Wednesday, July 5, 2023

On July 12, we'll know more about the future of East Village newsstand Ink

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Updated July 11. The shop has closed.


Here's the latest from Ink, the 33-year-old newsstand that's fighting for its survival on Avenue A between Fourth Street and Fifth Street. (Find more background here.)

After going back to court, the judge denied owner Ben "Benny" Dahud's Order to Show Cause, citing the stipulation he previously signed without legal counsel. The judge scheduled a Marshal's eviction for July 12. 

Benny said that he had already placed all the owed money — rent and real-estate taxes — in an escrow account. Now, the landlord can either accept the money and Benny can stay at least until the end of his lease (in about a year and half to two years), or they can choose not to accept the payment, in which case the Marshal will padlock the space on July 12. 

Benny says if the landlord chooses not to accept the payment, he will close the store and retire. He is at peace with the decision, saying that his "kids are grown up and have completed their education, and this is the perfect time to retire."
To the community, Benny says, "Thank you very much for supporting me all these years! If it wasn't for your help, I wouldn't have made it." 

If the eviction goes through, Benny will be having a liquidation sale — everything will be available at a discount.

To recap our last post:
A private equity firm bought this block-long residential building and strip of retail last September for a reported $64 million. On the way out last fall, the building's previous landlord, who had run the place since the 1980s, informed Benny that he owed three years of real estate taxes, about $20,000. 

The new landlord, reportedly Derby Copeland Capital, through the entity Derby Alphabet Blues 5872, LLC, later took Benny to court. 

"And they didn't cash three of my rent checks," Benny said. "They disputed the checks — one was undated, one was incorrect, and whatever. They won in court. They won the judgment in a lump sum — three months' rent plus the real estate taxes. So more than $50,000 I owed right away. I didn't have a lawyer, so I signed the stipulation, a legal agreement. I paid 80% but hadn't paid the last 20%, and they took me back to court." 

There has been an outpouring of support for the shop since our original story on June 26, Benny said.  If only the landlord knew how much Ink meant to residents.


Anonymous said...

Retire, man! Have fun and enjoy life. I wish I could. I envy you.

Anonymous said...

Your business is an important part of the East Village. There are no newsstands anywhere else nearby to buy a physical newspaper or magazine. I come here almost daily to buy a newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that landlord seems to be a vengeful cruel human. Let him finish out his lease, we all would hate to see Benny go.

jack said...

> If only the landlord knew how much Ink meant to residents.

Unfortunately it's very seldom that the landlord cares and never when the landlord is private equity.

Exterminator said...

Just like mom & pop shops are becoming
extinct, same goes for mom & pop
landlords. The only people who are
buying up property are rich, greedy,
ruthless corporations that
don’t give a damn about existing tenants
and existing retail shops. Sad but true.
Our future looks bleak.

John Penley said...

One of the nicest shopkeepers that I had the pleasure of knowing and patronizing for years before I got gentrified out on the neighborhood. What the "East Village" could use is a good old skool Tompkins Square anti-landlord uprising to take back Charas and send a message that investments that remove long term renters may not be such a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Ink opened and how happy many of us were to have a magazine shop in the neighborhood. And I used it faithfully for decades. But I will say that the store has been in a state of disarray for years and is IMO just a shadow its former self. Very difficult to find anything and many magazines where the most recent issue is six months out of date. Yes, I’m sad that an independent neighbor business is being driven out by a greedy landlord, but Ink has seemed to be in its last legs for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Somehow The NY Times keeps ignoring all this real estate criminality and destruction - then runs relentless disingenuous articles and op-eds about the need for affordable housing and support for neighborhoods

Anonymous said...

Private equity firms are helping to destroy everything good about the street life of our city. This is just like what happened to The Stage lunch counter, another unique and valued neighborhood mom & pop business.

Anonymous said...

Stage was put out of business by Icon Realty, another slumlord infiltrator, owned by Terrance Lowenberg.

Anonymous said...

What will happen to the cats who live there?

Anonymous said...

Why does a renter pay real estate taxes?

DuchessofNYC said...

Yes, I don't understand why as a renter Benny would be held to the real estate taxes....