4 THE QUEENS COURIER • NOVEMBER 5, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Open Storefronts initiative launched ahead of holidays
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
MLB owners, de Blasio approve new Mets owner
BY JOE PANTORNO
Put those “Sell Th e Team” shirts in your
memorabilia chests, pour yourself a cup
of tea, and take a moment to revel in what
has happened this Friday aft ernoon, Mets
fans. Steve Cohen is the owner of the New
Major League Baseball’s club owners
voted to approve the transferral of the
New York Mets to the hedge fund billionaire,
a source told amNewYork Metro.
Th e 64-year-old Long Island native
needed 22 of the remaining 29 club owner
votes to get the fi nal OK from MLB. It
is unclear at this time how many votes
“On behalf of Major League Baseball,
I congratulate Mr. Cohen on receiving
approval from the Major League Clubs,”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said.
“Steve will bring his lifelong passion for
the Mets to the stewardship of his hometown
team, and he will be joined by highly
respected baseball leadership as well. I
believe that Steve will work hard to deliver
a team in which Mets fan can take pride.”
Just moments later, New York City
Mayor Bill de Blasio confi rmed that he
will not block Cohen’s takeover, thus eliminating
the fi nal hurdle blocking the billionaire
from the Mets.
“Th e New York City Law Department
has completed its legal review of the proposed
sale of theMets,” de Blasio wrote.
“New York City has no objections and
the Mets can now proceed with the transaction.”
Th e mayor’s law department reviewed
Cohen’s credentials to take over the land
at Citi Field under the 2006 Stadium Lease
Agreement between the New York City
Industrial Development Agency and
Queens Ballpark Company.
Th at agreement lists a clause that
would allow the mayor to block the
transferral of city land to a person
who has been convicted of a felony.
Cohen, however, has not been
charged with a crime despite his former
hedge fund, S.A.C. Capital, having
to pay $1.8 billion in fi nes for
wire and securities fraud.
Within MLB’s ownership
ranks, it was a wellknown
fact that Chicago
White Sox owner
Jerry Reinsdorf was
opposed to Cohen
taking over the
Mets. He was the lone “no” vote in the
initial eight-man MLB ownership committee
vote last week and was expected to
sway a few votes his way Friday.
Regardless, Cohen’s confirmation
from all of the powers that be will make
him the richest owner in Major League
Baseball with a net worth of approximately
While initial expectations
tabbed him to
spend that fortune
wildly to thrust the
Mets into contention,
amNewYo r k
Metro and others
that will be far
from the case.
brought in former Mets GM and longtime
executive Sandy Alderson as the
team’s president of baseball operations.
Among the fi rst orders of business —
which will include responsible spendingvia
free agency and the trade market
— is creating a well-rounded franchise
bybeefi ng up the analytics departmentand
laying down roots foraffl uent
Cohen also announced in a statement
that “all Mets employees. All Mets
employees, including unionized groundskeepers,
security guards, and engineers,
will receive reinstituted pre-pandemic
salaries as of Nov. 1, reversing the 5 to 30
percent salary cut implemented in March.
Th e value of this commitment is over $7
“We plan to dramatically increase the
giving of the Mets Foundation in the
coming years, with priority given to nonprofi
ts and causes in communities surrounding
Citi Field,” Cohen continued.
“We will donate $17.5M
to programs developed by the
city to make grants to local area
small businesses to assist them
in these uniquely troubling times.
Th is tax-deductible donation would be
received and held by the NYC Economic
New York City small business owners
will be able to sell their wares outdoors
as part of the city’s new Open Storefronts
Program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced
Th e initiative is modeled aft er the city’s
Open Restaurants program and will allow
shop owners to set up space to sell merchandise
on sidewalks directly in front of
their business. Businesses already enrolled
in the city’s Open Restaurants program
can use the curb lane in front of their
stores and neighboring stores can fi le a
joint Open Streets application in order to
claim more potential outdoor retail space,
offi cials said.
Store owners will be allowed to set up
outdoor retail space fi ve feet out and fi ve
feet high directly in front of their buildings.
Th ey must allow an eight-foot clear
path for pedestrians at all times, offi cials
said. Offi cials do not expect the initiative
to impact roadways since the only businesses
that are already off ering outdoor
dining or are enrolled in Open Streets
would will have street space closed to
Th e new eff ort is expected to help the
city’s roughly 40,000 local businesses hurt
by the coronavirus pandemic regain lost
profi ts and staff by boosting sales. Store
owners interested in taking advantage of
the program can fi ll out an application at
nyc.gov/openstorefronts. Small business
owners will be able to sell their merchandise
outdoors from Oct. 30 until Dec. 31.
Mayor de Blasio said that the city chose
to roll out the new initiative now to allow
businesses to capitalize off the Christmas
season. “Everyone knows that this is such
a crucial time of year for small businesses,”
said de Blasio.” And we want them to
be able to maximize it.”
Small Business Services Commissioner
Janell Doris said that the initiative will
help store owners engage with customers
and lock in sales while also allowing
them to free up space inside of stores to
prevent crowding. Small business owners
with questions on the program or help in
implementing it can reach the department
by calling 888-SBS-4NYC or by emailing
File photo by Todd Maisel
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