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Queens Chronicle

Flushing McDonald’s shuts down suddenly

Shocked customers dismayed, had no warning; business climate tested

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018 10:30 am

Alek Rozentsvit of Flushing wasn’t lovin’ it Monday morning when he stopped by his neighborhood McDonald’s at Northern and Parsons boulevards only to find it had been shut down with not so much as a warning.

“It is absurd,” the 20-year resident told the Chronicle in an email. “Burger King on 144-74 Northern Blvd. closed last year and now this? This was a popular hangout spot and easy location to get food.”

He said the restaurant was popular with employees of area businesses as well, and always seemed to have lines of customers.

A company representative forwarded the Chronicle a statement from owner/operator Jack Bert, who thanked the community for its patronage over the years, as well as his employees, “all of whom have been offered the opportunity to work in our other restaurants,” a number believed to be between 20 and 25. Most if not all have accepted the jobs, a McDonald’s spokeswoman said.

The company would not give a reason for the abrupt shutdown, though Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and John Choe, the executive director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, offered their takes.

Kim said in the big picture that new restaurants and eateries — many of them well-financed by conglomerates — are springing up in Flushing all the time with access to marketing money, technology and social media expertise.

He said Flushing’s economic success has driven up property values, with commercial rent on Main Street “now higher than what is found in Midtown Manhattan.”

But he also said this particular McDonald’s had a strained relationship with the neighborhood’s Korean community going back more than five years when the owner attempted to keep elderly Korean residents from taking up tables for hours at a time to socialize while he was trying to keep customers flowing.

Choe called it “a completely unnecessary controversy that could have been prevented with better communication and better community engagement.”

Kim said the concerns of both Choe and Rozentsvit are real.

“Yes, sounds like our older adults are upset that within a few years, so many local restaurants have closed, including Burger King and another McDonald’s,” he wrote to the Chronicle. “These were places frequently visited by local senors to socialize with their friends while enjoying their coffees.”

Kim acknowledged that lingering seniors can be a drain on a business that depends on volume. He said when the Legislature comes into session in January he will push to establish “incentives and tax credits” for local restaurants and diners that cater to senior citizens.

— with reporting by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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  • yshaggy1 posted at 10:24 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2018.

    yshaggy1 Posts: 6

    There is another Micky D's 5 minutes away, imagine
    that making people go 5 minutes out of their way

  • Rafick Bdaro posted at 12:03 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2018.

    Rafick Bdaro Posts: 21

    This area, absolutely, positively needs a clean up in its retail selection. First of all, do not despair that Mcdonalds closed. The food sucks, there is attitude from employees and you can not stay more than 30 minutes. Therefore, a STARBUCKS is perfect for this corner. Considering, the closest location is either on Main Street otherwise on 25A the next closest is on 212 street in Bayside. It will attract better type of customers, people can stay as much as they want, and I can get better coffee than Dunkin without having to travel far. I am also open for Paris Baguette, Koryodong or a nice Korean restaurant.

    Mcdonalds closing without notice clearly shows the lack of respect for this section of Flushing since it was sustained by this community for at least as far as I know during the last 15 years. Good riddance! Lets have more healthier, friendlier alternative in cuisine or coffee space, lets attract people who appreciate where they live and where they belong. I am so done with the trash I see loitering by Mcdonalds.