CONEY ISLAND – Letitia James and Julia Salazar aren’t the only ones getting endorsements snatched away from them. Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, running for the 46th Assembly District, seems to be in the same boat – losing support from small business owners along Mermaid Avenue over his ambiguity on forming a Coney Island Business Improvement District.
Edwin Cosme, an outspoken store owner against the proposed Coney Island Business Improvement Development (B.I.D.), hung a vinyl, 6 X 3 banner above Lustig-Elgrably’s campaign office on Friday.
Cosme, 58, owns the building and rented the storefront, at 1726 Mermaid Ave., to the assembly hopeful as a campaign office mid-May. The store owner had supported the candidate until last week, and his name is posted on Lustig-Elgrably’s website under endorsements.
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“I didn’t like the response Ethan gave during the forum the other night,” Cosme said. “We need a candidate who’s going to support the people of Coney Island.”
During a debate between Lustig-Elgrably and Mathylde Frontus, who is also vying for the assembly position in the 46th Assembly district, Lustig-Elgrably did not provide a yes or no response to the question of whether or not he supports a Coney Island B.I.D.
“Simply put, it is far too early in the process to give a yes or no answer to this question,” said Lustig-Elgrably in front of dozens pointing out Cosme in the audience as being a “big critic” of the B.I.D. proposal.
His opponent, Frontus said that she would support the wishes of the business owner.
Cosme is one of several business owners along Mermaid Ave who have been actively protesting the proposed Coney Island B.I.D. The group began their crusade against the B.I.D. in 2017 when they garnered signatures from more than 30 business owners protesting the gig. When the Coney Island Alliance revised the plan to include only Mermaid Ave., the protest ensued, this time, shop owners took the cause to social media standing with signs that read, “Stop C.I BID.”
Cosme claims people who are structuring this BID do not live in the area and have no idea of the economic impact the additional fees have on landlords shop owners. Cosme is both. He said his business, Hair for U, would suffer and as a landlord understands how independent shops would be hit hard when landlord pass on the fee.
Cosme said he and the business owners are looking to form a legal coalition to protect against outsiders making decisions on their behalf. In the meantime, they met two weeks ago and decided how they’d incorporate lawmakers into the fold.
“We decided at the meeting we would endorse the candidate that expressed interest in the small business owners of Coney Island.” That candidate to them no longer is Ethan Lustig-Elgrably.