The success of businesses in attraction areas, such as Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Queens, and Astoria, Queens, have been negatively affected by minimal and difficult parking issues.
“It is always difficult to find parking in Astoria. I try to go to work as early as possible to find a parking spot, before they are all taken,” said Steven Panagioulakis. Panagioulakis owns an All State Insurance office on 3516 Ditmars Blvd in Astoria. These consumer attraction areas are known for difficult parking. A majority of the parking spots are taken by employers and employees. “Once I get to my office, I don’t use my car, even for lunch, until I close. I’ll probably spend a half hour looking for parking again,” said Panagioulakis. This makes it difficult for consumers to find a spot nearby the store or restaurant they would like to visit. This issue does not act as an inconvenience to consumers, but it negatively affects the success of business in many areas.
The Urban Burger diner, located on 40th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, was seriously affected by parking issues. “The location of the store is perfect because it is on the busier and more popular section of Bell Boulevard, but the only option for parking is on the streets,” said Theodore Perdik. Perdik works at a grocery store on Bell Boulevard that is lucky enough to have a parking lot. He said that Urban Burger has good food, but it just was not worth spending over a half hour looking for parking.
After only being in business for a little over a year, Urban Burger closed because it was unable to pay the rent on the property. “I really think people got turned away from going there because it seemed impossible to find parking around the area,” said Perdik. The closing of this store was a result of these minimal and difficult parking conditions
The Van Dam Diner, located on 45-55 Van Dam Street in Long Island City, New York, has been affected by minimal parking in the area. The diner does not have a parking lot either, which makes the issue worst. Owner Tsambikos Malonoukos has had the Van Dam Diner for 25 years, and said that the parking in the area is a growing problem. “We have no parking lot and the parking by the diner is highly restricted and always full,” said Pavlos Malonoukos, the manager at the Van Dam Diner.
This area is industrial and has many office buildings, which is why a majority of the parking is restricted for those employees, said Pavlos. He said that most of their business comes from people who are working in the area, which gives them some business for breakfast and lunch hours.
When it comes down to people who want to eat at the diner, but are not in walking distance, there is an issue. “If you want to come for breakfast and lunch at the diner, it is very hard to find parking and this turns some people away,” said Pavlos. Van Dam Diner has been doing well lately, but Pavlos feels that if they did have a parking lot, they would be able to cater to residential customers too.
Besides all the talk about parking being an issue in the Queens area, it also stands as a problem in the Long Island area. The Carle Place Diner, located on 151 Old Country Road in Nassau County, was bought by owner George Angelakis and his partner. The two partners were lucky to have a property large enough to park 50 cars. “The reason we felt this property was golden was because of its location. We are located in a very commercial area,” said Angelakis.
Right across the street from the diner is the Roosevelt Field Mall and the diner can attract many shoppers from there. “If you were to open up a restaurant in a residential area here in Nassau County; yes, it would give consumers a greater amount of parking, but it definitely would not be as much as an attraction compared to a store located in a commercial area, like us,” said Angelakis.
Other stores and restaurants such as Thomas’ Diner do not have the luxury of a large parking lot to compliment more customers. On Old Country Road, parking is not permitted on the side of the street, making it crucial for businesses to have large parking lots in regards to the amounts of seating they have.
“I love the food at Thomas Diner, but it’s frustrating waiting for a parking spot to open up in the lot. And it’s not like there is an option of side street parking,” said customer, Michael Mueller. Mueller is a customer of the Carle Place Diner and feels that parking has destroyed many businesses. The reason is similar to why he is no longer a customer of Thomas Diner.
Unfortunately, businesses are affected by these difficult and minimal parking conditions. “Many restaurants and stores have great food and are properly operated, but because of their location they struggle to survive and build up a consistent customer base,” said Angelakis.