Why New York is the best U.S. city for small business

New York has long been viewed as the premier destination in the "Land of Opportunity" and has long been a place that attracts and fosters entrepreneurship. While technology and lower costs of living make other parts of the country attractive places for small business owners, the Big Apple has regained its mojo, according to a new study of nearly 30,000 companies throughout the country conducted by Biz2Credit. The numbers speak for themselves. Companies in the New York metropolitan area had the highest average revenue ($979,674) in the country, were the longest established (76 months), and business owners had the highest personal credit scores (646). The city's growth has been fueled by the booming real estate market and construction industry, banking industry and growing technology sector. The rankings were made via Biz2Credit's proprietary BizAnalyzer score, which takes into account local economic factors, including the cost of doing business, tax rates, and the local labor market. New York's diversity is a positive factor for small business growth. Of the approximately 8.5 million people living in the city, more than one-third are foreign-born, the highest rate in more than a century, according to data from the New York City Department of City Planning. Immigrants bring a "can do" attitude and incredibly strong work ethic to this country. For the overwhelming majority of them, failure is not an option. Immigrants make the difficult decision to leave their native lands frequently because of economic factors. In many cases, there is little reason to return, especially if they have brought family members with them to America's shores. "The density and diversity of New York is unparalleled," said Steven Cohen, president of Excelsior Growth Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides loans and advisory services to New York small businesses. "There are large numbers of women, Continue Reading

Noah Syndergaard: New York is a Mets town now

The boys in Queens are now the kings of New York, says Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. The pitcher provided some star power Wednesday to the Quinnipiac University poll released last week that revealed New York City baseball fans’ preference for the Mets (45%) over the Yankees (43%). Syndergaard was asked about his interactions with Yankees fans, but apparently that’s a rare enough occurrence for the righty flamethrower to give the Mets a bigger bite of the Big Apple. “I don’t think I’ve really run into a Yankees fan,” said Syndergaard, who opened the Mets season with six shutout innings in Monday's 6-0 win. “They might mention to me that they’re a Yankees fan and (say), ‘I think you’re a great pitcher,’ stuff like that, but now New York ... it’s a Mets city.” Why? “I just think we got a lot of exciting players, guys like Cespedes, who’s incredible to watch, the starting-five core that we have in our rotation, full of a lot of youth,” Syndergaard said. “We’re backed by a lot of great team leadership, a lot of veterans on the team like Curtis Granderson. I couldn’t be more thankful to have that guy on our side. Guys like David (Wright) — even though he’s hurt right now I hope he gets on the field as fast as possible and has a speedy recovery. But just having his presence in the clubhouse is unbelievable.” Syndergaard’s is a winning argument when it comes to recent success on the diamond. The Yankees, who failed to make the playoffs following an 84-78 regular season last year, fell to the Astros in the 2015 AL wild-card game in their first postseason appearance since 2012. The Mets, on the other hand, enjoyed a run to the World Series in 2015, but ultimately lost to the Royals in five games. The club followed it up with an 87-75 regular season and a wild-card loss to Continue Reading

Diner en Blanc: New York’s biggest secret party requires lots of planning, a dash of spontaneity

In the age of social media, keeping a secret is as hard as avoiding a red wine stain during a dinner party. But year after year, pop-up picnic Diner en Blanc manages to keep the location of its all-white attire affair under wraps. And the mystery behind Monday’s spot — Manhattan’s Nelson Rockefeller Park — was no different. “It’s pretty attractive, isn’t it?” said Jay Hartley as he waited in line to attend Diner en Blanc for the first time. “It's fun that you don’t know where you’re going and that you’re all going together as a group.” The fête’s tradition of intrigue began in 1988, when Francois Pasquier planned a small get-together for friends in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne. He asked pals to wear white so they could find each other. Pasquier’s son, Aymeric, has since grown his dad’s secret soiree into an international sensation. More than 20,000 people vied for about 4,500 invitations to the fourth New York installation of the event. “A lot of people like the secrecy,” said Aymeric Pasquier, who founded Diner en Blanc International alongside Sandy Safi. “The surprise is less charming if you already know where it’s going to take place.” When it comes to planning the massive event, New York hasn’t been as “laissez-faire” as Paris. “In France, they still don’t ask for a permit from the city. It’s crazy,” said event organizer Gilles Amsallem. “You imagine doing something like this in the U.S., we would all go to jail." Pasquier, Amsallem and Safi locked down the Battery Park City venue in early August. In the weeks leading up to the event, they worked feverishly to secure the necessary permits and licenses for the spot — while divulging as little as possible. The knowing few included select members of their team, the Continue Reading

Why New York City will love bike share

Monday ushered in a new era for people navigating the exciting, crowded, sometimes maddening landscape of New York City. Bicycling, the most efficient form of urban transportation ever designed, is now available when people need it — and on the most dramatic scale yet attempted in the United States. As the founder and chair of the bipartisan Congressional Bike Caucus in the House of Representatives, I could not be more excited for you. For annual pass holders, Citi Bike operates 300 stations and 6,000 bikes throughout areas of greatest traffic concentration, vaulting New York to the forefront of the country’s budding cyclist movement. In a city where transportation can be maddeningly slow, even compared to horse and buggies a century and a half ago, bike sharing adds a fascinating new dimension and possible revolution for New York’s traffic woes. Shared bikes will be able to pass taxis stuck in traffic while avoiding the crowds and transfers of a subway system. In many instances, bike transportation will prove faster than subway trips, and certainly more so than the rush hour crawl on the streets with passenger cars and taxis. With its convenience and affordability, both visitors and residents will find that Citi Bike pays for itself much faster than other alternatives like taxis, subway tolls and parking. The success of bikeshare has a strong precedence. Paris’ Velib system, which combines the French words for “bicycle” and “freedom,” is more than three times the size of CitiBike and operates 20,000 bikes at 1,800 stations. It’s just a matter of time before the Big Apple gets there. Closer to home, I’ve watched Capital Bikeshare, Washington’s bike share program, begin to redefine the city. From its onset in 2011 with 49 stations and 400 bikes, the system has exploded in less than three years of operation — celebrating its four-millionth rider this spring. Now the system has 224 Continue Reading

Brandon Jacobs declares New York is still owned by Big Blue as NY Giants-NY Jets showdown approaches

The Jets have made it clear that this is about more than a game, more than a playoff chase and more than pride. To them, it’s about status. It’s about which team owns New York. But a win by the Jets on Christmas Eve won’t be nearly enough to color the Big Apple green, said Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. “They’re going to need a hell of a lot more than this game to make that happen,” Jacobs said. So until further notice, the Giants remain Kings of New York, at least as far as they’re concerned and regardless of the outcome of their big game against the Jets. They are still the big brother in town, and they know it, which is why there was an air of superiority in the Giants’ locker room on Wednesday, as they took turns first biting their tongues and then responding to the torrent of trash talk that has been coming from the Jets. Most of that talk, of course, has come from the Jets’ blustery coach, Rex Ryan. They’ve heard how Ryan claims the Jets (8-6) are “better” than the Giants (7-7) and how he “never came here to be little brother to anybody.” It’s been only two days of talk, but it’s felt like two years, and the Giants were clearly annoyed by all the noise. Mostly they fired back by taking subtle shots at Ryan, for needing gimmicks such as trash talk to motivate his team. “Sometimes I say things like ‘Man, maybe this won’t happen, but I’m going to make myself believe it,’ ” Jacobs said. “He’s trying to put something in people’s minds that might not really be there.” “We understand they’re going to talk and Rex has done a good job of trying to get in our heads,” added receiver Victor Cruz. “It kind of puts a fire under us. We understand what Rex is all about.” Actually, even though the Giants like to say they’d never stoop to such tactics, they Continue Reading

Smokin’ good times at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

The city's biggest barbecue starts smokin' June 7, with 14 of the nation's top pit masters turning out ribs, brisket and all the trimmings for a two-day feeding frenzy that will serve an estimated 125,000 people. The sixth annual Snapple Big Apple Barbecue Block Party at Madison Square Park is one of the city's best-smelling summer events, and it gets bigger and better each year. (The first year, despite a heavy downpour, 10,000 people showed up). You can just imagine how much work goes into the planning, not to mention the seasoning,  marinating and grilling of various cuts of beef and pork. From noon to 6 p.m. on both days, the hungry will keep coming to eat their fill of Texas-style brisket, pulled or chopped pork sandwiches, and, of course, juicy, meaty ribs. So what's it like to be one of the cooks? The News talked to three locals to find out what they're making – and how you can cook up some authentic BBQ treats at home if you can't make it to summer's biggest grill event. Kenny Callaghan, executive chef and partner at Blue Smoke (116 East 27th St. between Lexington Ave. and Park Ave. South) and a co-founder of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, will be making Kansas-city style spare ribs, which take about eight hours to cook in a 200-degree oven before they get grilled. The 7,200 pounds of meat he's ordered will be spiced with a dry rub (15 spices) and he's also preparing 400 gallons of his homemade barbecue sauce. "The Kansas City sauce is a tomato-based sauce," says Callaghan, who was born in the city and spent his first five years living in the East 90s. "In Kansas City, they like their sauce on the sweeter, thicker side and mine is rich and thick. I dry-rub the ribs for probably 24 to 30 hours, and then they get cooked low, slow and steady. On site, I will finish them off on a charcoal grill and the sauce goes on near the end." Callaghan's theory on why barbecue's getting so big around here? "New York is a melting pot of so many Continue Reading

The ‘Not’ Corner: First base used to be glamour position in New York

First base doesn't have the pedigree of center field and Willie, Mickey and the Duke. The right corner of the infield has always had sizzle in New York, however, from Lou Gehrig to Bill Terry to Gil Hodges to the 1980s when Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez and their trademark mustaches manned the bag. While Jason Giambi and Carlos Delgado certainly fit the position's New York mold in their prime, both now face serious questions, perhaps proving that first base in the Big Apple just isn't what it used to be. Can the 37-year-old Giambi stay healthy enough to play first every day? Can the 35-year-old Delgado, following the worst year of his career, rebound and post the huge numbers that once seemed automatic for him? Or is this year just another stop on the downward slope of diminishing skills and injury for two aging stars? We probably won't know for a few months, but the answer might reveal plenty about either team's playoff chances. "For some reason, playing first base in New York is more important than other places," says Tino Martinez, who replaced Mattingly and the Donnie Baseball legend in the Bronx and ended up creating a legacy of his own. "In other cities, you can put a DH there or a guy filling in. But in New York, with all the media and the pressure to win, you need a guy at first who can really anchor the infield. "If something happens in the playoffs or in a big game with the Red Sox, the first baseman can change the game just as much as the pitcher or center fielder can change it." The problem is, Delgado and Giambi might not be game-changing players anymore. "They're both at that point where the average guy starts to lose it," says a major-league scout. "The average ballplayer, at about 35 or 36, starts to come back to the crowd and that might be exactly what's happening to these guys and nobody wants to admit it." * * * Joe Girardi called Giambi over the winter and the new Yankees manager had a simple message: We need you at Continue Reading

HER WAY. Dreams still do come true in New York

You gotta love an actress with guts. Tamara Lovatt-Smith earned every dime of her $50,000 life savings waiting tables, tending bar and doing voice-overs while bunking with two roommates in an Alphabet City flat. And now she has invested her whole wad into producing and starring in an Off-Off-Broadway play called "Freak Winds," written and ­directed by Marshall Napier, running at the 99-seat ­Arclight Theater on W. 71 St. through April 22. Her moxie alone is worth the price of admission. "I first came to New York City in 1994 to do summer school with the Atlantic Theater Company," Lovatt-Smith says, eating a chicken wrap in the Park Plaza Diner in Brooklyn. "I had a cousin here, a film director named Alison Thompson, and she raved about New York. Coming from Australia, you think about going to London, L. A., other places. But New York is such a big dream when you're 18 and so far away from Australia, so I came here. " She spent a month, went home to Sydney, and told her apprehensive parents, "I must live in New York. " A few years later, she returned for further study at the Atlantic Theater, put her name into the green card lottery, and headed back to Australia, where over the next several years she produced and starred in six plays. "But I couldn't shake New York from my blood," she says. "My parents spent a fortune sending me to dance school. But my dream was to put on and star in plays in New York City. " Five years ago, Lovatt-Smith hit the jackpot in the green card lottery and moved permanently to the Big Apple at age 25. "The biggest draw was the energy," she says. "I'm a high-energy person. So to be in place that promotes and rewards that is great, because I went to London for a couple of months and I'd talk to theater people about ideas and the typical response was, 'Oh, well, that'll be hard to get off the ground. ' While in New York you'd mention the same idea and someone would say, 'Oh, I know someone who could help you Continue Reading


New York City has long considered itself the capital of the world. Some may think that a prideful conceit, even though some 45 million visitors descend on it each year. But since 1950, nobody could argue with New York's claim to have replaced London as the world's financial capital. New York is home to the broadest, most efficient and liquid capital markets and boasts the highest concentration of the world's largest financial firms. Now, however, New York is challenged - and the evidence is in the numbers. Last year, only two of the 25 largest international initial public offerings were issued by firms using American capital markets. London's Alternative Investment Market, instead, has become the exchange of choice for listings by small companies, with 433 new IPOs last year alone, versus just 155 on New York's Nasdaq. In 2000, by contrast, 90% of the funds raised by large foreign companies in new IPOs were raised in the United States. Today those numbers have been stood on their heads: Just 10% of new offerings are issued in the United States while 90% are raised outside. Over the past six years, the number of non-U.S. IPOs listed here has fallen by almost 75%. At the same time, a number of foreign companies have left the New York Stock and Nasdaq exchanges while more and more American companies are opting to leave the public markets and take themselves private. What's going on? It's called Sarbanes-Oxley. That's the federal law that was enacted in the wake of the Enron, Tyco and WorldCom scandals. The law offers benefits of transparency, accountability and investor protection. Fine, but as our insightful new treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, pointed out just last week, the law also has a seemingly innocuous section, known as 404, that has proved to be real corporate overkill. Sarbanes-Oxley was intended to prevent a repeat of the terrible corporate scandals we have seen over the past few years, but the exhaustive audits the law requires have more than Continue Reading

NUEVA FLAVOR ! new York is livin’ la vida Latina, and it’s spurring a food revolution

The latest census data finds that the Latino population carves out a hefty 28% slice of the Big Apple, which comes as no surprise to New Yorkers grown accustomed to their local bodegas and Latin restaurants. But we're also home to the most diverse Latino population in the world - including Latin America. "Nothing is a magnet like the United States is a magnet," said Carolina Gonzalez, co-author of "Nueva York: The Complete Guide to Latino Life in the Five Boroughs" with Seth Kugel. "And nothing in the United States is a magnet more than New York. " "You end up with all these different nations all together in the city, and in many cases on the same block," added Kugel. "Go try to find a good Honduran restaurant in Colombia. " The 2005 census reinforces trends laid out in "Nueva York's" guide to the vibrant Latino communities scattered across the five boroughs. While Puerto Ricans remain New York's dominant Latino group, their numbers are decreasing, and Dominicans now own nearly all of the city's 13,000 bodegas - a market once cornered by Puerto Ricans. "The bodegas sort of typify the progression in New York," said Gonzalez. The mom-and-pop shops are a common startup for many immigrants, and as the business expands and the owners move to new jobs in new neighborhoods, the next wave of newcomers picks up where they left off. "I predict in the next 15 years, all those Dominican bodegas are going to be owned by Mexicans," said Gonzalez. Already, she has noticed bodegas selling more tortillas to accommodate the growing Mexican community. Bodegas aside, New Yorkers don't need a census report to tell them that Latino cuisine is hotter than ever. The guide highlights Roosevelt Ave. in Queens as one of the seven culinary wonders of the world. "Within a two- or three-block walk, you can get about four or five different specialties that you're not going to find anywhere else in the city, and that you might actually have a hard time finding in the country of Continue Reading