Petition to Co-Name ‘Sol Moscot Way’ is Withdrawn

Posted on: February 12th, 2014 at 5:49 am by
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What seemed an easy-peasy co-naming application for Community Board 3 was not. Also heard at the Transportation subcommittee meeting last night was the petition to name the southeast corner of Orchard and Delancey “Sol Moscot Way.”

Team MOSCOT rallied the troops to the meeting, including fourth-generation owner Dr. Harvey Moscot, his son-successor Zack, and a delegation from the Lower East Side BID. The applicants also plied everyone in attendance with branded promo gifts. The presentation went through everything you might expect – the store’s connection to the Lower East Side, the quintessential rags-to-riches immigrant story, and its centennial celebration next year.

We learned that the applicants received unanimous endorsement from the stores on the block, but were only able to secure 47 signatures from the immediate area. This did not meet the 75% prerequisite set under CB3 guidelines. Also, speaking to the requirement of  fifteen years of “extraordinary” community involvement, Dr. Moscot regaled the board with examples of the company’s volunteer efforts in recent years (i.e. Moscot MobilEyes), yet had trouble singling out the efforts of Sol himself. Even though family stories were told about how he had given free eye exams and glasses to the underserved, the argument invariably defaulted to the MOSCOT company itself.

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Dr. Harvey Moscot and son Zack

And therein the sticking point. The board members unanimously felt uneasy about the public perceptions of naming the street Sol Moscot Way. That it might “feed the celebrity of a [local] business,” and very much aid a for-profit business. Both the applicant presentation and petition materials to the community were misleading in that they failed to separate the man from the business. CB3 guidelines on co-namings stipulate that honorees cannot be commercial entities, yet MOSCOT was essentially using its brand to sell its family patriarch.

In the end, much like the petition for “Beastie Boys Square,” MOSCOT agreed to withdraw and return at a later date with more substantial community support and primary evidence illustrating the merits of Sol Moscot. Chad Marlow was again the level-headed one, saying that if the applicants were willing to invest the time and energy to hit the books, the least the committee could do was hear it again.

Let’s see if the full board pulls another fast one like it did last month

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