The plight of small businesses in our neighborhoods has reached a crisis point. Every month, an estimated 1,000 small businesses close their doors in New York, most of them because of rent increases that have simply made it impossible to stay afloat. Neighborhoods are being stripped of their character. Important ties to our civic history are disappearing. Colorful local mom-and-pop characters are fading away. For most of the past year, we have been chronicling this decline in these pages, through a series of stories under the banner "Saving Small Business." This week, we are expanding that effort, with an extended editorial about the critical need for policymakers to take action now, as well as a report from a forum we organized last month at Baruch College. In that discussion, policymakers like Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin and Manhattan Borough President Gale President were joined by industry leaders and small business people to talk about what can be done to address the crisis now. The heart of this week's section, though, is a multi-page tally of closed businesses, all of them in this neighborhood, called "What We've Lost." Think of these as commercial obituaries, tributes mainly to business people finally forced to give in to a city that has changed so dramatically around them.
[Our editorial: Saving Small Business] [Our story: Putting Heads Together to Save Small Business](http://nypress.com/putting-heads-together-to-save-small-business/) [What We've Lost Downtown](http://nypress.com/what-weve-lost-3/)