NEW YORK CITY — The man who spent the last eight years chronicling the closings of beloved city institutions now wants your help to save them.
The goal is to amass an array of evidence from across the city to convince politicians to pass legislation that would protect mom-and-pop shops.
#SaveNYC is a social media hashtag and a website where viewers can upload videos, photos and stories about businesses in their neighborhood that are at risk of shutting down or are already slated for closure.
Moss is hopeful that the crowdsourcing project and years of blog entries will serve as proof that small businesses are in grave danger and that people care about their disappearance, he said.
“Weren’t imagining it, we weren't exaggerating it. This is what happens day after day,” he said. “It’s like a witness in a way.”
The #SaveNYC campaign suggests passing legislation that would give rent protections to small businesses that neighbors vote are essential to the community and also measures that would make it tougher for chain stores to infiltrate the city. It pulls from movements to protect small businesses happening in San Francisco and London.
Moss, who's originally from New England and is in his 40s, has lived to the East Village for the past 20 years, he said.
“Like many people who come to New York, I came from a place that was conventional in a lot of ways,” he said. “I was not conventional and I wanted to live somewhere I could feel at home.”
Now he fears that new arrivals to the city have more generic tastes and feel at home and in the “bosom of the suburbs” at chain stores and restaurants like Olive Garden and IHOP.
“I can’t do anything to chase people out of the city, but maybe I can do something that protects what exists,” he said.