In recent months, an unmarked truck has set up an impromptu distribution center on Second Avenue at Seventh Street — in front of where the three buidlings were destroyed following the deadly gas explosion in March 2015.
“They are blocking me, every day — even on the weekends,” Mariann Pizzaia, owner of the 1950s-inspired boutique Enz’s at 125 Second Ave., told me. “Sometimes people can’t walk on Second Avenue. There are at least six to eight workers banging boxes.”
The workers will sort packages in the street or on the sidewalk, loading them on small hand trucks for delivery to neighboring residences.
Aside from being an ongoing annoyance, Pizzaia says that the truck obscures her storefront for periods of up to four-plus hours daily, and she is missing out on potential foot traffic from people waking on the other side of Second Avenue or dining outside at Bar Virage or Cafe Mocha.
There are signs posted stating that this is a No Standing zone 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily in this far Bus Only lane. However, Pizzaia says that the truck parks here during these hours.
Cornucopia’s corporate parent, Avant Business Services, has a dispatching office in One Grand Central Plaza’s basement. Ken Daniels, an Avant financial executive, refused … to discuss the nature of his company’s contract with Amazon or to explain why it allows workers to use city streets as an ad hoc warehouse and distribution hub.
The Villager spoke with Julie Jang, the manager of Jay Nails at 780 Broadway.
“Basically, they park all day,” Jang said, claiming the trucks overstay a three-hour metered parking limit on commercial vehicles imposed by the city’s Department of Transportation. “They load up all the boxes on the street where cars park. They have a canopy when it rains.”
Jang said Cornucopia’s street operation has caused business to drop at the nail salon because “they’re right in front of our store and people passing can’t see our awning…”
Pizzaia just reached out to elected local officials, and hopes to get some help with the impromptu unloading zone that she says is hurting her business.
“Honestly I really don’t want to fight these people every day,” Pizzaia said. “I don’t want to close my shop, but this is not fun.”
All photos courtesy of Mariann Pizzaia