Speaker Christine Quinn's recent proposal to allow newsstand operators to sell non-newspaper products for up to $10 versus today's current $5 limit makes sense.
Prior to the 1962 newspaper strike, which lasted for 114 days, New Yorkers had numerous newspapers. It was an era when a majority of citizens received their news from newspapers as opposed to television.
Today there are fewer newspapers and only several hundred newsstands left. The profit margin for individual newspaper sales can be as little as pennies. Newsstand owners need the additional revenues to survive. They provide newspapers and other products many New Yorkers depend upon on a daily basis.
These same newsstands provide gainful employment for hundreds of operators along with distributors. Newsstands generate sales taxes, which help support municipal services. They also provide eyes and ears in keeping the neighborhood safe.
And no wonder there are so few newsstands when any potential investor has to run the gauntlet between the departments of Transportation and Consumer Affairs, Landmarks Preservation Commission and Arts Commission.
Perhaps Speaker Quinn can introduce legislation to limit the role these agencies have in placing unreasonable obstacles to those who wish to maintain and expand the number of newsstands.
In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including our neighborhood local newsstands.