To the Editor:
Re: “Second Annual Business Survey Shows Signs of Life on West Side” (March 11), I am sure the Spirit was only trying to sound an optimistic note. But even a cursory glance at the two maps shows that, despite the optimistic claims of their respective leaders, the Columbus Avenue BID and the Lincoln Square BID are both doing worse now than they were a year ago: in 2009, they each had four vacant storefronts; in 2010, your map shows eight vacancies in the Columbus Avenue BID, and nine in the Lincoln Square BID. In fact, only the Columbus-Amsterdam BID remains unchanged: 24 vacancies on both maps.
Ultimately, what your surveys actually show is that little has changed. Although there have been some notable openings—the Apple Store, Raymour & Flanigan, Terrine, Five Napkin Burger—some stores that opened after your first survey were already closed by the time of your second one.
Sadly, there is no way to sugar-coat the situation: between landlords who refuse to rent storefronts for “unrealistic… irrational… illogical” reasons (according to real estate broker Rafe Evans in your 2009 article) and the stagnant economic situation, the commercial real estate condition on the Upper West Side (and elsewhere) is horrendous, and may yet get worse before it gets better.
Upper West Side
Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.
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