2013-11-07 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

by Mary Gallagher

•Something happens later this month that will not happen again for 70,000 years: Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day! That should create a challenging menu!

•Have you noticed that southwest corner of the South Bay shopping center has been torn down? The area, which used to contain GNC and Weight Watchers, among other stores, is now the building site of a Red Robin restaurant. Don’t know anything about them other than there’s only one other on LI, or so I’ve been told.

•There are so many changes in the Village Business District. At least five or six shops have gone, including White Iris Florist, Cathy’s Cuts, the basket shop and the tiny nautical store next to Nikki Jay’s (Wally is continuing online, though). There was a jewelry store near Roomers as well.

A big problem for all the store owners is the fact that landlords are raising already high rents and the local economy is only just now really starting to pick up. However, three of the stores are being replaced. Cathy’s Cuts has been replaced by a barber (son of Vinny from Nikki Jay’s). I heard today that a basket shop from Amityville is replacing the one that just closed. And the tiny shop next to Nikki Jay’s has opened to do eyelashes! Exactly what they do to them, I’m not sure.

In addition to high rents, the shop owners need more of us to shop locally. And some of the shop owners need to make on-street parking more available by not parking in front or near their stores! The Village has provided many Village employee parking spots (outlined with green paint) at a grand cost of $25 per year. Shoppers can’t use those spots without risking an expensive ticket, and they won’t shop if they can’t find a readily available place to park.

On the part of the Village government, we need a law that prohibits retail space from being changed over to office space. There are plenty of offices in the retail business and landlords should not be allowed to fill storefronts with offices. We need a variety of retail shops on Main Street and Deer Park Avenue to draw people into the business district. Office owners can find plenty of space to rent on the side streets, and their clients are taking up retail parking spaces.

•I’m sorry my columns have been missed, but I promise to try to be more faithful in the future.

•I’m anxious to tell you about the terrific art show at the Conklin House that took place a couple of weeks ago, but next week I have a couple of stories about local vets that seem appropriate since Monday is Veterans Day. Come out and cheer for the vets during their annual parade on Monday! They deserve our thanks!

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