Local Businesses

Every avenue on the Upper West Side is littered with empty storefronts. We’ve lost bodegas, butchers and grocery stores. Our favorite shops and restaurants are disappearing as soaring real estate prices and excessive red tape cripple our local businesses. Our campaign mapped them, finding more than 130 empty storefronts on the Upper West Side.


Mel knows first-hand the challenges of operating a small business on the Upper West Side. We need a representative who can protect our local businesses.


What Mel Will Do About It

  1. Help new businesses start: cut excessive red tape and unnecessary fees
  2. Fill the empty storefronts: fine landlords for endless vacancies
  3. Protect the businesses we love: level the playing field for businesses to renew leases


The fundamental problem facing local small businesses is the power of the real estate industry. When it's time for a business to renew a business's lease, the business has no power and no leverage. If their landlord doubles their rent, it's over. Small Band-Aid solutions aren't going to fix this problem. We need to fundamentally change the relationship between local businesses and big real estate. Anything less leaves us in the same position we're in today. This will only happen if we elect a representative who is willing to speak up and fight back on this issue. The boldest solutions haven't even gotten a vote in the current city council, because without a strong local representative, the special interests will win every time.


What Mel Has Already Done

  1. Worked with Gale Brewer to establish the Upper West Side's first storefront zoning law, protecting 500 businesses along Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

  2. Created the Small Business Task Force on Community Board 7.

  3. Brought together new teams to help local businesses with permit and license applications, connect with each other, and advocate for their common needs.

  4. Operated his own small business and saw first-hand the challenges faced by small business owners on the Upper West Side.


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