How disappointing to learn that so-called liberal progressive New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm is leading the fight to stop a newstand from opening up in Jackson Heights at the corner of 74th Street and 37th Road.
Few remember probably including Councilmember Dromm that in the 1960s, NYC was blessed with over 12 daily newspapers sold at hundreds of neighborhood newsstands.
Excessive regulations have contributed to the reduction of newsstands especially in Manhattan over past decades. Even worse, there are those who want to reduce the numbers of vending machines distributing daily newspapers such as AM New York and Metro New York along with numerous weekly newspapers such as our own Queens Courier along with competitors such as the Queens Tribune, Queens Chronicle, Queens Gazette, Queens Examiner, Queens Times and Queens Ledger along with others.
How fortunate we are to be living in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available for any citizen to gain access.
Today, there continues to be an ongoing circulation battle between the New York Times, New York Daily News and Post in New York City. They face competition from other daily newspapers such as Newsday, Staten Island Advance, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Many of these papers count on sales by local newsstands. These same newsstands provide gainful employment for hundreds of operators along with distributors. They also serve as eyes and ears for the neighborhood helping to fight crime. News stands generate sales taxes which help support municipal services. All free newspapers collectively rely on several thousand free standing vending machines. Most owners and employees are our neighbors. They contribute to NYC and pay taxes just like the rest of us.
No wonder there are so few newsstands when any potential investor has to run the gauntlet between the Departments of Consumer Affairs, Transportation, Landmarks Preservation Commission and Arts Commission and sometimes even local Community Planning Boards. Owners of independent weekly newspapers and faithful readers should be concerned about some local Community Planning boards, other municipal agencies and elected pubic officials meddling in the distribution of newsstands.
In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone including our neighborhood local newsstands and free standing vending machines.