Updated 06/17/2009 01:56 PM
Manhattan: Commercial Growth On The Decline In Inwood
The number of gated storefronts in Inwood tend to outnumber those open for business, serving as a stark reminder of the economy's impact and how it may shape the neighborhood's future. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
In the middle of the day on 207th Street in Inwood, there are almost as many stores with the gates pulled down as there are open for business.
Jose Duran, who works in a barber shop on the north side of the street, says business there is slow and has been that way for a while.
"Sometimes you only have $5 on you and you've got to pay rent, or like $200 for the barber chair every week, and sometimes you don't have it," said Duran. "It's real bad."
Manny Velazquez is the chair of Community Board 12. He's also running for the local City Council seat. He says the neighborhood is being hit hard.
"A lot of the employees in these small business shops are local members of the community, so what we see are a lot of individuals who need a job, a local job, a minimum paying job, but is at least enough to put food on the table," he said. "Those jobs are being lost."
According to Espana Ariste, the owner of Little Apple restaurant, her profits are down big time, by almost 50 percent.
"Taxes are the same, rent is higher, and economy is down -- less people shopping and buying and we have less customers coming inside," said Ariste.
Area residents do not seem fazed by what the recession has done to their community, walking past gated storefronts without a second glance.
People who live in the neighborhood say the recession has changed more than its appearance, it has also changed its feel.
"It used to be a friendly neighborhood with a lot of nice people but now, I guess money changes a person or lack of money. Lack of money changes a person," said Inwood business owner Wasam Ottman.
Ottman's family has a store in the area, but residents say it is not necessary to be a business owner to feel the impact of the recession.
"A regular New York City citizen, that's all you got to be to be hurtin'," said one Inwood resident.
So do people who live and work in Inwood think the neighborhood will rebound? Maybe. But resident Saul Taverez isn't waiting around.
"It makes me want to move out of the city, go someplace else and try to make a living," said Taverez.