Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Prosperous Area Seeks Shops to Match" - NYT - 4/24/09

This New York Times story on the Laurelton area of Queens is a great article in which the same point can be made for the Kew Gardens/Forest Hills areas as well. It talks about the prosperous neighborhood of Laurelton who's residents want more restaurants and shops other than nail salons, barber shops and 99 cent stores. Granted we in Kew Gardens and Forest Hills certainly have much more in the way of "quality" restaurants and shops but the plethora of 99 cent stores, nail salons, Chinese fast food, etc is still excessive here. Ultimately most of these businesses end up being those locations that are constantly changing hands; from 99 cent store to a barber shop to a nail salon etc. At one point in the article an interviewee suggests he would like their main commercial strip to be more like Austin street. I am wondering, however, if it makes much of a difference having just as many of the above mentioned businesses with the addition of some "quality" businesses, as is the case in Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. Many of these above mentioned businesses do not seem to keep up appearances, do not clean their store-fronts, use excessive signage, and, as learned from experience, do not seem to be interested in community issues or improvement. Although, the businesses that do seem to do well do keep up their business's appearance and cleanliness, do get involved with the community, etc, are ultimately the ones which stay in business and prosper. It seems that this is because customers recognize those business's efforts to be a positive part of the neighborhood and in turn patronize that business. Maybe this is just a very slow process, the weeding out of certain types of businesses which the neighborhood will not just support or already has too much to choose from in the first place to support. I can say that I would much rather have an assortment of businesses that I would patronize daily rather than the 6 Chinese fast food restaurants serving Kew Gardens, of which I use just one periodically. As well as the dozen or so nail and hair salons, of which I use none. 

Read the entire NYT article here. 

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