This photo was posted on FB by Robin Morris of Edgewater, NJ

Photo posted on FB by Robin Morris of Edgewater, NJ

In case you missed it, in early April 2015, the New York Times ran a sorta snarky piece (“A Cranky Blogger Crusades to Preserve the Ordinary in New York”) about the blogger who has run the wonderful Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York blog for a decade now. On that blog, Jeremiah has chronicled all the fun, weird, and special things about NYC that are disappearing at a rapid clip.

Jeremiah (not his real name) has now decided to go beyond mere chronicling into activism, and has put out a call for folks to take action to help support NYC’s small businesses and neighborhoods, before they vanish forever. I’ve listed some of his ideas below, which range from couch-potatoism (joining the Facebook group) to actual bestirring into action (signing a petition about small-business preservation, tweeting, emailing, or making bumper stickers/writing chalk messages to spread the word).

Readers of the MyFirstApartmentNYC.com site are people who once lived in New York—and some still do!—and so have a special appreciation for what makes this place unique (perhaps tinged with the nostalgic distance of time). So I just thought I’d share this “crusade” with you in the hopes that the #SaveNYC movement might gain some ground, whether it be a quixotic venture or not.

In the words of Jeremiah: “I’m pretty cranky, but I also love the city. I want it to be the best it can be, and I just don’t think that its best is a bunch of Olive Gardens, Starbucks and billion-dollar towers full of no one.”


 

What to do (picked up from the SaveNYC.NYC site):

FROM THE COUCH

1. Make a video statement for #SaveNYC. No fancy equipment needed! Takes 5 minutes! Use your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera, upload to Youtube, and send in the link. Follow this link for full instructions on what we’re asking for. You can also add a photo with the #SaveNYC message, either homemade or our official logo.

Tell your out-of-town friends and family to make videos for #SaveNYC. Make sure they tell City Hall that NYC is getting too boring to visit. They could stay home and go to Olive Garden and Applebee’s. City Hall doesn’t want to upset the tourists.

2. Sign the petition to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. After you sign it, share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, everywhere. Click here for the petition.

3. Send a daily tweet to the mayor, borough presidents, public advocate, and City Council members. Use the hashtag #SaveNYC.

Find all their Twitter handles right here.

Here are some sample tweets you can copy and paste. Just precede each one with the Twitter handles of your choice:

Pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act! #SaveNYC
What are you doing to #SaveNYC? Bring the Small Biz Survival Act to a vote. We want it now.
Control the spread of chain stores in the city! #SaveNYC
What are you doing to protect small businesses in the city? #SaveNYC
Stop the bleeding! Save our small businesses! #SaveNYC

4. Send e-mails to members of the New York City Council and to Speaker Mark-Viverito, asking them to sponsor the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and bring it to a vote this spring. Send your note to as many as you can. Simply edit, cut, and paste from the following samples.

Find their contact information here.

Dear Councilmember NAME:
I am writing you to ask you to sign on and co-sponsor Int. 0402-2014 (The Small Business Jobs Survival Act). Day after day, New York is losing its small businesses. They are being priced out, chased out, and gentrified out of places where they’ve been for decades. The unique cultural fabric of the city is being destroyed, replaced with bland national chains. I care deeply about the character and culture of our city. Small businesses are invaluable and irreplaceable. They help our neighborhoods stay alive and vital. Our small businesses need protections. Bring the SBJSA to a vote now. New Yorkers like me demand it. Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to seeing this bill on the docket of the Small Business Committee soon.
Your Constituent,

5. Send e-mails to members of the New York City Council and to Speaker Mark-Viverito, asking them to take action to stop the spread of national chains in the city. Send your note to as many as you can. Simply edit, cut, and paste from the following samples.

Find their contact information here.

Dear Councilmember NAME:
I am writing you to ask you to help to stop the spread of national chains in the city. Day after day, New York City is losing its small businesses. They are being priced out, chased out, and gentrified out of places where they’ve been for decades. The unique cultural fabric of the city is being destroyed, replaced with bland national chains that are turning the city into Anywhere, USA. According to a recent report, almost 40% of stores in New York City are now national chains. That number is only getting higher. I care deeply about the character and culture of our city. Small businesses are invaluable and irreplaceable. They help our neighborhoods stay alive and vital. They need strong protections. Follow San Francisco’s example, where “formula retail” is controlled and limited for the purpose of maintaining neighborhood individuality. Protect the cultural heritage of our city—before it’s too late. Thank you for your time and attention.
Your Constituent,

 

FEELING MORE AMBITIOUS? READY TO GET OFF THAT COUCH?

1. Check the #SaveNYC Events page to find out what’s happening next. Click here.

2. Join the #SaveNYC Facebook page and be an active participant. Share ideas and strategies. Meet up with group members. Launch activities. Click here.

3. Attend a Community Board meeting in whatever neighborhood you care about and speak your mind. Bring a group of friends with you. Be a gang! Make some noise! Find CB meetings here.

4. Take #SaveNYC to the streets. Make up some #SaveNYC stickers and stick them. Or use chalk — write #SaveNYC all over town. Find a way to spread the word.