"New" Merchants Association Proposes ‘L’ Revitalization
By Marsha Sereno
Armed with a fierce love of Canarsie, a desire to return the business district of Avenue L to its former glory and a willingness to pitch in and work toward that goal, ten Avenue L merchants gathered at the office of attorney Michael Steiner at 9524 Avenue L last Thursday to brainstorm on how they could unite the area’s merchants and residents to make that goal a reality.
Marty Niedleman, President of the Avenue L Merchants Association and owner of Marty’s Pharmacy with attorney Steiner joined together to conduct the meeting and spearhead the revitalization effort.
Assemblyman Frank Seddio, who offered his assistance to the project, and who was scheduled to meet with the group, was detained and was unable to attend the meeting. He will appear at a future meeting. In his absence, the group decided to forge ahead and discuss the many challenges the shopping area has faced in recent years: the closing of many local shops, the loss of the variety of stores, double (and triple) parking, parking meters and their abbreviated time limits, broken meters, graffiti, drivers who commit blatant traffic violations (i.e. illegal U turns.) the apparent inconsistency of police patrols on the avenue, and insufficient trash receptacles.
Niedleman and Steiner proposed to the group an awareness campaign aimed at all the merchants to familiarize them with the newly revitalized Merchants Association. They emphasized the offer to assist those merchants on a regular basis if needed and to become a "familiar face" the shop owners know they can turn to in time of need.
All the merchants in attendance concurred that in order to succeed it will take the unified efforts, as well as funding from outside sources. Steiner stated that there was much work to be done; that each merchant had something to offer and, by allowing each to choose and exercise their individual strength, none would feel "put upon." He also made a proposal that he felt would bring Avenue L back "into the loop."
He noted that at present the B42 bus which takes Canarsiens from the subway station on Rockaway Parkway to the traffic circle near Canarsie Pier bypasses the side streets on its way down Rockaway Parkway. He proposed that the B42 be rerouted slightly so that, on its way down Rockaway Parkway, it would turn right onto Avenue L, proceed to Remsen Avenue, loop around Remsen Avenue to Avenue N and go back up to Rockaway Parkway to its original route.
He stated that the bus should only come from the subway station to Remsen Avenue and not the other way as well, because people coming from the subway are on their way home, whereas travelers in the other direction are headed away from Canarsie.
Steiner stated that once people arrive home from work they are not likely to run out shopping. By making the shopping area part of their travel route home they might be more likely to stop and take care of their shopping needs on their way home. His philosophy is "If you don’t aim for the penthouse, there’s no chance that you’ll even reach the second floor."
The group voted to meet at 7:00 P.M. on the last Thursday of each month at Steiner’s office. They have extended an open invitation to all Avenue L merchants and Canarsie residents as well to join them on Thursday, July 26th, at 7 p.m.. at his office, 9524 Avenue L, for nomination of the organization’s officers, coffee and cake and an opportunity to do what they believe Canarsiens must do: voice their opinions, roll up their sleeves and invest the time and energy it will take to make Avenue L all that they want and need it to be.