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EAst side observer

BY ARLENE KAYATT

Re-imaging moms and pops — Those family owned businesses that still exist — and are not being replaced by empty storefronts along the avenues — need to be reimagined and rebranded as Small Businesses. It matters and really brings the business model into the 21st century and with it the importance and necessity of branding. The eponymous moms and pops who opened the shops decades ago are usually long gone, with the businesses now owned and operated by second, third and maybe fourth generations of those founders. Case in point was made for me when the Ansonia Democratic Club recently honored Tip Toe Shoes, started by Mom and Pop Wasserman more than 70 years ago. Their son, Dan, ran the business with his parents. Dan is still active, but he has passed the reins to his son — the third generation. The store, on 72nd Street between Broadway and Columbus Ave., remains the go-to place for neighborhood residents: The children who got their shoes at Tip Toe now shop there with their kids. In truth, the “mom and pop” nomenclature is derivative of the immigrant population that came to America either just before or after World War II. The children who took over the businesses are the boomers and yuppies of yore. If they fall under the mom and pop umbrella, well, OK. But the third- and fourth-generations — the Gen Xers and millennials and beyond — are too far removed from the long-ago start-ups, and have earned the right and are entitled to be identified as “small businesses” while proudly proclaiming their heritage, as evidenced by Tip Toe Shoes and the East Side’s Michael’s Consignment which was written about in last week’s Our Town, and similarly owned businesses.

Disaster en route — The uptown bus stop at Third Avenue and 42nd Street is a disaster waiting to happen. The entire block — corner to corner between 43rd and 42nd Street — is dedicated to accommodating the M101, M102 and M103. Good planning since the stop is in the immediate vicinity of Grand Central. The sidewalk is fairly wide. There’s a Staples on the corner. And the street line along the curb where the buses stop has flower beds which are pretty but create a bottleneck when accessing — or trying to access — the buses. Adding to the inconvenience is that when two or three buses come along at the same time, and the prospective rider tries for a bus that’s in the middle of the block. If the sidewalk is crowded with other riders and pedestrians there’s a good chance the bus will leave without said would-be passenger. It would be great if the bus drivers cooperated and waited as riders sprint or schlep to get on the bus before it departs. Forget it. The drivers have no problem closing the door in your face and leaving you to resume running up and down the block amid the flower beds, the street traffic and, now, the scaffolding poles.





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