Cabbies and Chai Unite Lower East Siders in '#SAVEPUNJABIDELI'

Supporters of Punjabi Deli attended a community board meeting on Tuesday, May 12, at University Settlement at Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery.


The Department Of Transportation proposed a temporary taxi relief stand on Ave A for 4 cabs. They are going to look into a permanent spot on either Houston or East 1st St .

New York City’s Lower East Side is in danger of losing a long-standing neighborhood icon, the beloved Punjabi Grocery & Deli on East 1st Street, a once-bustling 24/7 cafe and snack stop for cabbies, neighborhood vegetarians and after-hours concert goers alike. Construction equipment from a delayed city parks project in the gentrifying neighborhood has clogged Punjabi Deli's storefront for the past five years, eating up parking spots for the deli’s mostly cabbie clientele, and with it, over 50 percent of the small business’s gross revenue.

For years, owner Kulwinder Singh and his son Jashon Singh have unsuccessfully tried to cut through the city’s red tape. They have proposed zoning a Taxi Relief Stand in front of the shop in hopes of bringing back longtime customers. With the business now in serious danger of closing, thousands of fans of Singh's piping-hot chai and perfectly spicy vegetarian Indian fare are getting on board to pressure the NYC Department of Transportation to take action.

“#SAVEPUNJABIDELI,” a short directed by filmmaker Adeel Ahmed, gives a glimpse into the unique hospitality that has made Punjabi Deli a cheap and delicious food staple in the neighborhood for over two decades and why it’s not just a cabbie stand, but an appreciated NYC icon worth saving.

You can help #savepunjabideli in two ways:

-Show your support in person at the community board meeting on Tuesday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m., at University Settlement at Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery.

-Voice your support online by signing up for a timed social media blast through Thunderclap.

The efforts hope to create a collective wave of attention to urge the NYC DOT to establish a Taxi Relief Stand in front of Punjabi Deli and work with the city to create a sidewalk park that serves the community's desires.

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