City Council Seeks to Raise Newsstand Price Cap, Product Quality

by Connor Ryan
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From $5 to $10 — the difference between a flimsy umbrella and a pair of headphones.

Why is it impossible to buy a high-quality umbrella for more than $5 at a New York City newsstand?

According to a little-known regulation, no city newsstand may charge more than $5 for any given item. But City Council members proposed legislation on Monday that would raise the price cap to $10, saying that such an increase would allow for newsstand owners to sell more products of higher value.

Council speaker Christine Quinn said the increase in price limit would ultimately boost business for the city's over 300 newsstand owners.

"We need to keep up with the times and help ensure these small business owners can continue to compete and succeed in our city," Quinn said in a statement.

As most in New York City tether themselves to cell phones and iPads — frequently immersing themselves so completely in the technology that they forget their surroundings — it would seem as though cell phone chargers and headphones (two products that could be available at newsstands for $10) are as important today as newspapers and umbrellas were a few years ago.

Council member Karen Koslowitz sponsored the bill.

"Newsstands are an integral part of our great city," Koslowitz said in a statement. "By increasing prices of goods that are allowed to be sold, it has now become more convenient for New Yorkers as well as newsstand owners who are open for business 365 days a year."

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