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The idea for UW$ came about a little over a year ago. I was walking down Broadway near my apartment on the Upper West Side when I noticed one of my favorite cafés had closed overnight. It was just gone. A place we had loved now shuttered by a metal garage door with a single piece of paper taped to it. Poof!

 Another woman was standing next to me in disbelief. We both felt the same thing. We had loved this café. They had great breakfast sandwiches and a killer chicken cutlet. It was the sort of place that had the perfect cheap cup of coffee and wobbly tables to pair with your morning read of the New York Post. Yet under the cover of darkness, it had evaporated into the night. A place we loved was gone, and we didn’t even know they were struggling.

 In the Amazon age, it’s harder than ever for small, interesting, and independent establishments to make it. Not to mention to make it in New York City where just surviving equals success. The mom-and-pop places we love—whether it’s an interesting record store, quirky bar, or family-run flower shop—are under siege.

Enter UW$.



Our mission: Protect personality on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

What does that mean? It means the UW$ brand will periodically adopt Upper West Side businesses that need financial support. We’ll raise money selling merch, through our website and periodic GoFundMe efforts, and person-to-person outreach. And, while our efforts may not always be able to save these interesting and idiosyncratic businesses, we hope what we do will at least delay that dreaded metal garage door and that sad single piece of paper.

So, when you see someone walking around New York with a UW$ winter cap, or some electric blue joggers, know that they’re doing their part to keep the Upper West Side interesting. As it should be!