CB3 Panel Signals Support of Marilyn Louie and Her Fight for a Bigger Newsstand

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 at 6:06 am by

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Marilyn Louie’s new Cemusa newsstand is way too small

For the second time in as many years, embattled newsstand owner Marilyn Louie has the support of Community Board 3. The transportation subcommittee voted unanimously last Thursday evening to urge the Departments of Transportation and Consumer Affairs to resolve the lingering issues regarding her place of work.

Marilyn Louie and her lawyer once again presented the case. It seems like a no-brainer. The gist: they just want a space equal to what was confiscated by the city. Right now, the force-fed Cemusa replacement is not only hurting business, it’s downright dangerous. Hazardous, even. Thirteen inches of depth behind the counter has her trapped without proper space for AC (she closed last Wednesday at 2pm due to excessive heat) or any other comforts to conduct business. Moreover, we learned that Louie was recently hospitalized for a pinched nerve in her neck and overall exhaustion; she apparently lost fourteen pounds from the ordeal.

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Marilyn Louie and her lawyer appear before CB3

No doubt a pillar of the Chinatown community, Louie’s 38-year-old newsstand is essentially a local “trading post,” offering an opportunity for local Chinese to mingle, receive translation, or nab a Chinese language newspaper. But now, with significantly less real estate to sell papers (6 inches) and candy (8 inches), and no room for refrigeration, it can no longer provide its singular function.

The transportation subcommittee recognized the importance of Louie’s presence on the Bowery and discussed strategy. Namely that the health issue would be a more viable argument than business hardship. Their resolution urges the city to investigate the possibility of a custom replacement (5′ x 9.5′ is ideal) or modifying the current tin box to allow for safer work. After all, there is precedent for custom stands under “special circumstances.”

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