New York City

UPDATE: Shops On Main January 2020

Let’s take a look at Hudson Related’s Shops On Main for a January 2020 update. Four months ago, David Kramer gave a rosy public presentation, but the reality doesn’t match the promises. And now, at mid-year, it’s worse.

Reporting by David Stone

In his talk with RIOC‘s Board, the room packed with public listeners, Kramer boosted that all but 1/2 space on Main Street was taken.

But anyone walking through town sees the same blight of empty storefronts. It’d be better, maybe even forgivable, had Kramer not promised “shock and awe,” nearly a decade ago…

And followed it up with a string of cheery public announcements of new businesses on the way.

That’s not to discount successes, like Pup Culture and Wholesome Factory. Both add vitality to Main Street.

But failures — Riverwalk Bar & Grill, Roosevelt Island Urgent Care — and broken promises dilute all that with dispiriting results.

Amalgamated Bank Exits Main Street in September

And, as of September, another failure falls in line as Amalgamated, Roosevelt Island’s only bank, closes.

Shops On Main January 2020

Let’s start with the most troubling.

Granny Annie's/Riverwalk Bar & Grill: Shops on Main Update
A year after Riverwalk Bar & Grill failed, Hudson Related said Granny Annie’s would soon arrive. .

In his talk with RIOC’s Board, Kramer claimed that Granny Annie’s won out over stiff competition for this space. A spring opening was promised. But after COVID-19 stalled construction, the owners hope to open in August.

503 Main, Kramer predicted, would open “by the end of the year.” Presumably, he meant 2019, but it’s still empty with no sign of opening in July, 2020.

Most galling, perhaps, of Kramer’s claims involved 503 Main Street, promised years ago as a wine bar or sandwich shop. But even as he said it would open by the end of 2019, it was under a stop work order from the Department of Buildings, had been for two months.

The stop work order is gone, but any opening looks far off.

A Yoga Studio, predicted for January 2020, a first for Shops on Main, is unchanged. And like several others, it’s single DOB permit expired.
Onda, a Mexican restaurant, Kramer promised, three years ago, would add a new flavor to Shops On Main. It says, “LEASED!” But so far, it’s little more than an alcove for weather resistant cigarette smoking.
Once site of the popular Main Street Sweets, driven out, many feel, by excess rent, also hosted the demise of Bubble Cool. Kramer claims it’s rented, but the sign says otherwise.
A longstanding stationery store when Hudson Related took over Main Street Retail, it’s been vacant for years, driven out with nothing to take its place.

Conclusion: Shops on Main, January 2020

How long can fiction fill in for observable fact? Most Roosevelt Islanders gave up on Main Street Retail, years ago, when it became clear that Hudson Related was all talk.

Whatever private concerns they may have, RIOC’s Board, which awarded the contract that leaves Main Street blighted a decade later, appears willing to live with promises.

But what options have we? Hudson Related can’t handle it. That’s obvious, but where do we go from here?

davidstone1313

David Stone is a New York City based writer, founding publisher of The Roosevelt Island Daily and News; author of a dozen novels, poetry and nonfiction articles and books.

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