A gun store that opened in 1911. An Irish pub that had drawn crowds since the Reagan administration. A coffee shop that sheltered frightened Brooklyn residents during the 2001 terrorist attacks.

These small businesses -- John Jovino Gun Shop in Little Italy, Coogan's in Washington Heights and Cranberry's in Brooklyn Heights -- are among the mom-and-pop shops and restaurants in New York that have withstood decades of economic downturns, wars and natural disasters, helping to anchor their neighborhoods and define the city.

But they could not survive the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged not just fragile small businesses but stalwarts that had lasted for generations. Many were especially reliant on repeat customers and foot traffic, and their income dried up almost overnight when the state shut down to stop the spread of the virus.

Their losses have not only left troubling holes in their neighborhoods but could signal even deeper trouble for other small ventures.


Nearly 3,000 small businesses in New York City have closed for good in the past four months, blaming falling revenue, vanished tourism and ballooning debt, especially for overdue rent. Some older businesses pointed to their failure to develop robust online commerce that might have carried them through the tough times.

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