Resistance is Futile: UWS Shopkeepers Fight (Inevitable) Domination from Chains


New York continues its onward march toward looking just like the rest of America.

From the New York Times: “The proliferation of chain stores, banks and pharmacies in the past decade or so has robbed many neighborhoods of the quirky one-of-a-kind shops that give those places their distinct personalities.”

Yep. Sounds about right.

Anyway, the City wants to stop this from happening in the Upper West Side: The Department of City Planning would cap the ground-floor width of all new stores to 40 feet on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues — and would limit banks to 25 feet. Broadway would also be included.

The rules would apply to around 72nd to 110th streets.

“Each block has a Duane Reade,” Kenneth Yoo, proprietor of Paper House, an area party supplies store, told the Times.

“All the stuff we have, Duane Reade has, too — and cheaper.”

Yoo and other non-corporate shopkeepers say that they are being edged out, leaving area residents with a smaller variety of goods and services.

Now, the Times notes, you can’t buy rare animal skulls on the UWS anymore, nor can you find offbeat cuts of meat.

Of course, retailers have shot back, saying that chains succeed because people want them around.

This is sad, if true. But hey, we probably shouldn’t expect too much from our fellow man.