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New York, NY - Kosher Cafe Owner Sacks 21 Employees As Consequence Of Occupy Wall Street Demonstration

Published on: November 1, 2011 06:12 PM
By:  WCBS TV
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New York, NY - The Occupy Wall Street movement, which says its goals include improving the economic lot for 99 percent of Americans, may have some explaining to do to some cafe workers now out of a job.

Mark Epstein, owner of the Milk Street Cafe at 40 Wall Street, just let 21 employees go.

The reason? The barricades police have set up throughout Wall Street as a consequence of the ongoing demonstration.

In June, he opened the New York branch of the Boston shop, which has a 30 year history. Epstein says he leased the space on Wall Street because it was next to a pedestrian plaza – and his was the only restaurant along that plaza.

“The opening was perfect,” Epstein told CBSNewYork.com. “The food was delicious, the customers were happy, and the line was out the door.”

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Customers kept coming back, Epstein said.

“Everything was going in the right direction. Sales continued to grow. We started to build our catering business. Costs were going down. I felt that by October or November we would break even.”

Then the Occupy Wall Street movement launched.

“I came one Monday morning and I found the exit by the 2 or 3 subway station closed. I saw all these barriers – barricades – all up and down my street,” Epstein said. “At first I thought nothing of it, but after a week… it’s been six or seven weeks now.”

Six or seven weeks of marches and occasional clashes between police and protesters. So the barricades have remained in place.

“The end result of it is that it completely destroyed the pedestrian traffic on Wall Street. Completely destroyed it,” Epstein said. “It is a desolate, police-controlled area.”

The cafe has a capacity of 150 seats. At the height of lunch hour Tuesday, Epstein estimated the shop was half full. With those sorts of numbers, he’s had to let people go.

“We eliminated 21 positions in the company,” Epstein said. “First time in 30 years I’ve laid anybody off.”

They’ve also cut back their hours at the New York location, closing now at 3 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

However, Epstein doesn’t lay all the blame at the feet of Occupy Wall Street.

“I think this is an issue of both Occupy Wall Street and the city officials. There’s protest and how you react to protest,” Epstein said. “If the barriers do not come down, I do not see how we can survive. This has got to become like America again. You have to be free to walk around.”

“Everybody should understand the consequences of their actions,” he said.

Epstein says he’s brought his plight to the attention of city officials and police and has been met with empathy. But the barriers are still in place.

“Everybody’s empathetic and they’ll have lots to say at my eulogy,” he said. “I don’t want to be eulogized. I want the barriers down.”


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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 01, 2011 at 06:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Do you know the difference between socialism and liberalism?
It is the same as the difference between garbage that smells good and dinner that is fresh.

2

 Nov 01, 2011 at 06:34 PM Anonymous Says:

blame the rich again

3

 Nov 01, 2011 at 06:40 PM shvitzer11559 Says:

Occupy Wall Street does not care about Jobs, they do not care about equality, all they want to do is create anarcy because they are lazy and want to blame everybody but themselves for thier bottom of the food chain status, in the words of the monster anarcist Timothy McVeigh Y'S "its collateral damage" and thats the way all of these pathetic potted plants in Zuccoi Sq look at it. 21 people laid off a legit business owner suffering "its collateral damage"

4

 Nov 01, 2011 at 06:45 PM shredready Says:

I are at the one in Boston it was excellent

cannot really blame the protesters he is right

5

 Nov 01, 2011 at 06:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Wow. These people are the lowest scum on the earth in general. Get them outta here. There's a limit to how many lives you can disrupt with tour nonsense. It's high time.

6

 Nov 01, 2011 at 06:50 PM reb yona Says:

"Better a bad press the n a good eulogy"

7

 Nov 01, 2011 at 07:16 PM AuthenticSatmar Says:

Just looking for someone to blame for a bad business decision. Business was never good.

8

 Nov 01, 2011 at 07:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Thanks to Jewish filled groups like the geriatric left wing Raging Grannies, hard working people are LOSING their jobs.

9

 Nov 01, 2011 at 08:12 PM Scoop Says:

Reply to #7  
AuthenticSatmar Says:

Just looking for someone to blame for a bad business decision. Business was never good.

What are you talking about? I bet you were never there.The place was always packed. People raved about the food.

10

 Nov 01, 2011 at 08:20 PM frequent eater Says:

Reply to #7  
AuthenticSatmar Says:

Just looking for someone to blame for a bad business decision. Business was never good.

What are you talking about? The place is great. These laydigayers in zoological park need to get a life!

11

 Nov 01, 2011 at 08:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
AuthenticSatmar Says:

Just looking for someone to blame for a bad business decision. Business was never good.

Clearly your view about Milk Street Cafe which you could not get a seat during lunch time MIRRORS your view of Israel.

12

 Nov 01, 2011 at 09:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
shvitzer11559 Says:

Occupy Wall Street does not care about Jobs, they do not care about equality, all they want to do is create anarcy because they are lazy and want to blame everybody but themselves for thier bottom of the food chain status, in the words of the monster anarcist Timothy McVeigh Y'S "its collateral damage" and thats the way all of these pathetic potted plants in Zuccoi Sq look at it. 21 people laid off a legit business owner suffering "its collateral damage"

The business is suffering because of the barricades, which the protestors did NOT put in place. The real people who do not care about equality or jobs? Wall Street executives and the Koch brothers.

13

 Nov 01, 2011 at 09:15 PM greatsouthbay Says:

I haven't made it to the Milk Street Cafe downtown yet, but I greatly enjoyed the food in Boston. Mark Epstein is indeed a mensch.

#3: I fully agree.

#4: There is no way to hold individuals in that mob responsible, but the mob as a whole has caused massive damage to the city, from disrupting people's workday (personal experience -- the noise reaches upstairs) to interfering with the traffic flow. And the extra police support costs money. Who's paying?

I understand there's a covenant on the park requiring it to be open 24/7, but there is surely some way to prevent the live-in situation that currently exists. Giuliani would have had them out by now. Bloomberg should chat him for advice.

16

 Nov 01, 2011 at 09:52 PM BoruchN Says:

Sorry situation...sad...I hope things, BE"H, improve a lot.

17

 Nov 01, 2011 at 11:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

The business is suffering because of the barricades, which the protestors did NOT put in place. The real people who do not care about equality or jobs? Wall Street executives and the Koch brothers.

'equality and jobs'. What? What equality do u refer to? And yes the barricades have to be there for safety reasons. These protesters are miserable people who want the people who work there --- off to fund there life. Oh ye and they went 'equality' everyone equally poor and miserable. Get a life.

18

 Nov 02, 2011 at 12:07 AM PMOinFL Says:

The occupy Wall Street folks have the support of every genuine Conservative (not Republican, or the new 'Fox News'/talk radio style phony conservative) and Libertarian in America.

Facts are facts. When Wall Street collapsed, the middle class investors lost nearly EVERYTHING, while bank and fund managers that we trusted with our money didn't lose one stinking red cent. When they fail, they still win and we lose. If you can't see that, you're too dumb to be in the conversation. When they lost all of our money, they went to the White House and demanded TARP, which was passed in near record time! The game is fixed.

This is not a war on the rich. I'm pretty well to do myself. Everyone wants to be rich and should be able to achieve wealth through intelligence, hard work and imagination. MOST people, including Buckley Conservatives like myself can agree on that. However, when the decision makers (banks, fund managers, traders) assume NONE of the risk, but pass it on to the rest of us through paid-for laws, that is NOT Capitalism. When the government provides a 100% safety net for the banks and NOTHING for you, that is practically COMMUNISM.

Free market? Not here!

19

 Nov 02, 2011 at 12:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
greatsouthbay Says:

I haven't made it to the Milk Street Cafe downtown yet, but I greatly enjoyed the food in Boston. Mark Epstein is indeed a mensch.

#3: I fully agree.

#4: There is no way to hold individuals in that mob responsible, but the mob as a whole has caused massive damage to the city, from disrupting people's workday (personal experience -- the noise reaches upstairs) to interfering with the traffic flow. And the extra police support costs money. Who's paying?

I understand there's a covenant on the park requiring it to be open 24/7, but there is surely some way to prevent the live-in situation that currently exists. Giuliani would have had them out by now. Bloomberg should chat him for advice.

also, the crime rate around the city, especially murder has gone up drastically because they require so many police by the protest

20

 Nov 02, 2011 at 07:59 AM ShalomCon Says:

Reply to #18  
PMOinFL Says:

The occupy Wall Street folks have the support of every genuine Conservative (not Republican, or the new 'Fox News'/talk radio style phony conservative) and Libertarian in America.

Facts are facts. When Wall Street collapsed, the middle class investors lost nearly EVERYTHING, while bank and fund managers that we trusted with our money didn't lose one stinking red cent. When they fail, they still win and we lose. If you can't see that, you're too dumb to be in the conversation. When they lost all of our money, they went to the White House and demanded TARP, which was passed in near record time! The game is fixed.

This is not a war on the rich. I'm pretty well to do myself. Everyone wants to be rich and should be able to achieve wealth through intelligence, hard work and imagination. MOST people, including Buckley Conservatives like myself can agree on that. However, when the decision makers (banks, fund managers, traders) assume NONE of the risk, but pass it on to the rest of us through paid-for laws, that is NOT Capitalism. When the government provides a 100% safety net for the banks and NOTHING for you, that is practically COMMUNISM.

Free market? Not here!

Well said.
Occupy Wall Street-ers did not erect the barricades and there's been documentation that restaurants such as Burger King have gone so far as to deny protesters service. This is the USA where people are supposed to enjoy freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble. I guess basic rights don't apply on Wall Street where government bailout funds were used to pay bonuses to executives who routinely made decisions that led to the economic collapse.

When looking at the list of banks, insurance companies and investment firms who have still NOT paid the government back, it's easy to understand why Occupy Wall Street has gained momentum in cities across the country.

21

 Nov 02, 2011 at 09:45 AM enough is enough Says:

Guys, wake up and smell the coffee

All those bail outs were done by Congress and not Wall St. Just wait and you will see that these protests are part of the Dems trying to get Obama to win next year.

I work next to Zucatti park and the noise level and the intimidation by these low life's are unbelievable. Imagine I stand next to your house or work place and drum and make noise all day and night, is this called freedom of speech? Democrats and the people around here that were supporting them have now turned their backs on these protesters and we are demanding from the City to start enforcing the law.

Does anyone know what they are protesting about? I hear and read their slogans, we want you to pay for our expenses. Remember Obama words "distribution of wealth". Remember that interview why this lady is voting for Obama (2008) he will pay for my bills, mortgage, and food. Are we in Russia, China, Cuba?

This is how the Nazis came to power.

22

 Nov 02, 2011 at 05:48 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #21  
enough is enough Says:

Guys, wake up and smell the coffee

All those bail outs were done by Congress and not Wall St. Just wait and you will see that these protests are part of the Dems trying to get Obama to win next year.

I work next to Zucatti park and the noise level and the intimidation by these low life's are unbelievable. Imagine I stand next to your house or work place and drum and make noise all day and night, is this called freedom of speech? Democrats and the people around here that were supporting them have now turned their backs on these protesters and we are demanding from the City to start enforcing the law.

Does anyone know what they are protesting about? I hear and read their slogans, we want you to pay for our expenses. Remember Obama words "distribution of wealth". Remember that interview why this lady is voting for Obama (2008) he will pay for my bills, mortgage, and food. Are we in Russia, China, Cuba?

This is how the Nazis came to power.

Wow... what an unbelievable re-write of history. What a shame to see yet another yid taken in by the propaganda spewed out on the TV and radio. How sad. Your tirade was nearly word for word what I hear from the propagandists in the entertainment media like Fox News, Beck, etc.

You should go get yourself some facts and realize that the people at these firms have screwed you, me and everyone else and they did it through legislation they PURCHASED through campaign contributions. If the Capital ran out of toilet paper, our Congress would spend months debating the brand they should buy. Yet, when banks come with their hand out, Congress and President Bush were all too happy to given them ANYTHING they asked for in record time.

You are a sad victim of a propaganda machine designed to keep you down.

23

 Nov 02, 2011 at 07:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

'equality and jobs'. What? What equality do u refer to? And yes the barricades have to be there for safety reasons. These protesters are miserable people who want the people who work there --- off to fund there life. Oh ye and they went 'equality' everyone equally poor and miserable. Get a life.

Your spelling and grammar is that of a functional illiterate. I doubt if you have a job.

24

 Nov 02, 2011 at 07:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
PMOinFL Says:

The occupy Wall Street folks have the support of every genuine Conservative (not Republican, or the new 'Fox News'/talk radio style phony conservative) and Libertarian in America.

Facts are facts. When Wall Street collapsed, the middle class investors lost nearly EVERYTHING, while bank and fund managers that we trusted with our money didn't lose one stinking red cent. When they fail, they still win and we lose. If you can't see that, you're too dumb to be in the conversation. When they lost all of our money, they went to the White House and demanded TARP, which was passed in near record time! The game is fixed.

This is not a war on the rich. I'm pretty well to do myself. Everyone wants to be rich and should be able to achieve wealth through intelligence, hard work and imagination. MOST people, including Buckley Conservatives like myself can agree on that. However, when the decision makers (banks, fund managers, traders) assume NONE of the risk, but pass it on to the rest of us through paid-for laws, that is NOT Capitalism. When the government provides a 100% safety net for the banks and NOTHING for you, that is practically COMMUNISM.

Free market? Not here!

Great comment, as usual. What Wall Street executives and the Koch brothers have done is privatize profit and socialize debt.

25

 Nov 02, 2011 at 07:57 PM ELM Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

The business is suffering because of the barricades, which the protestors did NOT put in place. The real people who do not care about equality or jobs? Wall Street executives and the Koch brothers.

The barricades were put up due to the protesters! Total ignorance if you place full blame on Wall street before laying the blame on the Government.

26

 Nov 02, 2011 at 08:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
ShalomCon Says:

Well said.
Occupy Wall Street-ers did not erect the barricades and there's been documentation that restaurants such as Burger King have gone so far as to deny protesters service. This is the USA where people are supposed to enjoy freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble. I guess basic rights don't apply on Wall Street where government bailout funds were used to pay bonuses to executives who routinely made decisions that led to the economic collapse.

When looking at the list of banks, insurance companies and investment firms who have still NOT paid the government back, it's easy to understand why Occupy Wall Street has gained momentum in cities across the country.

"This is the USA where people are supposed to enjoy freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble"...you must be forgetting about the rapes,drug dealing,urinating on cop cars,anti-semitism,fighting,disturbing the peace etc....

27

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