The Queens Boulevard Bike Lane Didn’t Do in Ben’s Greatest Deli – Streetsblog New York Metropolis

Jay Parker, the proprietor of Ben’s Greatest in Rego Park, goes out of enterprise, the most recent casualty within the lengthy attrition of Jewish delis that’s claimed establishments as common and honored because the Carnegie Deli.

I realized to salivate on the sight of chopped liver at a younger age, and I’d love to move over, pay my respects, and wolf down some sizzling pastrami and pickles earlier than Ben’s Greatest is gone for good. Nevertheless it’s exhausting to muster a lot sympathy for Parker when he tells anybody who’ll hear that he can’t keep solvent due to the Queens Boulevard bike lane.

The road Parker has been peddling is that Ben’s Greatest wasn’t executed in by the punishing margins, skyrocketing beef costs, and shrinking marketplace for kosher meat which have worn out so many different Jewish delis. Nope, it was the bike lane’s fault.

As wild as that clarification could appear, reporters are consuming it up like kreplach. WPIX ran an entire “bike lanes killed my deli” phase. A Each day Information piece the place Parker blamed the bike lane was approvingly quoted on Twitter by Council Member Chaim Deutsch, whose Brooklyn district is nowhere close to Queens Boulevard.

It’s a poisonous message. The Queens Boulevard redesign has minimize the variety of pedestrian accidents in half, whereas biking has greater than doubled. Nobody has been killed whereas strolling or biking on Queens Boulevard since DOT carried out the primary redesigned phase in Woodside in 2015, an unprecedented security streak on the previous “Boulevard of Dying.”

The redesigned Queens Boulevard. Photo: NYC DOT
The redesigned Queens Boulevard. Picture: NYC DOT

New York wants much more of those initiatives to make biking secure sufficient for most individuals to offer it a shot, and it’s a fantasy that the native retail financial system will endure within the course of.

Earlier analysis has confirmed that normally, bike lanes and different initiatives to make NYC streets much less car-centric aren’t harming storefront companies. And within the particular case of Ben’s Greatest, the argument that poor buyer entry was a decisive consider its demise doesn’t maintain up.

The deli sits proper on high of a subway station served by three strains, close to a confluence of native bus routes. Crammed inside just a few blocks are a dozen parking buildings containing giga-feet of automobile storage, together with garages on the Rego Heart Mall the place you should buy three hours of parking for a measly $3 (cheaper than a facet of well being salad at Ben’s Greatest).

Ben’s Greatest launched in 1945, however the parking areas that the bike lane changed solely date again to 2001, when DOT added a parking lane to decelerate drivers who had been killing folks by the dozen on Queens Boulevard. Road adjustments don’t clarify its declining enterprise — the difficult economics of operating a kosher deli in 2018 do.

In an indication that Parker was slicing corners earlier than the bike lane appeared, Ben’s Greatest, like the Carnegie Deli earlier than it, was sued by staff for wage theft in 2015. The phase of Queens Boulevard close to the deli wasn’t redesigned till mid-2017.

Chatting with the Ahead (h/t Bike Snob), Parker acknowledged that the client base which used to maintain the deli simply isn’t there anymore:

Parker might have gone out with class, with out taking a swipe at a challenge that’s saved lives. As a substitute, he selected responsible the bike lane.

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