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Proposed Drive-Thru Starbucks in New Rochelle: “Environmental Racism”

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Putting a drive-thru Starbucks at the site of the former Pizza Hut and next to public housing in New Rochelle has many residents upset.

At a hearing on Tuesday, neighbors and civic leaders told New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and City Council members that the location of the proposed drive-thru near Main Street was inappropriate given the proximity of apartments set aside for formerly homeless families.

New Rochelle resident Lisa Burton told the council members that the proposal to allow a drive-through coffee shop at the location at 80 Huguenot St. would not only be bad for the environment, but also comes at the expense of a diverse neighborhood with already at risk residents.

“It is inconceivable that the apartments for White Oak and the new development there would ever be subjected to the noise, the pollution, of idling cars sitting through a drive-through but somehow it’s okay over near Bracey and by Fountain Place. The difference is kind of obvious. One is a black neighborhood, a poor neighborhood. The other is white and middle class.”

The site is zoned to allow for a coffee shop, but officials will decide if a drive-thru lane will be permitted.


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November 21, 2023 8:24 PM

Where were these people when Costco was building a gas station next to a middle class, white neighborhood?

Were they out in the streets crying about pollution then? Probably not.

Bryan Diaz Vega
Bryan Diaz Vega
September 9, 2023 2:22 AM

I live in New Rochelle and I live fountain place and I would love to work in that new restaurants that is open just like I work at lunello and there is nothing wrong that the city is building a restaurant as long as people shop and go to eat spend their money I’m okay even I would love the they made a store just in front of the building

July 10, 2021 3:47 PM

Come to Stamford and Norwalk CT and see where we have our drive thru Starbucks locations. In similar neighborhoods as the one proposed in New Rochelle, NY.

July 7, 2021 3:59 PM

Putting starbucks in a eyesore neighborhood is not right but what else can we do make shore we are safe not sorry from brian sten activist for human rights a member of the new rochelle sports hall of fame comm

July 7, 2021 3:58 PM

Beggars can’t be choosers!

July 7, 2021 2:24 PM

I have been reading about this for 2 weeks when Lisa sent me an email regarding the discussion of the drive thru and I also thought what was the big deal since there is a drive thru right across (Taco Bell). I still don’t understand what the problem is and I do not drink coffee. The fact that there is a vacant building why not put something there it would be better than just being empty and maybe people should be fighting about all the buildings being built taking away parking lots etc. I can not leave my house without all different streets blocked off because of construction. I think fighting about that a posed to a drive thru would be better or even fight for low income housing in some of the buildings then high rent or condos

March 2, 2023 6:56 PM
Reply to  ???

That is easy to say when it won’t be impacting you, but families that have less of a voice. Environmental racism is real and the Mayor has demonstrated just how much he doesn’t not care for black people in New Rochelle. Just look at North Avenue and who is being displaced and why.

NewRo Res
NewRo Res
July 7, 2021 1:14 PM

Are we talking about the old Pizza Hut location across the street from the Taco Bell drive through, near the Sunoco station, Chevy dealer, and McDonald’s drive through? Maybe the city should consider requiring housing in all the new (and existing) high-rise monstrosities going up downtown so our low-income neighbors aren’t shoved aside into these areas that are already filled with idling cars and gas fumes. Preventing a Sbux DT won’t remove the problems that already exist.

July 7, 2021 10:56 AM

What nonsense! What a ridiculous argument. A drive through implies racism? That neighborhood has been in bad shape for many decades. If anything, a viable business is much better than an abandoned building which only adds to the mess.
Is there anything left that isn’t labeled racism??? 🤦‍♀️

July 7, 2021 12:31 PM
Reply to  Llllllllllll

“A form of systemic racism whereby communities of colour are disproportionately burdened with health hazards through policies and practices that force them to live in proximity to sources of toxic waste such as sewage works, mines, landfills, power stations, major roads and emitters of airborne particulate matter. As a result, these communities suffer greater rates of health problems attendant on hazardous pollutants.” So, YES a drive-thru directly underneath apartment windows of extremely low to low income families is environmental racism. Especially since Starbucks opened in a brand new development near Iona College without a drive-thru. How about putting the drive-thru there instead? I am sure that community will welcome it.

July 7, 2021 3:00 PM
Reply to  Guest

Is anything now not racist? Starbucks will bring jobs and clean up a blighted area. People need to stop the race baiting. It is getting boring.

July 8, 2021 2:29 PM
Reply to  Matthew

Matthew literally every molecule of Earth is racist. Systemic racism theorists are now finding evidence of racism in the atoms of distant stars. It’s a very serious scientific theory.

July 8, 2021 2:27 PM
Reply to  Guest

There are 3 drive-throughs in Mamaroneck in a single intersection: Starbucks, McDonald’s, and a bank. All of them are adjacent to a 300k/apartment co-op development. Is that systemic racism too against the races of people that live in that co-op? Or do you only use your “commercial development is racist” argument when it involves people of certain races?

What an insightful argument to bring to almost every single conversation in politics and city planning.

Norwood Builder
Norwood Builder
July 13, 2021 9:12 AM
Reply to  Guest

Your dystopian view of New Rochelle does not align well with the facts. Please read my notes below carefully, you’re about to get educated. The sewage plant in New Rochelle is surrounded by predominately white neighborhoods, including Premium Point Park and Stephenson Park (the most Republican neighborhood in New Rochelle). The City Yard, where garbage trucks and other heavy equipment gets stored, lies directly next to Stephenson Park. The City Yard will soon get moved across town to another predominately white Republican neighborhood on Weyman Avenue, next to Home Depot. Years ago the adjacent lot to Home Depot, where Costco now stands, was the site of the city incinerator. The decades of toxic waste accumulated from that incinerator remains in place, the Costco sits atop that waste. On Echo Avenue, next to the predominantly white neighborhood of Sutton Manor, sits a large empty lot, the former site of a Con Ed sub-station. People living in this neighborhood had long term exposure to dangerous EMFs and the soil on that lot contains such high levels of PCB’s and other toxins, that the land has remained empty and unused for decades. You’ve decided to put on the blinders and focus only on singular proposed drive thru, please open up your closed and narrow mind.

Last edited 2 years ago by Norwood Builder
July 26, 2021 4:47 PM

How about we focus on the environment boys and girls? Doesn’t NYS have a “no idling” law? So how exactly do we justify idling when we’re all supposed to be shutting our engines off when parked/stopped? Oh yes, convenience – no wonder we’re the most obese nation- and profits. United Corporation of America woo hoo!

July 27, 2021 5:55 AM
Reply to  Human

Be sure to share that sentiment with all the people of color that like using the other ‘fast food’ drive-thrus all over Westchester.
KFC, Taco Bell, BK, McDonalds, Wendys, etc, etc.
Ridiculous argument and likely nothing more than what’s become a regular shakedown tactic.
Will it eventually be good if Starbucks digs deep?
Old story, new location.

July 30, 2021 1:42 PM
Reply to  Human

oh please, most cars have an auto stop/start…there goes that argument. Not to mention you must be perfect, otherwise how could you validate exploiting another’s faults/problems/medical issues? 😏.

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