MANHATTAN — Miki Agrawal and her twin sister, Radha, opened the all-natural, organic pizza café Slice, the Perfect Food on the Upper East Side six years ago.
The eatery, on Second Avenue near East 74th Street, was known for such healthy-sounding treats as honey whole wheat crusted pies topped with organic arugula and goat cheese, or part-skim organic mozzarella and free-range crumbled chicken sausage.
But, like dozens of other stores in the area, Slice has fallen prey to Second Avenue subway construction.
“After six years, we are moving locations from the Upper East Side to Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” said a voice recording at the shop. The move was first reported by Grub Street.
"We have faced a lot of adversity with the Second Avenue subway construction,” the message continued. “We received no help from our landlord or the city, so we are forced to move from the neighborhood.”
Miki Agrawal had long complained about how the construction zone was negatively affecting her business.
When she joined other Second Avenue merchants in November to give a tour of the street’s conditions to state Senator Bill Perkins, she told DNAinfo that she had been getting frequent tickets for deliveries since the loading area across the street had been fenced off and trucks were forced into a no-standing zone.
She and the other store owners had hoped they would somehow get help from the state or city in the form of a sales-tax free zone, real estate abatements or other financial assistance — but they saw no such relief.
As of February, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce said that 30 businesses had been wiped out along the path of the Second Avenue subway construction.
"It's a major economic development opportunity for the city and region with the intention of being good for small business," Perkins told Agrawal and the other shopkeepers back in November. "But at the rate this is going, the benefits expected aren't going to be realized for some of these businesses."
Slice has another location in the West Village, and Agrawal told Grub Street that she’s looking at a space along the Williamsburg waterfront at North Fourth Street, but hadn’t yet signed a lease.