East Village Newsstands Are Not Safe

East Village Newsstand at Astor Place

East Village Newsstand at Astor Place

If you have never seen Rachel Barrett’s newsstand photography project, it’s a worth a look. Her work captures the dying breed of NYC newsstands that are slowly being replaced by the cold, mucho modern lunch boxes from CEMUSA – the company chosen to turn NYC’s street furniture into an advertising gold rush.

Last weekend, New York Times’ reporter Glenn Collins wrote an article about CEMUSA’s newsstands and the hardship endured by newsstand operators who are forced to give up their old stand in favor of the CEMUSA version which, it is hoped, will generate the City $1 billion over 10 years.

Worse yet for newsstand operators: once they receive the newsstand, they’re leaky and not secure.

Jerry, newspaperman for the East Village of NYC, on the corner of Astor Place and Lafayette, can attest to these failings. The door locking problem has already cost him during a burglary a couple of months ago.

For people in the newsstand business where constant fluffing of the front of the newsstand is a necessity – hence leaving themselves vulnerable as they exit the booth – a secure lock that works instantly from CEMUSA would be appreciated.

In the article, Laura Fries, a spokeswoman for Cemusa, lays blame on bureaucracy for the slow installation of the new “lunch boxes”. She says, “With any kind of construction there are permits and multiple parties involved.”

Great, Laura. And, when it’s installed, how long does it take for CEMUSA to make it safe?

We’re not so sure the City gets the newsstand issues either if their conversation with the Times is any indication. “It’s a unique, iconic look, and brings a positive, coordinated feel to the street,” said Brooke McKenna, an assistant commisioner in the New York City Department of Transportation, who coordinates what is known as street-furniture financing.

We hope that Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan wake-up and lower the boom on CEMUSA before someone gets killed or injured due to construction negligence with the vaunted icons.


September 6th, 2008

Entry Filed under: East Village, New York City


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