The petition comments have been full of intelligence and succinct eloquence. Of the many brilliant, here are a couple that stood out for me:
From Mark Lepage
Aside from the killing of local businesses and character, and the other pernicious effects of corporate chains, it must be recognized that there is nothing naturally "free market" about this incursion. It is meant to redesign NYC as a massively low-wage, high-rent zone. Locals have every right to resist a backroom-mandated corporate disfiguration of the neighborhoods in which they live and raise their children.
And an exerpt from Adam Weiner:
...While evolutionary change is inevitable and healthy, mass chain invasions as explictly planned (and already executed) by the likes of Subway, 7-11, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts have the effect of diminishing the difference between living in New York City and living (much more cheaply!) in the 'burbs....If you want to drive me and many others out of Manhattan or out of New York City entirely, keep on letting the chains have their way with the city.
If only chain stores would drive people away from New York. Rents would decline, the tax base as well, undermining municipal services like transportation and policing, yet more of the entitled who expect services would leave, and soon we'd be back in the '70's when New York had a wild spirit and its people were here, not to file blithely into stores, be served hand and foot and spend money, but to join in the anarchic edginess of it all. If it didn't include the drug addictions and drug trade, it would be perfect.
But chain stores will not drive the new New Yorker away. They have so much disposable income that lower costs in the suburbs do not register on them at all. They come to the city primarily to party, to socialize with each other in bars, to get laid. In ten years New York bar conversations will begin not with the excessive rents (as today) or crime (as in the '70's and '80's) but complaints about the latest chain store incursion as the downside and cost of living in New York. But it will be a complaint in name only. Underneath it'll be just a pick up line.