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Upper West Side Zoning Plan Could Become Model For Rest Of City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - On the two sides of Columbus Avenue at 78th Street are the two sides of the argument.

WCBS 880's Alex Silverman On The Story


To the west is a deli, a little boutique furniture store, and a few other small shops. To the east, the entire block is a Duane Reade, and a Chase bank.

"There's a really sad thing. On the next block, Therapie just closed. It was small. It seemed to be one owner, one store.  They just have a lot more character than the biggest stores," said Phyllis.

She says she's all for the city planning department's proposal, under which new storefronts could be no more than 40-feet-wide on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.

Broadway is too far gone already, they say.

"Children actually come up to me, I've been surprised, begging to keep the streetscape. They want to see a toy store," said Coucilwoman Gale Brewer. "Because we love our mom and pops. I can't tell you how much a neighborhood pharmacy means."

Opponents including the Real Estate Board of New York say chain stores are popping up, because people appreciate them.

"It's 24 hours, and a large store like this, can be 24 hours. A smaller store probably couldn't afford the overhead," said one shopper. "A large store like this - more jobs. Jobs is really what we need. So, when you have a large store, you have more people working there."

The idea isn't to keep chain stores out entirely, but to keep them from dominating.

Kenneth Yoo, owner of the party supply and stationary store Paper House on Amsterdam Avenue, tells 1010 WINS even though a store like Duane Reade is a drug store, their selection and store size cut into his business.

Duane Reade Upper West Side
A Duane Reade on the Upper West Side - New York, NY - Feb 3, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

It's believed the proposal for the Upper West Side could become a model for other parts of the city. It is, however, just a proposal at this point and would require approval from the City Council.

Where do you stand? Sound off in the comments section below!

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