Thursday, August 25, 2005

Compensate the Newsstands: Dealers Get Court Support

In a ruling late Wednesday Supreme Court Judge Stallman ruled that the city cannot take the newsstands away from three hundred dealers without just compensation. There is a distinct possibility that this ruling could throw a monkey wrench into the city's awarding of its long-delayed street furniture contract. In addition, the New York City Newsstand Dealers Association, led by the inimitable Rob Bookman, estimates that such just compensation could cost the city up to $5 million dollars.

As we have outlined in our press release, the court's decision also gives the City Council the sole legal authority to decide how many newsstands will be forced out of business or relocated. As Bookman says:
We hope and expect that the Council will keep its word to protect these mom and pop owners and pass corrective legislation to keep them in business at their current historic locations
The court decision, covered nicely by NY 1, underscores the point we have constantly emphasized on this blog: the city is callous and cavalier when it comes to the interests of small businesses. That the court had to intervene to prevent an illegal taking only demonstrates that the mayor's rhetorical support for the little guy is empty election year palaver. The city, whether at the BTM or Willets Point, is all too willing to simply discard the property of small entrepreneurs in the pursuit of a greater good that always seems to involve the aggrandizement of a mega-rich real estate developer.