Proprietor Of BIBA In Williamsburg Says New York State Is Forcing Him Out Of Enterprise As Half Of Park Renovation – CBS New York
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn business owner who says he contributed to Williamsburg’s resurgence says Governor Andrew Cuomo, who thanks him by kicking him out.
Its outdoor concessions are part of a park that the state is renovating in honor of a civil rights activist.
As Lisa Rozner of CBS2 reports, 110 Kent Avenue is home to BIBA, an event space that lives off its backyard terrace.
A patio, which according to owner Mark Nagawiecki dates from 2006, asked him to think about an embellishment so that the people in East River State Park had a place to eat, drink and use the toilet.
“I spent nearly $ 200,000 and I never got back much of it,” said Nagawiecki.
Since then, he has offered the space to new companies and non-profit organizations for free or at a reduced price. That year he received special permission so that Chabad could hold Yom Kippur services there.
“As soon as Mark heard what I was looking for, he said clearly whatever you need, whenever you need,” said Rabbi Shmuly Lein of Chabad, North Brooklyn.
That’s the same offer Nagawiecki and his business partner Raffaello Van Couten made to the State Parks division when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in August that he would renovate the park for several million dollars to help Marsha P. Johnson, a LGBTQ rights activist, honor and colored transgender woman who was part of the Stonewall riot.
“It’s a great thing and we loved it,” said Van Couten.
More: Brooklyn Park is renamed in honor of the gay rights activist
Renderings show a rainbow flag mural stopping where BIBA’s outside concessions begin.
But recently, Parks said the mural would have to go through their concession room.
Nagawiecki offered to repaint his property and matching furniture. He even met with the State Parks Commissioner, but was emailed that his concessions should go through November 16.
The commissioner wrote: “It comes from me and my management team in close coordination with the Executive Chamber.”
Rozner reached out to the governor and state park commissioner to ask why they couldn’t work with the company. Nobody would go in front of the camera. In an email, a park spokesman claimed that “a food and beverage service is no longer compatible with this section” due to the park’s reorientation.
However, renderings show that Smorgasburg – a weekly food market – is allowed to continue operating.
“He was there when the boardwalk was pretty dangerous. He was there and worked to have the room tidied up, ”said MEP Emily Gallagher.
“We have no chance of surviving,” said Van Couten. “I am sad that we are overlooked. We try our best, our damn everyday life. “
Nagawiecki estimates that he has already lost half a million dollars. Closing means he will never find it again.
The park department claims that BIBA was informed in the spring that it would have to close its outdoor area. It was only after Rozner asked further questions on the subject that a state representative added that he would welcome a proposal from BIBA to obtain a permit after construction.
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