Monday, December 28, 2009


Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30p.m.

KARMA's next community meeting for residents and merchants will be held at

Old Brick Cafe Lounge
507 Church Avenue
between E. 5th Street and Ocean Parkway

Guest speaker: Vicki Weiner, Director of Planning and Preservation, Pratt Center for Community Development

The Pratt Center is working with community partners on new neighborhood-based and citywide strategies to strengthen neighborhood retail as a strategy for community economic development in a worsening economy.

The meeting is open to local residents and merchants who are interested in the future of our shopping district.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


During National Small Business Week, we honor the entrepreneurs and small business owners who are the engine of our economy. Their ingenuity and hard work are critical to our Nation’s prosperity…I call upon Government officials, industry leaders, and advocates across the Nation to encourage our citizens to celebrate the achievements of small business owners and encourage the creation of new businesses.
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Small Business Week Proclamation

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America.

The estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America are major contributors to America's economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. Small businesses create 60% to 80% of new jobs in the U.S. They drive innovation, create 21st century jobs, and increase U.S. competitiveness.

Small Business Week 2010 will be celebrated the week of May 23rd.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Posted on a neighborhood listserv and reprinted here with permission:

"Hi neighbors,
We heard from this list that The Oak and the Iris was available as a party space, so this past weekend we had our two-year-old' s birthday party there. It was absolutely lovely! The space is comfortable (and was truly ideal for toddlers), the food was delicious, the staff was accommodating and helpful, and the price is right. We heartily recommend this neighborhood gem for your next affair!"

And don't forget O&I's special: buy one dinner and get the second one for half price!

The Oak and The Iris Cafe

2826 Fort Hamilton Parkway (corner of E. 4th Street)

(718) 208-7713


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


From Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council:

“As part of the New York City Council's ongoing effort to assist small businesses and homeowners, I wanted to forward a recent video clip on the Penalty Forgiveness Program.

This special three-month program, which was created by the Mayor's Office and the City Council to help local businesses and homeowners deal with overdue fines, is scheduled to end on December 21, 2009.

So far over 14,000 entrepreneurs and homeowners across the City have submitted applications to have late fees, interest and other charges waived from outstanding Environmental Control Board summons.

Please take a moment to view the video clip at

This video gives explicit instructions on how to apply for this waiver. For more information about the Penalty Forgiveness Program, please click here.

I hope this information is useful. The City Council is committed to helping small businesses get through these difficult times. We have passed a number of new initiatives and laws to help individuals and businesses. You can read more about these initiatives, collectively called "Open for Business," on our website at”

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Specials! Discounts! Free events!
One day only, Saturday, December 12th,
starting at 11:00 a.m.!

Prospect Park West
between Bartel Pritchard Square and 17th Street

The Windsor Terrace Alliance and participating merchants on Prospect Park West invite you to

Eat, Drink, & Stroll

along Prospect Park West and take advantage of a day of

fun and bargains!

Participating businesses:
  • Babbo's Books
  • Clemens
  • The Double Windsor
  • Enzo's
  • Elora's
  • Fez Art Cafe
  • Hallmark
  • Hot Diggity Dog
  • Le P'tit Bistro
  • Park West Vision
  • Sushi Yama
  • Windsor Cafe
  • Windsor Shoes
  • Windsor Shoes Too (kids)
  • Windsor Wines
Get details and the full schedule on the Windsor Terrace Alliance website - or stop by the WTA table set up outside Windsor Cafe, 220 PPW, from noon to 4:00, for free hot chocolate (compliments of Windsor Cafe) and a directory of participating businesses.


Monday, December 7, 2009


Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen has gotten another thumbs-up review, this one from The Village Voice's New York Food Blog: "News from Kensington's Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen: Menu Additions, Stall at Holiday Market."

Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen
359 McDonald Avenue, between Albemarle Road and Caton Avenue
(718) 871-9115
(718) 854-5054
Open Sunday-Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.



The rally that was scheduled to be held on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, December 9th, in support of the Small Business Survival Act has been canceled, due to the setback described on this blog.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Over the past few weeks, several New York City Council members who had supported the Small Business Survival Act decided to withdraw their support. As a result, the Coalition to Save Small Businesses has asked New York City Council Member Robert Jackson to withdraw his motion to discharge the bill from the Small Business Committee, which would have allowed the full Council to vote on the bill.

Crain's New York Business explained in Rough Road for commercial rent control
, in its December 3rd edition, the politics behind the death of the bill, saying that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn "opposes the motion, and presumably would not look kindly on members who vote for it. Quinn, if she remains speaker, will soon be handing out prized committee chairmanships."

As always,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Wednesday, December 9th, noon

You have two opportunities to help the small businesses in your neighborhood survive: call your City Council Member, and participate in a rally before the City Council votes next Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. on a bill that can help our city's small businesses stay afloat.

That bill, the Small Business Survival Act, would establish arbitration and mediation procedures between landlords and commercial tenants. It is NOT rent control, despite the claims of the bill's opponents! The influence of real estate interests has prevented the bill from moving forward.

Council Member Robert Jackson will ask the full City Council to vote on discharging the Small Business Survival Act from the Small Business Committee so that the City Council can finally vote on it. The bill has been lying stagnant in the Small Business Committee since this past June's committee hearing.

The last time a vote was held to discharge a bill was in 1989--for the same bill!

Having the bill discharged by the committee challenges the committee's chairperson, David Yassky, and the Speaker, Christine Quinn, but it is the only way to get a vote.

The chairperson and the Speaker have united to prevent a vote, leaving Jackson to either let the bill expire on December 31st--when all pending legislation expires and the process has to be started all over again--or make a motion to discharge. He chose the latter.

At the hearing
in June, almost everyone who testified was in favor of the bill. They stated that
  • a crisis existed for the city's small businesses,
  • without the protection of this bill, thousands of small businesses would be forced to close,
  • jobs would be lost, and
  • the extortion of the mostly immigrant owners would continue.
Only the Mayor's representative spoke in opposition. Thirty-one Council Members were sponsoring the bill, including ALL of the members of the Small Business Committee, with the exception of Yassky. He testified that
  • he would take some action to stop the loss of small businesses,
  • the Survival bill seemed like the best choice, and
  • unless someone came up with a better solution, he would support it.
Soon after the hearing, Yassky became a sponsor.

But no vote has been held. Yassky decided to would leave it for the next chairperson. At the same time, the Speaker's office said the bill would be found unconstitutional by a court, and the Speaker would not allow a vote.

However, a team of legal experts led by Attorney Sherri Donovan (who wrote the bill twenty years ago and successfully defended it before the City Council at a special hearing) updated the case law on the bill and presented it to the Speaker's council. It was Ms. Donovan's finding that the bill was legal.

Jackson went back to Yassky and again asked for a vote. This time, Yassky said that it was up to the Speaker to DIRECT him to vote on the bill, even though
  • the majority of the City Council wanted the bill passed,
  • Yassky had held a public hearing without any opposition to the bill and strong support from the business community,
  • the entire Small Business Committee was sponsoring the bill, including Yassky himself, and
  • Yassky had made a promise to small businesses that he would take action to save them.
Yassky would not vote on the Survival bill unless ORDERED to by the Speaker!

The Speaker's staff would not work with Jackson to modify the bill to their liking. Instead, they presented two proposed new bills to Jackson and the Small Business Coalition.

The first bill proposed by the staff would make it a misdemeanor for a landlord to extort funds from a tenant and make it easier for a tenant to report a landlord. Store owners with no lease renewal rights would have to call the police to arrest landlords who demanded extortion money under the table! But without any rights or protection, tenants will be afraid to report their landlords for fear of losing their businesses when their leases expired.

The second bill proposed that when a commercial lease came up for renewal, a city agency would produce a list of arbitration agencies and data on vacancies and read the rights of tenants (New York City has none). Neither proposal gave any rights to tenants or made claims on landlords. It did not change the status quo.

Jackson decided to file a motion to discharge the bill from the Small Business Committee and let the full City Council stand up in public and state "yes" or "no" about supporting small businesses in our city.

Help get a YES vote on the Small Business Survival Act.

Phone your City Council Member and tell him or her to save small businesses by voting YES on the Small Business Survival Act. Spread the word to co-workers, family, and friends to phone. To get the phone number of your City Council Member, go to, type in your street address, choose a borough, and click "Find My Council Member."

And go to the rally on the steps of City Hall on the day of the vote (Wednesday, December 9th) at noon!

Information provided by Steve Null of The Coalition to Save Small Businesses.