Queens deli owner blames bike lanes for killing his business

- For 73 years, Ben's Best on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park has been serving their famous pastrami sandwich, attracting a following from all over the country. But it will soon close. The owner blames a new bike lane that runs right past his shop. He said the lane took away dozens of parking spots for his customers.

"When you take away the ability for my customers to get here, you finish me off," said Jay Parker, who has owned and operated Ben's Best Kosher Deli for 40 years. He acquired it from his father. But he said a bike lane has gotten in the way of his business.

"You've taken away 200 parking spaces a day. For an hour a day, that's 2,000 cars," Parker said. "Let's call it 3,000 less shoppers in Rego Park. For what?"

We'll be patient and try to find a spot because we really love this place," said Robert Nussbaum, who has been a customer since 1974. But I can understand absolutely what he's saying. It's impossible to find parking."

So we stepped outside and found a few people actually using the bike lane. Among them was Yooduh Pollack.

"There are fewer parking spots, but also most people here don't have to drive anywhere to get places," Pollack said. "You have the subway right here. It's easy to bike here, it's easy to walk here."

Peter Beadle, a Community Board member and bike advocate, sent Fox 5 a statement.

"For the majority of the boulevard's existence, the only parking was against the sidewalks. In 2001 the median side parking was added to slow drivers down," Beadle said. "Ben's Best sits directly across the street from a very reasonably priced parking garage at the Rego Mall. That garage sits half empty most of the year."

"The reason I'm leaving is because my people can't park and they can't come," Parker said. "I've heard that a thousand times. they just can't do it."

Ben's Best is closing on June 30. Twenty-two people will lose their jobs. Some workers have been here for more than three decades.

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