Staten Island Business Districts Look Ahead to Reopening Safely

Up and down New Dorp Lane things are quieter than they should be. You can still grab takeout, but the normal hum of activity is missing on the sidewalks, cafes and storefronts.

But, Niles French, the Executive Director of the New Dorp Lane District, said that doesn’t mean local owners aren’t working even harder to stay alive and connected with their customers during the pandemic.

“All of the businesses in New Dorp Lane have been wonderful and creative,” he said.

Like at 5 Boro Power Yoga, where classes are now streaming online, or Peek-A-Boo Children’s Boutique, where curbside pickup is available.

French said his team and the Lane’s Board of Directors have worked hard to be advocates for the District’s 180 businesses by collaborating with elected officials and listening to the urgent needs of owners.

“I think that we are really good and excel at working with our community partners and establishing parameters, specific to each business or industry, that allow a community to rebound from this. The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, the SIEDC, has been around since 1993 and has always worked through challenges, whether those were the effects on the economy post 9/11, of Sandy, or now, the effects of COVID-19.”

Right now, it’s all about helping local businesses stay informed, said French; and, if needed, helping them navigate the often-complicated process of accessing recovery loans and disaster grants.

There is no one-size-fits-all for getting back to normalcy, he said. And while popular events like the Lane’s September Restaurant Crawl and annual Classic Car Show are tentatively ON for now, he knows the situation is fluid.

“We are working with as many people, studies and resources as we have locally, nationally and internationally for what this will look like,” French added.

Photo courtesy @ken667 on Instagram.