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Pratt Students a Boon to Business in Clinton Hill as School Starts

By Janet Upadhye | August 29, 2012 8:23am

CLINTON HILL— Fresh from summer vacation, Pratt Institute students have descended upon Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, giving a boost to local businesses.

In particular, storefronts outside of the art school on Myrtle Avenue benefit from the start of the fall semester and the influx of students it brings. Last year, Pratt Institute constructed their newest building, Myrtle Hall, directly on Myrtle Avenue.

There was hope that the hall would “promote the revitalization of Myrtle Avenue,” according to Pratt’s communications office. And with Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte also serving as the chair of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership for the last decade, the school is committed to the economic growth of the neighborhood.

Some businesses on Myrtle Avenue agree that the students have helped their bottom line.

Byme Brooklyn, a hip clothing store across the street from campus, has seen a dramatic upswing of sales since the students arrived last week for orientation.

“At first they came in with their parents and bought new clothes for school,” said Selim Yang, who works at the store. “Now that orientation is over, they are back and shopping with their friends.”

She added that business always does well when the new school year starts.

Similarly, Bergen Bagels, recently relocated from the corner on Myrtle Avenue and Hall Street down the block and closer to Pratt, was packed with new students. The lines were nearly to the door on Tuesday morning with stylish art students ordering bagels and coffee.

Utrecht Art Supplies store next door had a line at least 20 people deep, and each aisle was packed with eager shoppers. Students by the dozens left the store carrying bags filled with art supplies, ready to start the school year.

"There is an endless stream of students in the store," said manager Christopher McGee. "The start of the school year is a fun and vibrant time for this business."

On Monday morning Pratt Institute opened its doors tomore than 4,700 students. In a neighborhood that has fewer than 30,000 residents, according to City-data.com, the students make a big difference.

Pratt Institute is just one of 11 colleges and universities — including Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Brooklyn Law School, New York City College of Technology, and Long Island University — in the Downtown Brooklyn area. And with a total of 57,000 incoming students starting school this week, most residents will feel the presence of college students.

And Pratt’s student body only grows larger each year as interest increases in the well-known art school.

“Every year we get more and more applicants,” said Leshia Hartwell who works in the Pratt admissions office. “The first week of school is always very hectic.”