Chambers Street Construction Threatens Small Business

If you feel  like the construction on Chambers Street is an eyesore, you may want to get used to the sight.

The project began in September of 2010 in an effort to replace a 120-year-old water main system and is slated for completion in January 2013.

In the meantime, businesses on the major thoroughfare are fighting to stay afloat while large trenches and towering fences choke potential customers out of the area.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is offering grants to the businesses, but even that has created heartburn for the small business owners in the area.



Untitled from Joe Jenkins on Vimeo.

Job Satisfaction: Are you Thankful?

It isn’t just the the Holiday season that is prompting people to give thanks, the job market is helping out as well.

With so many people either unemployed or underemployed, the phrase “be thankful you even have a job” has almost become cliché.

As it turns out, of the 23 people that responded to a survey, most are satisfied with their current employment.

A correlation can be drawn between education and job satisfaction, with nearly 70% having received some form of college degree.

Even when prodded with the hypothetical carrot of winning the lottery, a surprising number (43%) confessed that they would still show up to work the next day and none claimed to the “No Call; No Show” that we all seem to talk about every Monday at the water cooler.

The option to insert one’s own lottery dream, however, yielded varying levels of responsibility:

Diary Post: The Survey

When I crafted my survey, I really was hoping to get at one critical point: Are you happy with you current job.

My reasoning behind this was simple. In the current economic state, it has basically become cliché to hear the term “just be thankful that you even have a job,” or “hey, at least I’m employed.”

Before coming back to school I was guilty of uttering these exact phrases as well. As it turned out in my case, “just having a job” wasn’t enough to keep me slinging payroll and HR services to small businesses everyday.

I crafted my survey with job satisfaction in mind and had a few questions that would hopefully diagnose some of the reasons. This was why I included the experiential/educational levels question. It’s also why I half jokingly included a question about if you would go to work the day after winning the lottery.

In order to get the survey out, I posted the link to the google doc to my Facebook page–the more professional journalist page and not my personal one. Within a week it generated 13 responses. Since then, however, returns have fizzled.

It is my intent to repost, this time to my personal page in hopes of getting more results. I also plan on posting it to my twitter account as well and hope to enlist those that follow me to re-tweet the link.

It is my hope that in doing so, I’ll be able to pull some more quality quotes as well as have a base of results that may show me some information in greater detail before we produce them for the blog.

The Uncommon Life of a Tattoo Artist

Few artists face the pressure than those that operate in permanent ink and skin.

In this medium, there are no erasers and no re-do’s. The best you can hope for is a way to cover it up.

Diego (who does not go by a last name–ask anyone in the area) got into the tattoo scene at Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls over ten years ago. Since then, he’s developed a reputation for not having to cover up very much.

As time has gone on, Diego’s thoughts on what tattoo artists should or should not do have changed. What used to be a philosophy of “Ink anything, anywhere” has evolved into a stricter moral standard.

Even with the changes as tattoo artistry has become more mainstream, Diego still loves the art he gets to create and the friends he makes along the way.


Diego 1 by jjenkin

Diego talks about how he got into the tattoo business

Diego 2 by jjenkin

Diego talks about the tattoos that he refuses to do

Diego 3 by jjenkin

Diego talks about the unexpected friendships from the business

Diego ambi by jjenkin

Walkway Over The Hudson Brings New Life to Old Landmark

For years, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge was little more than a standing advertisement for tetanus shots.

After a fire in 1974 ended the span’s life as a railway connection to the east and west banks of the Hudson River, the bridge sat lifeless and left to rust away just begging to tell it’s historic story.

As it turns out, the steel that was used to build the span in 1886 was still strong enough to serve a purpose 123 years later. The rust that had residents complaining was hiding a potential cash cow for the Hudson Valley.

In 2008, the decision was made to refurbish the bridge into The Walkway Over the Hudson, which would turn the world’s oldest steel cantilever bridge into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge.

Before the park was opened, it was estimated that that the bridge would draw in between 250,000 and 300,000 visitors in it’s first year of operation and inject over $21 million in annual spending across the region.

Since opening in October 2009, over 1 million people have visited the state run park. Updated figures regarding the economic impact based on the surplus of visitors have yet to be released.

Looks like folks in the Hudson Valley will have to find a new way to remember their tetanus shots.



Are Tax Breaks Really that Stimulating?

Anyone that is worried about the American Jobs Act that President Obama proposed to congress last Thursday should take heart: If you’re gainfully employed, you’re getting a tax break!

Pay no attention to the fact that you’ve already been getting most of that tax cut for the last year. These are just details.

Effective last January, anyone lucky enough to be legally and gainfully employed got a 2 percent break on the Social Security portion of their payroll taxes.

Under the American Jobs Act, Obama plans to lower both the employer and employee portion of that tax liability to 3.1percent. The White House states that this will constitute a tax break of about $1,500 for a worker making $50,000 annually.

The idea behind these tax cuts, is to put more money in your paycheck which you will ideally pump back into the economy. More money in the economy means more demand and more demand means more jobs.

But, (and yes there is a but) thanks to inflation, decreasing salaries and increasing prices on some consumer goods, it appears that even with a tax break, New Yorkers could actually be losing ground at the moment.

So what happens now?

Is this truly a stimulus package or are we simply dumping the $20-$30 dollars per paycheck (if you get paid bi-weekly) into more expensive goods?

What have you done with your 2 percent to stimulate the economy–if anything? Have you changed your spending habits at all? What’s worse, did you even notice your 2 percent raise over the last year? Do you foresee any great change with the further cuts? Stories of spending or lack there of are welcome here where you can post to my Twitter, Facebook or even on my blog.

Start the discussion. Let’s see where this 2 percent is going.





5 Tips to Keep Your Startup Going

You’ve probably seen these scrappy startup companies popping up all over the place lately. From blogs to tech companies, people are finding that if an established business can’t find the time to hire them, they’ll find the time to establish a business.

The trick for many, however, is making the transition from “scrappy” and “startup” to “established” and “growing.” Here are some tips to help you get from point A to point B.

1. Love What You Do

Passion is key. If you didn’t like building cabinets, then you’re less likely to see your carpentry business through.

2. Know Your Target Demographic 

While loving what you do is important, a successful and profitable business is predicated on other people loving it, too.

3. Absolutely Everything is in a Name

When working from a shoestring budget, as many startups are, a name that explains what your business does is the cheapest and easiest form of marketing.

4. Build Your Business Plan Beyond the Starting Blocks

The thrill of initial success has often been soured by the inability to make the next step. Have an idea of where you want your enterprise to go once you start to gain traction.

5. Know How to Speak Investors Language

If you get to the point of speaking to angel investors or venture capitalists, they can be a god send–as long as you can communicate the upside of your startup to those that control the purse strings.