i am out on the street starting at 5am. i live on 118th st. and go to the grocery store at night. i can't speak to what it's like out there between midnight and 5am, but i can speak knowledgeably about what happens between 5am and midnight, and scenes like this are common. ambulances to treat those in the midst of an overdose are common. paramedics called to assist those in the grips of a mental health episode are common. police calls for quality of life crimes are common. for example, someone tried to steal our janky chalkboard sign in the middle of the day on monday. why?
what's going on? why are things so bad right now? why would anyone want to do business in this environment? and why are we talking about these things in the context of the timbale terrace project?
well, we know what's going on: Harlem East Block Association's message below explains clearly what's going on and why things are so bad. i don't need to rehash all of that.
what i can do is speak to is the economic impact of this environment as well as the impact that timbale terrace, as proposed, will have on the neighborhood.
let me be very clear: attracting talent in this neighborhood is INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT. i've had many potential employees reject job offers because they've come to the neighborhood and refused to work here. i have staff who refuse to take afternoon shifts because they don't feel safe here. i have staff who refuse to go into the subway at 116th st because they don't feel safe down there. attracting and retaining talent is hard anyway, but add in the scenes that replay daily in front of the store and it's a recipe for disaster. i'm trying to open another restaurant in the neighborhood. why? because the the neighborhood is woefully underserved, my roots here go back over 100 years, i love this neighborhood, and i want to make great things here and see it flourish. but i'm petrified of opening another business here because of how bad it's gotten.
as i mentioned in the meeting, i try as hard as i can to hire staff that live within walking distance of the shop. this is really important for a couple of reasons, but chiefly among them i think this is how you help strengthen neighborhoods. the more money that stays in the neighborhood, the stronger and more vibrant the neighborhood will be. it's one thing to employ people who get paid and take that money back to brooklyn, queens, or the bronx, but it's a very different thing to employ people who turn around and spend that money in the same neighborhood.