Small businesses have been hit hard in the wake of the East Village explosion, so residents have conjured up a Small Biz Crawl in order to help. All walks of life are welcome to join the #SaveNYC movement at noon this Saturday, April 11, to visit the beloved establishments most affected by the explosion.
Participants will gather at Gem Spa, which has served the neighborhood since 1957, on the corner of Second Avenue and St. Marks Place, and then head to Himalayan Visions, a family-run shop selling an array of trinkets from jewelry to meditation supplies. A lunch break will follow, at B&H Dairy or Paul’s Da Burger Joint. With full bellies, the group will meander toward New Yorkers Market, to stock up on groceries for the week.
“Here are some business that are close to the explosion that could benefit from cash and customers,” said Adam Nelson, a representative of #SaveNYC. “It’s about bringing a feeling of community back to the street given the police presence and the recent circumstances.”
#SaveNYC, which is currently pushing legislation that would arm small businesses against rent hikes, aims “to protect and preserve the diversity and uniqueness of the urban fabric in New York City,” said group representative Kristen Theodos in an email detailing Saturday’s event. The crawl emerged organically (if that’s how you can refer to something born from the Internet), when members of the #SaveNYC Facebook group responded to a call to action from Jeremiah Moss, author of Vanishing New York.
The explosion near the corner of Second Avenue and East 7th Street has particularly affected these businesses. B&H Dairy remains closed, though it told its Facebook followers yesterday that it hoped to reopen by Wednesday.
Abdelwahad and other owners of the above businesses were unaware of the #SaveNYC crawl when we contacted them. “The neighborhood definitely needs more attention since the fire,” said Matthew Wardrop, owner of Paul’s, who tweeted that sales at his burger joint were down 75 percent. “With pedestrian traffic being limited, it has been a little compromising in terms of people accessing the businesses in the area.”