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Business Is Coming Back and the TBA Business Owners Group Is Ready
By Mary Baxter

The Turtle Bay Business Owners met on Tuesday, October 1. Opal Restaurant, East 52nd Street and Second Avenue, was kind enough to offer its facilities for this morning session. Attendees included representatives from 15 businesses as well as several TBA directors, including Pauline Evans and Ralph Compagnone, Business Committee co-chairs. Also present at the meeting were Detective Debbie Wisnicki and Police Officer James Meury from the 17tha Precinct; Richie Doyle, Sanitation Supervisor; and representatives from the offices of State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Borough President C. Virginia Fields.

The theme of "being better neighbors" ran through most of the topics discussed. These included a request for business owners to consider the appearance of the front of their stores to be just as important and inviting as their inside space. The severe drought this year, requiring drastic curtailment of water usage in public spaces, has made it especially difficult for the trees along Second Avenue to survive. In addition, because it can't be washed away, trash and dirt on the sidewalks seems to accumulate much faster - and last much longer. Everyone was asked to help out by giving the trees a couple of drinks of water each day and vigorously sweeping the sidewalks in front of their establishments.

The next item was noise. Bars and restaurants were asked to close their windows and doors at a reasonable hour since this is a residential area and people need to get their sleep. Pauline then called on Officer Meury of the 17th Precinct, who spoke about the problems they have been having with bars and asked the community and bars to cooperate with each other. Several questions from attendees were addressed.

Bruce Silberblatt gave a presentation on sidewalk cafes and signs, mentioned the businesses that are clearly not in compliance and advised the group of the actions TBA has taken thus far to address these problems.

The final topic - which generated by far the most discussion - was the mayor's proposed no-smoking policy. A representative from Turtle Bay Grill and Lounge spoke up on this topic, calling it "an outrage" and indicating that he will be circulating a petition. Others said that not only will the ban cause restaurants and bars to lose business, but those people who do go to the bars and want to smoke will be standing outside to do so, quite likely resulting in, as the evening wears on, very boisterous behavior and the depositing of cigarette butts on the sidewalks and in tree beds. The consensus among business owners was that, personal opinions aside, a complete ban would be bad news for Turtle Bay business.

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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

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