Aug. 1, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
An empty news stand located in front of Foodtown on 37th Avenue has been removed ending years of controversy.
The newsstand was installed in front of 76-10 37th Ave. in 2016 amid protests from elected leaders and many residents who claimed it obstructed the sidewalk and provided unfair competition to stores selling similar items. Furthermore, some argued that it was a magnet for graffiti and was a derelict eyesore.
Council Member Daniel Dromm, along with the late State Sen. Jose Peralta, led protests in 2016 calling for its removal. Community Board 3 also voted against its installation at the time.
Dromm has continued to apply pressure on the City to have it removed, and as recently as March penned a letter to the Department of Transportation and Department of Consumer Affairs imploring the agencies to remove it.
His campaign proved successful, with the Department of Consumer Affairs removing it on Tuesday.
The Council Member said in his March letter that the stand was a public safety hazard, with pedestrians regularly forced to walk on the road due to congestion on the busy sidewalk.
The letter emphasized that the sidewalk space is of paramount importance on that block, noting that there have been pedestrian deaths at the intersection of 76th Street and 37th Avenue.
Dromm said that the stand’s installation was approved based on a 2011 Department of Transportation foot-traffic study. He said that foot traffic has increased significantly in the eight years since the study was conducted.
Dromm said that the newsstand was largely unoccupied, with it only being tenanted for a few months in 2016. The Council Member said that the stand couldn’t compete with the many local shops.
“They were never able to make a go of it, although they were hardly ever open to begin with,” Dromm said in an interview.