Small businesses across Sheepshead Bay are going belly up — and they’re not being replaced — with some storefronts remaining shuttered for well over a decade, according to locals.
“If you were in a spaceship and decided to land on Avenue U between Coyle and Brown street, you would think it is a ghost town,” said Stuart Brynien, a longtime neighborhood resident.
The crisis affecting the coastal community can be seen in graffiti-covered brick-and-mortar shops appearing sporadically, and sometimes one after the other along Avenue U, where between Coyle and Bragg streets the ruins of the family-owned Hy Friedman clothing store, a long-shuttered furniture outlet, and the obsolete Captain Video — which closed amid the rise of Netflix back in 2004 — all remain vacant.
Readers shared their thoughts online:
High rents and in general retail is in serious trouble. Mom and pop retail the bread and butter of small strips is dying.Frank from Furter
I have no idea how the economics of “no rent income for years” could possibly work, but a landlord who keeps their commercial property vacant year after year after year should be fined to oblivion and the property put up for a below-market sale, with members of the community given first right of refusal (heck, make it a competition like a grant application -- best proposal gets the $1 million property for $200,000)Tyler from pps
How could someone say that “greedy landlords” are at fault when the city has greatly increased our property taxes. The taxes on my one family home went to nearly $8,000 it’s unbearable. The $15 minimum wage isn’t helping small business either. The cost of paying employees along with payroll taxes have all gone up. The truth, any smart investor looking at the opportunity cost of opening a business in New York knows that it is a lost cause.
Robert E. Hogan from Bath Beach
While you’re never going to control rent costs, you could definitely look into whatever law allows owners to carry a building with maintenance and property taxes for a decade without a tenant and not take a bath. Coz in most every other part of the world that’s not how things naturally operate.K. from ArKady
Landlords will always try to get with a can, that’s what business it’s not only about. I agree sometimes unfairly but the main issue is the property taxes and the compounded so called fees. For example businesses get charged a annual fee just to have an air conditioner on the roof and our location that’s free is $745 a year in addition to that there are other permits that are necessary to operate which could range and total of extra thousands of dollars a year. So if you want to greedy landlords also have to add greedy tax collectors !
Baron from Sheepshead Bay
I think I understand. A business can’t afford to pay its employees $15 per hour. It deserves to, and does, go out of business. No other prospective tenant can afford to pay its employees $15 per hour either, so they don’t rent the building and it stays vacant. Failure to rent to a business that can’t afford to stay in business is thus somehow antisocial behavior. That makes it the landlord’s fault? Seems to me it’s the $15/hour minimum wage mandate’s fault.Gary from Fort Greene
I am a landlord but labeling them ‘Greedy’ is just wrong. The city is killing landlords with high property taxes, fines, inspections,etc. It’s not possible to make ends meet and this is business, people invested millions dollars in it to make money. They just try to pass some burden expenses to tenants, that’s why the rents are high. But it’s not landlord greediness it’s NYC absurdness and it’s going to get worse when landlords will start abandon those properties.NYC Guy
This article is good news. Housing prices around Sheepshead Bay are going to decrease soon. At the meantime, you all may need to go shopping on 86 street or grow your own food or fish for your own Seafood. People from Manhattan like going to the movie theater in Sheepshead?
Dojo from Ryerson
One of New York’s Finest used a pair of handcuffs to pummel a man’s face during a bloody Bedford-Stuyvesant traffic stop last year, according to a lawsuit against the city and the cop alleging excessive force.
Officer Julio Ramos pulled 21-year-old Ricardo Mendoza’s BMW to the side of Flushing Avenue near Nostrand Avenue after spotting him speeding in April, 2018, according to the suit.
Before exiting his unmarked cruiser, a body camera worn by Ramos recorded him directing two other cops to approach Mendoza’s car with their weapons drawn.
“Yo, we’re jumping out and f---ing everybody right now,” said Ramos “Yo everybody go to one fucking car, bro. Guns out. F--- this.”
The three lawmen surround Mendoza’s vehicle and repeatedly ordered him to exit his car, but the driver refused to leave, asking why they pulled their guns out over a speeding violation, the footage shows.
“You’ve got your gun out, for what?” said Mendoza. “What’d I do?”
Ramos gave the man several warnings, before opening the car door, dragging Mendoza out of the driver’s seat, and then using his handcuffs to slug the plaintiff in the face as his partners held him down, according to the suit.
Readers were divided online:
“Ramos — who still patrols Brooklyn streets for the 79th Precinct...” That is just disgusting to hear.
Jim from Cobble Hill
Where are the “good apples” I keep hearing about?Tyler from pps
The handcuff bash was excessive but damn it’s like homeboy was trying to thug out the cop tho. Plus driving 90 down these streets you gonna kill somebody’s kid.Effy from Bed stuy
Simple obey an order and nothing will happen. Today you must approach with your fire arm out of the holster.
Lae and Disorder from Formaly of brooklyn now N C
All the whining bike nazis want speeding drivers dealt with, and when the NYPD beats one down they decide they hate cops more than speeding drivers. Make up your minds already.
Hillary from Prison
So, this creep is pleading Excessive Force. It’s interesting how these criminals could break the law any way they want but when they risk the danger of police officers while trying to restricts his lawbreaking behavior, for some reason they feel the police are supposed to act in a polite and dignified manner. This is why I always side with the police. Of course there are some bad apples in the 35,000 police force, but I had rather have them on the street and have criminals that blatantly put innocent people in harms way so they can act out in bad behavior. And until you’re ready to carry a gun and commit your life to protecting innocent people from garbage like this, Shut up.
Bob from Gerritsen Besch
Bob has a point, which is why the cops get in so much more trouble than braver employees who have more dangerous jobs. People with their heads on straight don’t want to and cannot get hired as cops.
Mike from Williamsburg
Recent reports that the MTA is installing more subway elevators brought to mind the lack of accessibility right here at our own station on Sheepshead Bay Road. The Kings Highway station has an elevator. So does the Flatbush Avenue/Nostrand Avenue stop on the 2/5 line (to name ust two of the stations I use regularly). So why not Sheepshead Bay?
After the station was renovated in the late 90s, all we ended up with were cosmetic improvements, mostly on the outside. Why bother to rebuild a station if you’re not going to make it accessible to everyone?
That additional elevators are being installed anywhere is, undeniably, a victory.
But the fact that the MTA missed a chance to make life easier for the residents of Sheepshead Bay, by increasing accessibility to one of the busiest stations in Brooklyn, is practically criminal. Shame on you, MTA.
Stuart R. BrynienSheepshead Bay