In the News: What to Do About All Those Empty Storefronts?

••• A New York Times editorial laments all the empty storefronts in the city and cites two possible ways to address them. “One idea floated among lawmakers is to restructure the commercial rent tax, a 54-year-old levy that principally affects business tenants in Manhattan below 96th Street. If their annual rent bill exceeds $250,000, they must pay the city 3.9 percent of it. This is on top of any real estate taxes they may also owe.” Why hasn’t this happened already, Bill de Blasio? “Another idea that merits consideration—and is likely to need Albany’s approval—is some sort of a ‘vacancy tax’ on those landlords who leave storefronts unoccupied for years, hoping against hope that Sephora or Marc Jacobs or whatever will move in someday.” When in doubt, tax someone? Exactly whom do proponents think is going to move into all of these empty spaces?

••• The Broadsheet has more details and new renderings for the Battery Maritime Building project, now that it has new developers onboard.

••• “Saint Joseph Chapel, the Catholic church located in Gateway Plaza since 1983, is slated to close in January, according to an announcement from the parish leadership that was circulated among congregants on Thursday morning.” —Broadsheet

••• “A new interactive public art installation is making its way to Manhattan’s Seaport District […] Sea of Light [debuts] December 5. Spheres of various sizes, ranging up to nine feet in height, will be illuminated with warm-colored light from over 150,000 LED bulbs, and will react to various movement and sound patterns. Each individual interaction will provoke a unique lighting pattern that makes for a rare winter art experience.” —Curbed

••• The New York Times discovered that WeWork is getting into the education business.

••• “A 47-year-old Manhattan woman removed her $9,000 Rolex watch while she was taking a shower and then forgot it in the stall. When she returned after about five minutes, she discovered that it had been stolen.” Is “stolen” the right word? How about “placed in the custody of someone who values a $9,000 watch enough to be careful with it”? —Tribeca Trib

••• “The owner of perpetually busy East Village restaurant MáLà Project has opened a new Chinese restaurant downtown, this time focusing on home-style Chinese cuisine. Tomorrow [that’s the name], located at 200 Water Street between John and Fulton Streets, started serving $10 meal deals and more in FiDi earlier this week.” Below: Tomato and egg. —Eater



  1. From the same blotter (fool me once…):

    54 Murray (Equinox), 9/17, 5:30 pm (reported 9/24)

    A 40-year-old Thomas Street resident placed her $5,000 Cartier Ballon Bleu watch on a ledge before entering the locker room shower. When she got out, she discovered that it was gone.

    • The blotter is filled with “stupidity thefts” such as gym lockers left open, wallets and handbags left unattended. I wonder what percent they are of all those reported. I’m not counting “handbag on the seat next to you” thefts.

  2. Rather certain Tomorrow is on Pearl Street between John and Fulton where Num Pang was for a very brief moment. Any 3 items for $10…looking fwd to sampling one day soon.

  3. How can you shoplift $4000 worth from Urban Outfitters and not get noticed? And who knew Rogaine has street value?

  4. I was on West 8th Street between Broadway and University yesterday and was stunned by the number of empty storefronts. Much worse than any other street I’ve seen.

    • Those are largely Friedland Properties, if I recall correctly.

      Here is what commenter wrote on this Times editorial:

      “This problem is not unique to NYC. In Mount Kisco, NY (Westchester County) there have been several stores empty for years. Friedland Properties is the landlord for several of these spots. Friedland is also one of the biggest landlords for Madison Avenue. Mount Kisco business owners have been complaining about being priced out for years”

  5. Why why why do people bring these pricy watches to the GYM?
    I am flabbergasted by this.
    I cannot keep track of the seemingly endless amount of these stories that appear in the Tribeca Trib.
    Over and over the same thing.
    Hello Rolex owners: “LEAVE IT AT HOME!”

  6. Why is everyone blaming the victim of a theft?
    Being careless, absent-minded, or too trusting of others does not merit being robbed.

    • Adults are expected to take reasonable precautions against reasonably foreseeable risks. People who have $5,000 or $9,000 to spend on a watch, plus the money to join a gym and the free time to use it, should really know better.

      NYPD has tried for 10-15 years to promote awareness of the issue.

      For example:

      Health Club Safety Tips. (

      What Can I Do?

      Security cameras are not allowed inside a health club locker room – and perpetrators know that. Membership safety may rest with the club owners, but you are still urged to follow certain safety precautions to thwart thieves:

      Remain alert while wearing headphones or watching television during a workout. Opportunists often target people who are preoccupied.

      At times a perpetrator may not be alone; diversion, including loud music, is a common ploy used to remove one’s belongings.

      Combo Lock
      Use a combination lock on your locker – keys can disappear.

      Shallow pockets
      Wallets, cell phones, money, and keys can become visible – don’t temp a thief.

      Consign valuables
      Upon arrival, ask the front desk to safeguard valuables in the health club safe. Do not leave these items in your car. Please be smart and stay safe!

  7. Many people seem to assume all of these reported thefts are true. Some could very well be fake. To file an insurance claim for property theft you need a police report. You will notice many of these “stolen” items are high end worth thousands of dollars. Stupidity thefts or clever insurance scams?