NYC Department of Small Business Services Continues the Avenue NYC Commercial Revitalization Grant Program in the East Village in Partnership with Cooper Square Committee and East Village Independent Merchant Association

The Cooper Square Committee (CSC) and the East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA) are happy to announce that the NYC Department of Small Business Services is continuing the second year of a $100,000 Avenue NYC grant to promote and sustain businesses in the East Village commercial district.


“This grant will enable us to have a full time Project Manager organize the East Village merchants, grow and diversify EVIMA’s membership, and work on specific projects to retain and market the unique businesses in our community. We’re thankful to SBS for this opportunity,” said Steve Herrick, CSC Executive Director. The grant is continuing for a second of three total years, and will enable EVIMA to become self-sustaining.

EVIMA was formed in 2013, and became more active after the 2nd Avenue gas explosion in 2015. EVIMA has dozens of member businesses, and its goal is to protect and strengthen independently owned establishments in the historic and culturally rich East Village, bounded by East 14th St. to Houston St. from 4th Avenue to Avenue D. The Cooper Square Committee is a neighborhood preservation organization that works to preserve affordable housing, small businesses and community/cultural spaces through organizing, social services and development programs.


“EVIMA is excited to partner with Cooper Square Committee on the Avenue NYC Grant program,” said EVIMA co-chairperson, Charles Branstool, owner of Exit 9 Gift Emporium on Avenue A. “CSC and EVIMA share similar values and goals that will lead to a stronger and more vibrant neighborhood. Last year EVIMA partnered with the Lower East Side Partnership to conduct a Commercial District Needs Assessment, which will soon be published by SBS. We are eager to build upon this valuable assessment as we launch new projects this year. Viva East Village!” EVIMA founder and President, Jimmy Carbone, added that “EVIMA’s goals include growing our membership, better representing the diversity of businesses in the East Village, and developing as an organization.”


“It is a priority for us to help communities devastated by the pandemic to recover during this time,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “This second round of funding will help revitalize the East Village commercial corridors and bring them back stronger than ever.”


EVIMA and CSC have partnered on the Taste of the East Village festival on East 7th Street for several years, and have co-hosted breakfast meetings and focus groups with small businesses to address issues and share resources. CSC has referred dozens of local merchants to free legal counseling regarding lease issues over the past three years. Last year, CSC worked on an ANHD report called “The Forgotten Tenants: NYC’s Immigrant Small Business Owners” which surveyed over 100 small business owners in several neighborhoods about the challenges they face, and made a set of policy recommendations. These challenges have only intensified amidst the Covid-19 crisis.


“As part of a business retention strategy, we are working with EVIMA members and our NYS elected officials on a plan to reduce the rent burden on small businesses that were forced to shut down temporarily and/or scale back their operations due to Covid-19. Policy interventions are desperately needed to prevent the permanent closure of thousands of businesses across the city,” said Mr. Herrick.


About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, follow SBS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


About Avenue NYC
Avenue NYC is a competitive grant program created by the NYC Department of Small Business Services to fund and build the capacity of community-based development organizations to execute commercial revitalization initiatives. Avenue NYC is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, which targets investments in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. 

CSC Workshop: Staying Lead Safe at Home

This workshop was given on Sep 2, 2020 on Zoom. Click above to watch.

Earlier this month, CSC partnered with the Lead Dust Free NYC Coalition and Dr. Morri Markowitz, the Director of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, for our “Staying Lead Safe at Home” workshop (click the image above to watch a recording of the workshop). We hope this workshop will serve as a comprehensive resource for tenants across NYC with concerns about lead hazards lurking in their aging buildings, especially those with children who will be spending more time at home as schools shift toward a blended curriculum this Fall. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Lead Dust Free NYC Coalition, or CSC’s work to prevent and eliminate lead poisoning in NYC, please contact liamr@coopersquare.org.

“Save Our Storefronts, Save Our State” (Press Conference, 7/29/2020)

This press conference was held on Zoom on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Watch above or by clicking this link.

Visit www.saveourstorefronts.nyc & tell your NYS reps to support the Epstein/Hoylman commercial rent relief bill #SaveOurStorefronts

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abigail Ellman / abigaile@coopersquare.org / ‪(347) 830-7014‬

“Save Our Storefronts, Save Our State”

NYC Small Businesses Call Out “SOS” as Pandemic Rent Crisis Threatens To Sink Many

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein Join Businesses in Calling for Legislation to Share the Burden

When: Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 9 to 9:45 AM
Where: via Zoom, view the recording above

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HDFC Community Solar Online Workshop: Thursday, 6/25/2020

This workshop was given by Cooper Square Committee and Solar One on Thursday, June 25, 2020, via Zoom. Watch above or by clicking this link.

Learn about Community Shared Solar, save on future electric bills, and help fight climate change. Switching to solar energy is the easiest way to lower our carbon emissions, almost anyone can sign up, no upfront costs, and you’re guaranteed to save money.

Watch our 6/17 workshop on Life Planning Documents:

This workshop was given on Zoom and Youtube on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Watch above or by clicking this link. Download the Powerpoint here.
Este taller se dio por Zoom y por Youtube el miércoles, 17 de junio de 2020. Assístelo arriba o por hacer clic en este vínculo. Baje una traducción a español de la presentación Powerpoint aquí.

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Cooper Square Committee Statement on Police Brutality and the Murder of George Floyd

We share in the grief and anger over the murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, yet another execution of an unarmed black man. This time it happened in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses and recorded for all to see. It exemplified the institutional racism embedded in police culture and our criminal justice system that enables police officers to commit acts of violence against black and brown people with the expectation that they will not be held accountable. But they must.

Our multi-racial, multicultural Lower East Side community stands in solidarity with protesters who are calling for our elected officials, judicial system and policy makers to confront our nation’s history of white supremacy and structural racism in order to create systemic change so that all of us can live without fear. 

After a week of protest that have included provocations by police and property damage by some protesters, let’s not let the conversation be diverted from the root causes of this uprising. We all need to be allies in the call for justice. We need to listen to our black and brown neighbors when they speak of the fear they live with every day. Let us all work for a more just society, for accountability of law enforcement officers who profile and brutalize people of color, as well as peaceful protesters and members of the press, as we have seen in recent days.  

The Cooper Square Committee has worked for decades to protect the right of poor and working class people of all races to remain in our changing community. Our community is part of, allied with, and has benefitted from Black communities’ struggles for freedom in this country. We will continue to build solidarity among people of all races, religions, genders, and immigration status to fight for social and economic injustice.  We join in affirming that Black Lives Matter!

Rest in Power, Frances Goldin

Dear Cooper Square Committee Community,

Today we are remembering our fierce and inspiring co-founder, Frances Goldin.

On Saturday May 16th after a long gradual decline in health, Fran died in her home on East 11th Street, where she had lived for nearly 50 years. She was 95 years old.

Frances Goldin was an inspirational force for fair and affordable housing throughout New York City, but especially on the Lower East Side, for more than half a century. She was also a figure in the literary world, combining her political conviction with literary discernment and expertise. Fran was proudly radical, dedicating her long life to fighting against injustice and struggling to build a more equitable society. When she saw a wrong that needed to be addressed, she confronted it head-on, with boundless energy and with a combination of leftist conviction and the palpable warmth of human kindness and compassion. 

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What to know about evictions and paying rent

Our offices may be closed to the public during the COVID-19 crisis, but we’ve been hard at work (remotely) fielding many questions about paying rent and the evictions moratorium. Here’s what you need to know.
There is a statewide evictions moratorium for all residential and commercial tenants. The eviction moratorium means you cannot be evicted.
Rent has not been suspended. We know that unless tenants take collective action to #CancelRent now, Housing Court will simply reopen at the end of the moratorium with a surge of evictions.
Tenants are taking action and you can, too. Members of your community are signing the petition to #CancelRentwriting to elected officials, calling Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390, and sharing their COVID-19 rent stories.
Free legal advice is available. Our legal non-profit partners have released a detailed FAQ for residential tenants and a similar FAQ for commercial tenants.
Rent strikes are a powerful tactic. Check out this toolkit to learn more about the history of rent strikes and help organize with your neighbors. If you are interested in organizing a rent strike or other building-wide action, call (212) 228-8210 or email info@coopersquare.org to speak with a housing organizer about the issues you and your building are facing. 
Sign the Rent Suspension Petition

CSC offices closed during coronavirus epidemic

During the coronavirus epidemic, Cooper Square Committee’s staff continues to do our work helping tenants, small business owners, seniors and low income residents get the services they need. Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, our office is closed but our staff is working remotely and is prepared to assist you by phone or email. All tenant meetings are by conference call only. If you’re facing a housing emergency, please call 311. If you have a housing question which is not an emergency, leave a message at (212) 228-8210, or email csc@coopersquare.org. We will respond to your message as soon as we can.
For urgent senior issues call our NORC emergency line at 929-855-0958. 

For up-to-date information about the coronavirus epidemic, call 311 or visit nyc.gov.

We are not going away, and we hope to resume a normal office schedule as soon as public health officials advise that it is safe to do so. For up-to-date information about the coronavirus epidemic, call 311 or visit nyc.gov.

Stay connected to your friends by phone and online. Let’s all take care of one another.

~ Steve Herrick, Executive Director