After undergoing a controversial facelift a few years ago, those sidewalk sellers of $1.50 packs of Trident and US Magazines might get another upgrade: City Council Speaker/Maybe Future Mayor Christine Quinn proposed a bill yesterday that would raise the price limit on newsstand items from $5 to $10.
The current $5 limit was set in 2002, an increase from an initial $2 limit. Apparently not many New Yorkers know about the cap, which was originally put in place in order to keep newsstands from becoming on-the-street minimarkets. But $5 doesn't go very far in the Land of the $300 Burger, and newsstand operators have had trouble keeping things like bigger bags of candy and umbrellas that don't snap at a single gust of wind on their shelves. "The $4 umbrella of 2002 isn’t the same as the $4 umbrella of 2012-13," Quinn said when she introduced the bill yesterday. "The $4 umbrella in 2013—you’re lucky if it’s going to get you to the corner."
Another plus: Quinn's bill would allow newsstands to sell things like cheap phone chargers and earbuds, items which are now fairly high in demand. And operators say they could really use that added revenue, since newspaper and magazine sales have fallen considerably over the years. "This is a good idea because printed things are not selling and the commissions are down for magazines and newspapers," Ram Mar, who operates a stand on 34th and Broadway, told the Post. "We need a broader category so we can survive."
The bill will be introduced in City Council on May 22nd, and as expected, it's already been shot down by Quinn's fellow mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio, who says it's "not nearly enough" to help small businesses make a post-tax heavy Bloomberg administration comeback. Whatever, just give us sidewalk growlers already.