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Blue-State Paradise: Vacant NYC Storefronts ‘Creating Havoc,’ Nearly Double Since Pandemic

  |   By Lou Dobbs Staff

New York City’s storefronts aren’t as alluring as they once were. The brutal statistics coming out are bad (but wholly predictable) news.

As of 2024, 11.2 percent of the city’s storefronts are sitting vacant. This is up from 6 percent in 2019. That doesn’t seem like a huge number, but that 5.2 percentage point increase translates to an 86% percent increase from 2019 to 2024. That is a massive jump.

Manhattan Councilmember and Democrat Gale Brewer said these vacancies, “are creating havoc because there is homeless, garbage and the business next door hurts.”

What’s the cause of this trend? During a New York City Council Committee on Small Business meeting on Wednesday, Calvin Brown, deputy commissioner for neighborhood development, stated the problem was due to “archaic zoning barriers.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams has advocated for changing current zoning regulations. Adams’ initiative, the “City of Yes” aims to do just that.

According to the New York City Planning Department website, “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity would remove outdated limitations on businesses and ensure that local retail streets and commercial centers across the city can remain lively places that sustain our neighborhoods.”

But are zoning restrictions really the problem that’s led to so many vacancies?

The New York Post reports shoplifting cost retailers in the state $4.4 billion in 2022. Thefts have gone up 64 percent between June 2019 and June 2023. City retail thefts are up more than 6.5 percent as of April 2024 compared to April 2023.

New York City Councilmember for Queens and Republican Vickie Paladino put it frankly. “We’ve got kids coming in on bicycles and just ransacking a store.” She continued, saying, “We can’t sugarcoat the fact that there’s rampant crime in the city that is preventing people from opening small businesses in areas that used to be nice places to go to.”

Bronx Councilmember Oswald Feliz, chair of the Committee on Small Business and a Democrat mentioned how close to home the issue was for him. “There’s a Walgreens one minute away from where I live that’s closing down due to retail theft.” Going further he stated, “Anytime I speak to a small business that is literally the very first issue they bring to us.”

Paladino mentioned theft has gotten so bad that even mundane items are locked away. “I went in to buy a tube of toothpaste. It, of course, was locked up as everything is now. But the store manager is keeping one tube of toothpaste behind the lock. It’s insanity.”

The proposed antidote to vacancies isn’t exactly stellar. Brewer is in favor of taxing landlords, suggesting owners of large retail buildings leave their properties vacant until chain stores move in.

To summarize, vacancies, whether they be because of zoning regulations or rampant theft are on the rise.

These vacancies create problems with homelessness and garbage piling up, and according to Brewer the solution is a tax?

Without the government addressing homelessness, garbage, and crime, landlords won’t be able to lease to chain stores or anyone else for that matter.

Don’t forget New York’s current tax system is among the worst. The Tax Foundation’s 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index found that New York ranked 49th out of 50 in 2024 for how well its tax system is structured.

None of this had to happen. New York City didn’t have to shut down peoples businesses, storefronts, and lives because of COVID. New York City didn’t have to go soft on crime and bail. New York City didn’t even have to tax its richest citizens into fleeing the city which in turn helped reduce the city’s coffers. But New York City voters elected a government that did just that. And now they’re enjoying the fruits of their collective electoral labor.

New Yorkers have played a stupid game, and as the old saying goes, “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” And what prizes could be stupider than crime-ridden neighborhoods, locked up toothpaste, and piles of garbage?

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

The post Blue-State Paradise: Vacant NYC Storefronts ‘Creating Havoc,’ Nearly Double Since Pandemic appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.