjsa

Anonymous said...

Of course these stores50- 60 years ago were peoples apartments that were thrown out.

Anonymous said...

too many of these high buildings will ruin the village and like greenwich village gone soon than later..east village "colony of the arts" no one has come up with a plan,yet, stay tuned...no deald ..NOT AN EXTRA SQ. INCH OF SPACE

Gojira said...

No, Anon. 9:20, "50-60 years ago" these storefronts were - storefronts. That's the way the buildings were constructed from the get-go; no one was evicted to make room for them. When I moved into the neighborhood in the late 70s there were still stores that, at that point, had been around for decades, old Polish and Ukrainian places, some of which lasted into the early 21st century before vanishing quietly.

Christopher Pelham said...

Icon's web site does not give the names of any of its owners or employees.

Anonymous said...

Gojira yes, on the sidestreets they were storefronts in the 30s and 40's but in the 70's people were living in those places. Sorry the mass of storefronts on side streets has happened over past 30 years. Anon was right. On the commercial avenues such as First or Second they were always storefronts. The influx of places which opened up in former Alphabet City also transformed a very residential area into a much more commercialized space. That is the very essence of EV which has been constantly transforming and changing.

Bayou said...

Todd Cohen and Terrence Lowenberg
419 Lafayette Street

Anonymous said...

Isn't it Trump's son-in-law?

Anonymous said...

Nope Trump's son in law is Jared Kushner who also owns The Observer and major contributor to Democratic Party. Kushner buildings in area usu. have Westminster Management logo.