Second Women’s March packs streets on Saturday

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Thousands of women came out to support the #MeToo movement this weekend in the second annual Women’s March, taking place a year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Protests took place across the country, with 200,000 people coming out in New York, according to the mayor’s office, and upwards of 600,000 people in Los Angeles, as well as protests in Washington, D.C. and Palm Beach, Florida, not far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

This year’s March in New York spread from at least West 72nd Street on Central Park West, the official starting point, down to Columbus Circle, but police at the event near Lincoln Center on Saturday afternoon said that there were also entry points at West 86th Street. Downtown A, C and D trains were bypassing the 72nd Street stop around 1 p.m. due to crowd conditions. Signs at the March this year focused on sexual harassment and abortion rights, as well as immigration issues and the recent government shutdown.

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Brewer throws lifeline to mom-and-pop shops

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer discusses her legislation at the Upper West Side location of Halal Guys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer discusses her legislation at the Upper West Side location of Halal Guys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Legislation would make it mandatory for landlords to negotiate with retail tenants

By Sabina Mollot

New legislation could curb a trend of mom-and-pop businesses being replaced by banks and chain stores.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said she’s drafting legislation that would make it mandatory for a building’s owner to at least allow a retail tenant a chance to negotiate to keep his or her space.

“The future of street level retail stores and restaurants — I call them storefronters — has begun to look murky,” Brewer said on Monday. “Every day, the press has another story about a kids’ clothing store or a shoe repair shop closing to make room for a chain or a bank.”

The bill, which is being sponsored by the City Council’s Small Business Committee Chair Robert Cornegy at Brewer’s request, along with giving tenants a chance to negotiate, would also give the tenant the option of a one-year lease extension with a maximum rent increase of 15 percent. Additionally, a building owner, if planning on evicting the tenant, would have to give the tenant notice of that intention 180 days before the end of a lease. “So businesses will have enough time to find new space and make a transition, hopefully in the same neighborhood,” said Brewer.

Brewer also said she wanted to help business owners threatened by rent increases the option of purchasing the storefront through “condo-ization.”

“Many of the long-standing small businesses that are here today are only here because they had an opportunity to buy the building,” she said. “There was a time where you could buy a building, but that opportunity today is dim.”

While this is technically already possible under current law, Brewer said there are ways the city could be helping the process along. It may be possible, she added, to create a condo if the business portion of the building is split from the residential portion. Additionally, if 51 percent of the property or more is occupied by the business, it could qualify for a federal Small Business Association loan of up to $5 million.

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