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J&R Drops Bid to Rename Park Row After Itself

By Julie Shapiro | July 20, 2011 11:24am

LOWER MANHATTAN — Downtown electronics giant J&R has withdrawn its unpopular bid to name a block of Park Row after itself.

Co-founder Rachelle Friedman announced the company's decision in a letter to Community Board 1 this week.

"We greatly appreciate the feedback we have received from the dedicated members of Community Board 1 on this and other issues," Friedman said in the letter.

"At this time, we have decided to respectfully withdraw our street co-naming application."

Friedman did not give a reason for the decision, and a J&R spokesman declined to comment, but the street naming faced an uphill battle at CB1, which has never named a street after a private business.

J&R had hoped to rename Park Row "J&R Row" in honor of the company's 40th anniversary this year.

Last month, J&R spokesman Abe Brown told CB1 that the retailer was struggling in the economic downturn and might not survive without the street renaming — a claim that some board members found hard to believe.

"That was insulting, to be honest with you," said John Fratta, chairman of CB1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee.

Fratta said he thought it was a good idea for J&R to withdraw the application, because it was clear that most CB1 members opposed it, but he personally would have voted in favor of it because of J&R's dedication to lower Manhattan following 9/11.

"I don't see the harm in doing it," Fratta said of the renaming. "They're a major business in our community."