Monday, July 10, 2017

Steve Cuozzo: 'A new Starbucks will make the thriving East Village an even better place to live'


[Photo by Steven]

As we noted last week, various community groups and local shop owners from the East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA) are planning a rally at the incoming Starbucks on Avenue A and St. Mark's Place on Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Per the invite: "We don't need more chains in the East Village! We need retail diversity and independently owned local businesses!"

The rally notice caught the eye of New York Post columnist/critic Steve Cuozzo... who filed a piece published this past weekend titled "Why anti-Starbucks hipsters sound a lot like Trump supporters" ...



Some excerpts, including the lead...

East Village apocalypse! Starbucks is at the Tompkins Square Park gates! Sound the dirge for “retail diversity and independently owned local businesses!”

And!

Their tantrum would be funny if it didn’t reflect an obnoxious New York sociopolitical sensibility shared by “progressive” thinkers who quail at actual progress — whether it means reducing crime, investing in decayed neighborhoods or selling coffee that doesn’t taste like grounds at the bottom of a cup.

No neighborhood impulse is more illiberal than to keep out those who don’t conform to voluble locals’ sense of who belongs. We may assume that Starbucks-damning East Villagers did not vote for Donald Trump (whose son-in-law Jared Kushner controls a real-estate company that owns 50-odd Alphabet City buildings). Yet they sound ready to build walls to protect small shops and cafes from outside competition and perhaps to demand the interlopers pay for them.

But if the East Village’s colorful small shops and eateries face a threat, it isn’t Starbucks or drugstore chains. It’s landlords who raise rents to a level the market will bear, a phenomenon that stretches north, west and south of Tompkins Square Park.

And in the end...

A new Starbucks will make the thriving East Village an even better place to live. But it’ll disappoint those who perversely preferred the neighborhood of 30 years ago, when it was better known for crack than for coffee.

33 comments:

KT said...

Cuozzo is a total hack. It isn't the "landlords fault". Right. It's not City Hall's fault for blocking a hearing & vote on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) that would keep original good businesses in place by giving rights to Mom & Pop so they can negotiate a fair lease with their landlord. A couple of weeks ago mayoral candidate Sal Albanese found 145 vacant storefronts on a 114 block footprint on the UES where he vowed, if elected Mayor he would pass the SBJSA once and for all. Cuozzo came out with an editorial the next day saying it wasn't de Blasio's fault for all the vacant storefronts. So we are all clear -- it's ok BdB takes credit for all of the new jobs our hard working business owners create, but it's not BdB's fault that storefronts all over the city are vacant. BdB sponsored the SBJSA when he was a council member and championed it when he ran for Public Advocate (of course Cuozzo omitted that pesky little fact) but he shouldn't be held accountable for the vacancy epidemic that wouldn't be happening if we had common sense legislation like the SBJSA. Perhaps when Cuozzo is done being a megaphone for City Hall, he can go work for Fox and be a megaphone for the GOP. Sal Albanese needs to raise $65k more to reach $175k by Aug 5th to qualify for the first debate so NYers can see and hear there is an alternative to BdB who is sitting on a $4M war chest of landlord & developer money. #SaveNYC https://www.nycvotes.org/campaigns/631/contributions/new

sophocles said...

A wall in the East Village! Why didn't I think of that? Like one of those towns in Italy. Then we could keep out not only Starbucks but the invading hordes of Sunday brunchers. We could charge a toll to enter the East Village, and use the money to purchase willow trees and crack cocaine. But whose going to pay for it? Maybe Trump himself!
Sorry, I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy... this is going to be an EVG comment shit show!

Anonymous said...

I sortof agree with him

Gojira said...

Agree with the first poster, Cuozzo is a complete tool. He used to be the Post's food critic, not sure how he graduated to his current exalted status, but I do remember the crusade he went on in the mid - 2000s (when I was still reading the Post for the amusement factor, before realizing that it was, in fact, the world's most colorful cat litter) to get the perfectly fine 1920s Pennsylvania Hotel across from Penn Station razed so something big and shiny could take its place. Just another clueless, classless, tasteless doorknob, is our Stevie.

Anonymous said...

Cuozzo is indeed a tool and purposely posts such BS to get clicks / more website visitors. Have you ever seen his nonsensical rambling about bikes in the city? I have a hard time believing normal people can be that deranged, and have concluded that he will say anything to generate some outrage clicks. Much like the Post headlines overall.

Giovanni said...

I believe "cuozzo" is that slimy green gunk that gets stuck in the corner of your nose that you have to rip out along with a few nose hairs. Anyone who doesn't value New York neighborhoods with locally owned stores and favors big chains and gentrification isn't really a New Yorker anyway. And Steve Cuozzo grew up on Long Island, that bland stretch of suburbia that protects the Hamptoms from the real world. Maybe he misses the bland malls surrounded by giant parking lots, or maybe he's just shilling for another big corporation. It doesn't matter because he doesn't live in this neighborhood either, he lives in the Yupper East Side which is more devoid of character than a White House staffer. His paper is owned by a cranky old guy from Australia who also owns a Cable TV network chick full of sexual harassers and misogynists. They just suspended another one of their anchors named Charles Payne last week. His whole company reeks of male cronyism and conservative family values, which means lots of skirt chasing and promoting vulture capitalism. Go back to Long Island Steve, you certainly have no clue what real New Yorkers care about or are going through.

Anonymous said...

Seriously. Everyone needs to take a chill pill (or two) regarding the Starbucks divide. Its a Starbucks. Get a grip. I honestly don't understand why others are having tantrums or nervous breakdowns about this. Aren't we adults? There still are plenty of independent owned operations throughout this large community to frequent. This is not the end of the world nor it is the end of modern civilization. Even though I am not a fan of Steve Cuozzo, who I personally find to be a malcontent and a dinosaur, he has a point. For the many who gripe about the impending arrival, with their rallies, their Facebook posts, and so on, they certainly seem to carry a lot misguided ammunition and denial. much like the Trump supporters did, and sadly still do. Instead of harnessing one's energy into a rally that will go nowhere, why not continue to support local businesses by spearheading social media campaigns to boost their business or even volunteer? Why not visit them every day and buy something if it is that important to you? Why not take personal inventory of your hatred and refusal? None of us can control this. No one.

I respect all of whom grew up during a time when this wasn't even an afterthought. I get it. It was a time of magic where small businesses thrived and others were able to sustain an actual living and pay decent rents, where everybody knew everyone, where everything seemed possible, and where there was an evoked feeling of togetherness. But those times are gone. The sad part about this is some want to continue to remain there indefinitely. We can't live or marinate in the past or hold onto to something that ceases to exist.

Perhaps those who are adamant against this should conserve your negative and/or ambivalent energy. Accept that Starbucks will be soon indoctrinated into our eclectic hood. Isn't that what the EV is about? Inclusion and diversity? Peace out.

Anonymous said...

The.Post is worthless and always has been. I was misquoted once in the most unbelievable way by an idiot writer posing as and arts and culture writer on later to find out she was writing about Realestate.
Defending your neighborhood from predator landlords is a bad thing now? Tell that to the judge that is putting Croman in Rikers for a year. In a way the East Village and parts of Chinatown may be that last hold out of what made NYC such a fascination place and a powerhouse of creativity and culture. Chains contribute nothing but profits for shareholders small businesses create a life and income for working class people while enriching others lives. It is almost a waste of time to bitch about Cuozzo since giving a platform to a fool only leads to disaster as we see everyday now. I encourage people to register to vote before the primary election, and if you are registered please vote. This is pretty much a one party town so who wins the primary will win the election. I've been reading up on Sal Albanese who is running for mayor, so far he is our best chance to get rid of De Blassio before he levels the city of our history and future.

Anonymous said...

That NYP piece is a great example of Troll Writing 101.

Anonymous said...

Steve Cuozzo also hates bike lanes, food trucks, and the homeless. He has written more columns about how he hates bike lanes than there are miles of bike lanes. He's just an old crank telling "get off my lawn" that no one would listen to if he werent so crank and offensive all the time. He also called th EV "Alphabet City" which tells you he probably hasn't even been down here in 30 years, except maybe for SantaCon.

cmarrtyy said...

A tool of the real estate industry. An assassin of the working class! But he is right about the jobs.

Anonymous said...

"better place to live" is a strange, culture war diehard assertion. Because Think Coffee isn't a national brand? In the eyes of the Post it's either 1977 and Fear City or an upscale urban mall of the Union Square sort. There's nothing in between. Starbucks won't change anything. That change happened for good sometime between Gulf War I and the impeachable blowjob.

A very well dressed lady with a wheeled suitcase on Avenue B asked me somewhat frantically if there was a "Starbucks" nearby. I said no but pointed her at 9th St Expresso 50 feet away. She headed towards it clutching her cellphone with purpose.

Anonymous said...

@10:46 AM
Every time a landlord forces out small business and is able to nab a big corporate chain it sets a new standard for commercial rents in the EV. This is why am anxious when a Starbucks opens this far east into the neighborhood, it indicates "safe for all" meaning not safe from crime but safe from having to buy coffee from a small independent cafe or restaurant. Tell a New York to not bitch about something they care about is the only waste of time here. As a small business owner I have felt the affects of losing my business to a large corporate player, and it suck. As the population changes with more people loving chains and "brands" only the point will be moot but that time has not come yet, so we will continue to support local businesses and bitch to those that can set laws and policies to stop this.

sophocles said...

10:24 AM; How do you know so much about Steve Cuozzo? Are you actually Steve Cuozzo?

Michael Paul said...

Cuozzo has no idea what it means to have national chain stores invade the East Village. Their impact on independently owned businesses erases our culture's history.

Anonymous said...

So Cuozzo is saying a new Starbucks is an immigrant, a non-white, a Mexican, a liberal, a woman, or a mainstream media member (all the people Trump and his supporters hate) to someone who doesn't want Starbucks further mallifying NYC. LOL

Nice false equivalence.

And what's he rambling on about regarding "Trump supporters" when his newspaper endorsed Trump and supports him? And the paper is the go to rag for Trumpland NYC (Staten Island save Stapleton and south Brooklyn.)

rubygirl said...

We'll make up your mind then. And which part? The part where he makes the sarcastic comment about how we can't spell our own street, though indeed it is spelled correctly? Or the part about where he suggests that people invested here and want to save our local businesses must be Trump supporters? Or the part about how Starbucks' terrible burned coffee somehow makes any neighborhood a better place to live (huh?). Or the part where he makes Jared seem like one of the crowd, but doesn't mention the thousands of code violations including rats in his properties. Or could it be how we all prefer crack addled homeless people, but Starbucks can fix all that. With their terrible coffee. Or the part about how it isn't corporations encroachment our neighborhood but the landlords charging high rents. And why do we think that happens. Could it be because they know corporations like Starbucks will pay the highest prices and edge out businesses that serve the residents? There will always be people who will agree with crap journalists like Steve Cuozzo. And Milo. And Cernovich. It doesn't make them, or you right.

rubygirl said...

100%

Anonymous said...

Cuozzo really hit the nail on the head pretty squarely. He's absolutely right.

rubygirl said...

Who just wrote this? Steve Cuozzo? Accept the inevitable? Hahaha. Hahaha.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, NYPOST, the paper that defended Taylor Swift as NYC's ambassador. Of course it'll defend Starbucks too: TayTay' songs are on repeat there and her albums are for sale there too. Welcome to New York, or EV, it's been suburbanized and sterilized for you!

Anonymous said...

I've always made a point of not patronizing Starbucks. Even though the awful trend of client meetings in coffee shops shows no sign of peaking. When I do have to patronize Starbucks for that reason alone I insist on tipping.

The only solution is commercial rent control but I doubt that would even get out of the city council. If it did, the Post would shout that it was because the backers hated white people, firemen and America. And that would be enough for some of my friends. Because nothing says support the unformed services like a nonsensical random connection between policy, libtards and black lives matter.

Anonymous said...

I found a Starbucks gift card on the west side a few months ago. I called and it had 25 bucks on it. Now I'm by no means wealthy. I still gave it to a musician at 14 th st subway station.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the primaries:
Applications for those not yet registered must be received by BOE by August 28th. However, if you're already registered and just want to change your party affiliation,it's too late. You would've had to have done that by last October (yep,2016 - NYS deadlines are among the most restrictive in the country, and the IDC-abetted Republicans in the state legislature blocked a bill which would have changed that). https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html

Anonymous said...

Agree with anonymous 10:46... The best way to handle this is to SUPPORT the small businesses. The businesses you spend your money at are the ones that will thrive. Seems simple to me!

Also I heard that the landlords get a tax break for the loss of rent when a place is empty but that that themselves get to set the amount of lost revenue. That to me seems to be an obvious to me problem. If there were an average scale (based on perhaps the rents currently being paid rather than the amount the landlord hopes for) used that would better motivate landlords to rent rather than sit on a healthy tax deduction I think more spaces would be rented out.
Anyone know more specifics on this landlord controlled tax deduction?

Anonymous said...

Minneapolis has a nice airport. It has chain restaurants and stores, gastropubs, froyo and cupcake joints, brobars, and Starbucks. Reminds of a suburban strip mall and EV. But Minneapolis airport has independent bookstores.

Anonymous said...

No thanks would rather go to Rays a place that has been there 4 years use to get my Spider-Man there way back when

Anonymous said...

As a person who was born and raised in the city, I never understood those of you who complain and wail about the neighborhood changing.

Probably because I know that the city has been and always will be changing. No one I know complains about the change unless they are filled with hate.

We as neighbors should focus on helping others and not on our individual biases.

Anonymous said...

Well said @ 2:04.

I could not agree with you more. Stop the hate, complaining and adapt to change.

Also, if being part of the community means so much to you, give back each day to all of the other businesses. They need as much support as possible, but Starbucks is and will be a done deal very soon. Let's try to move on and welcome them into our hood.

Lawrence Towers said...

What an idiot this guy is! "It’s landlords who raise rents to a level the market will bear, a phenomenon that stretches north, west and south of Tompkins Square Park."

And the market price is driven by national chains!!! Duh!

Anonymous said...

"Stop the hate, complaining and adapt to change."

That's not so easy when every single place you love is destroyed, not because they can't do a good business, but because there is a greedy property owner who kicks them out just to get more money. Of course we patronize the places we love - all the time! But it makes no difference. The most popular, well-loved, successful business can and will be kicked out at a moment's notice (Example: Bill's Gay Nineties).

I've done my part shunning the chains and supporting the small businesses I love. It's made no difference whatsoever. So, I'm just supposed to roll over and accept the way things are? That's zombie mentality.

And, it's not about hate, it's about LOVE - losing what we LOVE MOST.

Anonymous said...

Cuozzo you should be ashamed of yourself! But then again you wouldn't know what shame was since you wrote for the biggest rag in town! The EV wasn't only a 'crack' neighborhood. It had a whole other creative life, (had, as in past tense) as opposed to the current EV with more banks, gyms, and overpriced Starbucks than we know what to do with. So let's add another one and hooray for boredom and status quo.