Another two illegal smoke shops come to the neighborhood

This is just insane. Two more illegal smoke shops have opened — one on West Broadway just south of Chambers and the other on Church and White — both claiming to be convenience stores and both using the same hideous and mind boggling decor element of Astroturf on the walls. (Thanks to A. for the shot from Church.) I will do a real count, but I think this makes 11.

Neither is doing much to hide their presence or disguise their merch: “Jungle on Mars” has a giant neon blunt in the window, and “Top Shelf Convenience” has marijuana leaves imprinted around the door frame.

From what Crain’s says, these places are minting money: $1k to $15k a DAY. (They count 1500 illegal shops citywide — and six legal ones.) So that’s clearly why a landlord — in the case of the West Broadway space, the landlord’s offices (6R) are around the corner on Warren and they own most of the block front — would want an tenant who is selling contraband. But the City Council just passed a bill that fines landlords for renting to illegal cannabis shops. Of course the landlords know the deal, but the city still needs a plan to enforce it.

In the case of West Broadway, it kind of stinks that we have lost Miriam and Revolution Eyes and now have a smoke shop and an empty storefront. The only vaguely amusing angle: the Mars jungle has the floor tiles of a Brooklyn café.






  1. Is there a standard way to ask a “Nosy Neighbor” question, because I have one, if I may:

    What’s with the “supershed” surrounding the building at 56 Leonard, home to the Kapoor? It’s clearly not an ordinary construction shed, as it’s built on very large steel pillars, making it seem semi-permanent.

    It’s ugly and imposing, and after waiting so many years for that sculpture (like it or not), it’s disappointing that it was immediately obscured.

    If anyone has any idea, thanks for sharing.

    • It’s just a larger sidewalk shed and it is not permanent. Most likely the residents at 56 Leonard were willing to spend extra money for a larger/taller shed to make the property a little nicer during work.

      You can see on DOB’s website that 56 Leonard pulled a permit for a sidewalk shed back in May. The permit says temporary sidewalk shed.

  2. Regarding the illegal cannabis shops, I came up with a theory that friends tell me is overthinking or crediting the powers that be with too much strategic intelligence.

    The theory is that by allowing the illegal stores to operate without consequence for a while the state is weaning the general public from street dealers and private connections. The shops provide a cheaper product than the certified outlets because they haven’t had to conform to state regulations. So the idea (in my theory) is that people would get used to purchasing cannabis at a corner store, abandon their former “dealers” (with whom the smoke shops are competitively priced) and only then would the state swoop in and demand certification, consequently raising prices. If only the certified shops are available, cannabis buyers would stick with their former, more cost-effective means of acquiring it, and the certified shops would die on the vine.

    That’s my theory, but I lack even the remotest means of substantiating it.

    • Do you really believe there is any chance that that scenario is more likely than the one where our state/city officials cannot get their act together at all on either legal dispensaries OR enforcement of illegal dispensaries?

      • Honestly? No… Point taken. But this theory originated when I was reading some background stuff on the situation and thought to myself that even for NYC this plan was preposterously badly conceived. Not believing the city could outdo previous fiascos so thoroughly I sought a rationalization.

    • I have also read that these shops are just fronts for money laundering, drug dealing, and other illegal behavior.

  3. There is also another weed shop opening in the old Suspender’s Bar location on Greenwich. Called Indica Village or something like that. Neon weed leaf sign behind the paper covering the windows. Not sure when it is opening.

  4. Artesano appears to be creating a take away coffee door/window at their Chambers St location (great idea) as well as erecting a new dining shed placed in Chambers St this morning (not a great idea), in addition to their sidewalk tables. Do we need new dining sheds, and this is right at the bus stop on a street the already gets backed up with commuters? Hopefully that wasn’t a shed in the making – maybe just a project for the local theater. Who approves these things, the city and the landlord at 90 Chambers?

    • City DOT (not the MTA) is in charge of bus stops and also administers restaurant street shacks.

      Over the past few years, DOT has been bizarrely moving bus stops to places that are less convenient for bus riders.

      DOT has also been expanding bus stops including extending bus stops beyond adjacent building entrances – a bunch of these on the Upper East Side.
      This makes zero sense and is also confusing to bus riders as the bus stop sign is now very far from the bus shelter

  5. I really fail to see how they make $1k to $15k per day. There are now so many of these shops within a few blocks of each other, they cannot possibly all be making this profit. And I’ve barely ever seen anybody inside when I walk past them. It is hard to see how these are not operating money laundering purposes. Or am I missing something and there really is that much demand for weed, edibles, etc in this one neighborhood? And I also don’t understand why many are so opening up in this one neighborhood. There are more in Tribeca than in midtown at this point. Is that just because we have vacant shops, or something else, like amenable landlords?

  6. this city is a bunch of clowns and have said it many times. All politicians and the state no matter red or blue or whatever color should be embarrassed. Why would they follow the same statutes of colorado or mass or any other state. Makes no sense. All these states besides ny are on point. They scan idea and make you wait and then a couple people in at a time where they scan id again and i asked many of them ion many states how many illegal shops they are….They laughed. are you kidding-there are none that we know of as our city and politicians are on top of their shit.
    NYC should be embarrassed and there is nothing more i would want to do is join the teams that take these places down one by one and just laugh in their face. Fine them, take their drivers license away and pu them in jail until they can pay a fine like 30k dollars. that may teach them a lesson or maybe not. Again tell me when i can get hired even though i love weed but i do have an issue with these bottom feeder thugs working in them…

  7. I was told that in order to do something about this we must come together as a community and complain. Complain during one of the community board meetings (quality of life one or the monthly safety meeting conducted by the 1st prescient). Closed mouths don’t get feed so the more you complain the better we have leverage. Complaining on social platforms just won’t do. I remember not being taken seriously when they started to pop up… now see. They are popping all over. Wait until this area because crime riden when these places start attracting thieves and those that rather smoke in the block of our neighborhoods than their homes.

  8. Tribeca resident here, also alarmed at the proliferation of these lazy shops, which take business away from the hard-working people who went through the difficult, legal process of applying for a cannabis sales permit.

    You can report them here: I’ve reported Jungle on Mars twice already. I’m also trying to contact the landlord or sales agent to complain. Newmarket Retail has a listing for the space and the contact there is Andrew Stern at 212.351.9353. The phone for B. Jaffe Real Estate appears to have been shut off but apparently their office is on Warren Street. A knock on the door and friendly but stern statement against this shop might be helpful.