By Jennifer Glickel
MIDTOWN — Fifth Avenue stores including Zara, Fossil and Gant were heckled by protesters Friday for violating a city law that mandates retailers keep their doors shut while blasting air-conditioners.
“Open doors are so illegal, making oil-covered seagulls!” the group of activists and elected officials chanted in front of the stores.
While some stores, like Fossil, closed their doors to appease the protesters, others, like Gant, refused and would not comment on their apparent violation of the law.
Upper West Side City Councilwoman Gail Brewer helped organize and spoke before the march up Fifth Avenue, saying that while many stores have complied with the law prohibiting commercial buildings from keeping their doors open when running the air conditioning, others continue to refuse.
“Stores are convinced that if you keep the doors open and the air conditioning on, more customers will come in,” Brewer said. “Personally, I’m not convinced that keep the door open draws in more customers, but the point is that it’s illegal.”
The law, which was passed almost two years ago, states that stores larger than 4,000 square feet or chains with five or more locations in New York City have to keep their doors shut in the summer months to conserve energy.
“We’re here to educate the employees of these stores and try to appeal to their consciousness,” said Dana Balicki, a campaign manager for Code Pink, the women's activist group that led the charge against the energy-wasting retailers.
“It’s Fifth Avenue, so I’m not sure how earth conscious these stores are, but we’ll keep trying anyway.”