Neighborhood Opposition Turns Out to Deny New Cemusa Newsstand on the Bowery

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 at 5:22 am by

 

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One potential newsstand owner is exhausting efforts to install a Cemusa box on the Bowery mid-section. Precisely where so much change is happening. However, it might take a minute, since the surrounding community is largely against such placement.

Last month, the applicant appeared before Community Board 2 to obtain blessings for a unit outside the Bari Restaurant Equipment store (corner of Prince). The proposal was categorically denied, aided in large part to a showing of opposition that included both neighbors and the owner of Bouwerie Iconic.

Not deterred, the applicant (and opposition) returned earlier this week to try for a new location just a few blocks south at Kenmare Street. Right beside 168 Bowery on the southwest corner. The outcome was identical. A denial. This time around, the community argued that there is already a Cemusa newsstand on the other side of the Bowery and reiterated the importance of having Bouwerie Iconic just up the block.

Another fear is that this sidewalk commoditization might result in the placement of video advertising on its siding. Large format digital billboards in this intersection could be dangerous to motorists; it’s already a dangerous area to drive, the added distraction can’t help. While the Cemusa boxes come equipped with analog technology, the swap can probably happen at any time.

The older newsstands were perfectly functional, but they didn’t fit the bill for Bloomberg’s Manhattan. Everything on the city streets needed to be monetized, including the pay phones and newsstands. Cemusa was initially a Spanish-based advertising company, but sold to French conglomerate JCDecaux SA. Apparently the buyer is “the number one outdoor advertising company in the world.” And that’s who’s selling us…

Meanwhile, in case you were wondering, the application process for a newsstand is painstaking. Hopefuls must first notify buildings and submit site plans to the Department of Consumer Affairs (plus a fee). The proposal is then forwarded to the Department of Transportation and the local Community Board which gauges space and/or congestion issues. If approved, the Design Commission weighs in; their thumbs up results in a success. The vendor must then pay $30,000 to Cemusa as a license fee.

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