2007-12-14 / Letters

A Quaint Little Street

Dear Editor,

As a long-term resident of the Rockaways' west end, I have watched the changing tone of our local "strip mall," Beach 129 Street.

While some of the original businesses remain intact, many have been phased out, due to a lack of patronage. There had been attempts to revitalize the women's clothing market, however, sadly it was not to be. Our childrens' clothing store met with the same fate, as did two jewelers, a gift shop, the most interesting home decor boutique...all have closed their doors, making this shopper very unhappy. The present offerings on the street mainly consist of professional offices, and a variety of foods, ranging from the basics to the gourmet. Like everyone else, I have adjusted, and enjoy the positives, although I still miss the ability to shop locally for gifts and clothing.

With most of our residents going out of the area, or online for their major purchases, why does the arrival of Dunkin' Donuts come as such a surprise?

The big issue surrounding the controversy seems to be coffee. Personally, given the high quality of the stock offered by the existing shops, I cannot see Dunkin' Donuts being much of a threat to them. Since one already exists on Beach 116 Street, it is very easy for the donut fans to get to them. Rather than a threat to the "mom and pop" stores, I believe that Dunkin' Donuts will increase the volume of the business on the block.

Instead of diverting the "last minute items" to Beach 116 Street, the patrons being on 129 Street are more likely to remain, and do their shopping where it is more convenient. Why get back into the car, to go east, to only turn back and return west?

You cannot compare a Dunkin' Donuts to the bakery already in operation. Dunkin' Donuts does not sell deli products, meats or any type of grocery...it offers no prepared foods, and while quite popular, is far from being gourmet.

I do patronize all of the food stores, and the bakery on that block. Never once have I bought coffee, nor have I had the time to sit and enjoy a cup...I'm running to beat the meter, or racing back to keep a doctor's appointment. WereIapedestrian, maybe, but from what I see, many, like myself, make our purchases and head home.

Will it cause more traffic? I don't think so. That is the only block west of Beach 116 Street with a host of doctors and commercial stores. Everyone is already there for one reason or another, so they may stay longer, or come more frequently, but how do you get more when you have it all? Yet, if some come more frequently, staying longer, isn't that apt to generate more activity in the "mom and pop" stores? Presently, [some commercial] activity is being lost to the fans of Dunkin' Donuts, who are more than likely to do their "pit stops" where it is most convenient.....on Beach 116 Street.

I do think that the "lulls" in traffic on the block may diminish, but those lulls have been getting shorter each year, as the block began to change. Hopefully, this will be another calling card, increasing the very business on the block. That is my wish for those whom I will continue to support, as I have done so for many years, and whom I appreciate greatly for their excellent services and superior quality.

For those who may ask why, on this quaint little street, is there such a business? Well, we did this to ourselves by not patronizing those quaint little stores...stores that needed our support to remain on, not merely as decor, but to earn a living. ...something that just was no longer possible on the street.

KATHLEEN HAYES-LOVOI

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I have purchased many, many cups of coffee on beach 129th street. From the bakery, which offers cappucino and espresso to the delis.
Dunkin Donuts DOES too offer prepared foods, such as egg sandwhiches on choice of croissant or bagel, so this will impact the struggling 101 Deli and other food businesses on that street.
And it won't increase traffic? Have you ever seen the traffic in front of a Dunkin Donuts that does not have it's own parking lot?
Better access to parking is the reason these business are not flourishing.
Having a huge Hummer double parked next to your meter parked car and waiting fifteen minutes until the arrogant owner, dressed in velour warm ups, strolls in front of your car, not even glancing at you to acknowledge his inconveniencing you is just one experience I have had on that block.
I love Beach 129th Street, but Dunkin Donuts is NOT what that block needs. It needs more charm and although a few businesses have failed there, the statistics for a new business surviving are well known and it is not the shoppers fault.
It is the business plan of the owner that may be inadequate.
Cleaner sidewalks, better sanitation and some kind of bicycle stands would help on that block for sure. More businesses will start up on 129th Street, some of them will be what we want and need.


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