Aug. 3, 2010 By Christian Murray
Three Sunnyside elected officials received a petition today asking them to block the opening of a pawn shop at the corner of 46th Street and Queens Blvd.
The petition calls on Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Congressman Joseph Crowley to help “close” or “move the location” of a proposed EZ Pawn Corp. store that is schedule to open next month.
“We are distressed about the opening of an EZ Pawn Corp. branch at the most visible, prominent corner of the area, across the street from the Sunnyside Arch and at 46th/Bliss station,” the petition read, adding that it sends a “message of financial decline, counter to every effort community groups and individuals work hard to achieve every day.”
The petition was signed by about 60 residents and business owners, including Ira Greenberg, the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, to well-known business owners and residents (see petition letter below). The group, spearheaded by Patricia Dorfman, continues to collect signatures.
In response to the petition, Van Bramer said that he too didn’t want EZ Pawn to be located there.
“I would certainly prefer an old fashioned deli,” he said, adding that he lives on the same street just two blocks over. However, “I don’t have the power to say no pawn shops.”
Van Bramer said he would try to get the owner of EZ Pawn, the landlord and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce together to see if some sort of a solution could be worked out.
Van Bramer said that he was working with the Small Business Administration, Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Finance to track down the landlord and to see if E Z Pawn has been subject to past violations.
Assembly Cathy Nolan, although aware of the petition, did not get back in time for comment. Congressman Crowley’s office said that he would be reviewing the matter.
David Kaminsky, the owner of Spanish Harlem-based EZ Pawn, which has seven branch offices throughout the city, said in an interview today that he has no plans to “move the location” of the store. In fact, “I’m trying to get it up as fast as I can,” he said.
“Why should I have to move? This is a great location – right by the train,” Kaminsky said. Furthermore, “this branch would be good for the area. We will bring business to the area. I see the bar next door is for sale and there are many vacant stores in the area.”
Kaminsky was aware that some Sunnyside residents opposed the establishment of the branch. However, he said, he had not heard from any elected officials.
EZ Pawn Corp is legally able to operate its store in Sunnyside and it does meet zoning requirements, according to Joe Conley, the chairman of community board 2. However, Conley did say, if it does open “It will be under the microscope,” adding, “if anything smells or looks illegal this community will be all over it.
Petition Letter by on Scribd