Twelve miles south of Manhattan is a commercial strip seemingly stuck in time, where small-businesses still make up most of the shops, and there’s not a high-rise in sight.
Bay Ridge’s tree-lined Third Avenue is as diverse as the area itself.Shoppers pour in and out of Mid-East Bakery & Grocery, Norma’s Arts & Crafts Supplies, and Things on Third, which suggests that all is well.
But life along Third Avenue, especially for merchants, is changing. Mom-and-pop stores, the backbone of commerce in neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, are facing stiff competition from online retailers like Amazon – almost 6,000 stores across the country closed in the first three months of 2019 alone, which is more than the number of stores that closed throughout all of 2018. And while the business owners do not use the word fear, they do talk about survival. The question is: how?
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It was as if this moment was meant to be.
For the last three years, the nation has been engulfed in a narrative that began in June 2015 when Donald Trump announced his presidential run.
It culminated eighteen months later with his narrow and surprising election.
Ever since, America has felt like a battleground, with salvos being fired from the left and right. Every day brings a tweet storm, a rebuttal, a reaction to the rebuttal, an accusation of scandal, an insult, and deepening polarization. It all played out on social media and in the press — both mainstream and partisan.
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