Letter to the Editor
This morning I read the article by reporter Joanna Fantozzi titled, "Second Avenue Ghost Town" and would like to share a few comments.
First, on a personal note; having twice deployed to Afghanistan, and considering other events going on in the world, I feel calling the Upper East Side's 2nd Avenue "a warzone" a tad extreme.
The article continues, describing a maze for shoppers. I did not see any testimony from actual shoppers who have been lost and discouraged by this maze (perhaps they are still finding their way out!?). Having walked both sides of 2nd Avenue from 68th to 97th several times, I found the new sidewalk paths clearly marked, though not the most aesthetically pleasing.
Regarding empty businesses from 76th - 90th: "Some of the stores and restaurants had been gone for years, like Tini's Restaurant at 81st and 2nd, which shut its doors six years ago. But one bar, at 2nd Avenue and 83rd Street, had only shut down last week." Again, this information is fuzzy. Perhaps it is the case that most have closed since the construction began, but it is strongly inferred although no hard facts are provided.
It was good that business owners who have issues with the MTA were included, however, there are also businesses who have had issues with the MTA that worked out well. Both sides of the issue should have been explored. Maz Mezcal on 86th and 2nd were flooded due to an incident during the MTA construction. The owners will be the first to tell you how responsive the MTA was, and how they took accountability and made things right.
It would have been a more balanced article if you also included all of the many new businesses that have opened/are opening.
I absolutely believe that 2nd Avenue businesses need support during the construction, and without a doubt many in the construction areas have been affected. Storefronts and sidewalks are compromised, parking is difficult, dust and noise are often present, and it's not the most lovely sight in the world to say the least. I thought it was wonderful that "Under construction" businesses were included on the map, and that business owners got to have their say, as well as the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
Fifty businesses have signed up for 2nd Avenue Restaurant and Retail Week. They have chosen to act as a community and make an effort to bring customers back to see the construction is worth dealing with for such wonderful businesses.
2nd Avenue Business Coordinator
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
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