Friday, December 22, 2023

Spiritualized: End of days for High Vibe on 3rd Street; 'I would like to stay open!'

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

The end is near for High Vibe after 30 years at 138 E. Third St. Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Robert "Bobby" Dagger, owner of the health/natural foods and goods store, plans to close on Dec. 31 after a rent hike courtesy of the landlord, the NYCHA, and an underwhelming response to a crowdfunding campaign

Everything is marked to go inside the small, comfortable shop...
Dagger said that he owns $40,000 in rent to NYCHA. The lease was up in October, and the business has been running month-to-month. 

He tried local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera's office, though that didn't lead to anything. "They were nice but didn’t provide any help," he said. 

So now what? 

"If I got $40,000, I can stay open. I would like to stay open! NYCHA raised my rent during COVID and only gave me three months of concession," Dagger said. "NYCHA doesn't care about small businesses. For 30 years, I paid taxes here. We're a link in the chain here, keeping America alive. I'm all for immigrants, but what about us? We're paying taxes for these people."
The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for now... and they may shut down before Dec. 31. 

Previously on EV Grieve: 


stephen b said...

so sorry to this happen it's another tragic step to the edge

Anonymous said...

"He tried local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera's office, though that didn't lead to anything. "They were nice but didn’t provide any help," he said. "

Typical. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Typical yeah but what do you expect city council to do about a private business not affording rent? Love that store and the good people and I wish this was not happening.

Anonymous said...

"I’m all for immigrants, but what about us? We're paying taxes for these people."

Immigrant here, paid taxes since the day I made my first cent. Not sure what he means.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

10.10 AM:

The difference here is that the landlord is NYCHA.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for immigrants, but what about us? We're paying taxes for these people."

What a sour note on which to end your career.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the immigrant comment. He's been misinformed.

Anyway, I would LOVE to see rent control for commercial spaces. Landlords would wet their pants, but we need it.

Chris Flash said...

Dagger is simply asking for the SAME consideration for small locally-owned businesses as others who are newly-arrived get. Nothing wrong with that.

During covid, when the city SHUT DOWN businesses like High Vibe, WHERE were they supposed to get income for rent payment? That rent should have been FORGIVEN, esp as the CITY is his landlord!

Now there will be even MORE EMPTY STOREFRONTS along Third Street and along Avenue A due to the city's GREED.

They seem to prefer having ZERO income rather than charging a sustainable rent to local business owners.

As NYCHA is SUBSIDIZED by TAXPAYERS, WHERETHEFUCK do they get off jacking up rents anyway????

yetanothercommenter said...

Agree with @Flash upthread. NYCHA is subsidized. Unless they already have a tenant lined up - I doubt it but incoming CVS or weed shop? - this is just foolish, sleepwalking bureaucrats and callousness.

I do agree that the generic reference to the refugee crisis is off-putting. Commercial rent abatement and the refugee influx are entirely different issues. Except they both involve money as always and we certainly aren't going to tax big real estate that's not how NYC rolls. DeBlasio left the city in bad fiscal shape. Covid didn't help but neither did his mismanagement, corruption and his wife's billion plus dollar hobby project / graft machine. Adams? Seems a bit dim. Closing libraries is sad (Houston and Columbia, very sad to see it shuttered).

I'm also generically disappointed with Rivera, and everyone, but commenters here and elsewhere should understand that the City Council's powers are more limited than their profile might suggest. Help with permits? Yes. NYCHA's money? Less likely.

bootsie said...

Sad. I've passed this store 1000's of times in my life, but have never had a clear idea on exactly what they're selling. Never see any customers there either. Wish I had been more curious.

Anonymous said...

There are many people who need help for different reasons. Why pit one unfortunate group of people against another? It’s unkind.

Anonymous said...

This store was very over priced, I wonder if it was much more affordable and financially welcoming before the steep rent hikes? I don't like to see small businesses close, but the reason this one did was because people can't afford to buy anything there so they either stopped going or couldn't go. Small businesses can take a chance on having a wider price range for their products. Maybe they need help finding different distributors. They would sell more things and move things off the shelf. This store seemed to be stagnant with their merchandise for a while. What do you think?

mjw said...

Hamilton Fish library is closing for major renovations, not because of budget cuts.

Seedyfilmz said...

Yeah, that comment immediately took away 90% of my empathy for the situation. Don’t scapegoat people who are already vulnerable to so much unfair blame. Wtf!