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Thread: Iron Triangle in Queens to Be Redeveloped

  1. #151
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Willets Point Business Owners Await City's $3B Redevelopment


    [Many small businesses in Willets Point have been forced to close or have moved out of the area in
    the past month, as the city prepares to redevelop the neighborhood. All photos by Nathan Kensinger.]

    The pace of change is quickening in Willets Point. After years of scheming, the city is now clearing a path towards their $3 billion redevelopment plan for this Queens neighborhood. In the past month, it has twice sent inspectors to close down auto-body shops located in the footprint of "Phase 1"—the 23 acre swath of land that the NYCEDC expects to start demolishing in 2014. The government inspectors first arrived in late May, issuing vacate orders to several shops across the street from Citi Field, and then returned last week, when "the Department of Buildings forcibly shuttered 10 more businesses," according to the Daily News. These sudden changes have left many of the business owners in Willets Point concerned for their future.

    Willets Point houses over 200 businesses on a small plot of land known as the Iron Triangle, ranging from muffler shops and hubcap kings to scrapyards and recycling plants. Many of these establishments are, ironically, tenants of the city, which has managed to acquire at least 95 percent of the land needed for Phase 1 of their Willets Point Development Plan. As a result, "after one branch of city government issued several Willets Point business owners violations and shut down their body shops earlier this month, another branch will now pay to fix them," according to the Times Ledger. Needless to say, confusion now reigns among the businesses located in Phase 1. Some estimate they may have only a few months left in the neighborhood, some believe they have years. Some have been promised relocation assistance, some claim they have been offered nothing. While there are still several hurdles for the city to clear before their redevelopment process can begin, the landscape of this unique neighborhood is changing fast, and the number of empty buildings and shuttered shops is on the rise.



    This pile of car doors was dragged from the roof of an auto-body shop, after it received a safety violation from the Department of Buildings.



    Workers pitched the car parts into a dumpster, hoping to reopen and return to work. "One day without working is a lot of money," said a business owner whose shop was closed last week. "I have three boys."


    Carma Corp., a nearby muffler and tire shop, was also closed by city inspectors last week. "It might take two weeks or one month" to reopen, said Aureliano Carmagnola, who has owned the shop for 15 years.


    In the meantime, Carmagnola (left), who rents his space from the city, is waiting for his landlord to assist him with his violation. After reopening, he expects to be in the neighborhood for several more years. "They gonna start the build around 2025," he said. "We'll be here 5 more years, then we have to leave."



    This tow truck business moved out of the area in the past few weeks, according to next-door-neighbor Jay Sierra, who owns J&A Towing. Like Sierra, who also rents his space from the city, they expected their business to be closed down soon. "The word is August, but I haven't heard anything official."



    "What am I going to do? I'm trying to see if they had some kind of help but they haven't had anything," said Sierra. "No relocation money. No nothing." He may move out of the neighborhood in the next month, without assistance from the city.



    In spite of the city's plans, many businesses in Willets Point remain open for customers. "If the dealers don't have it, you can get it down here," said a livery cab driver, while waiting for his car to be fixed.



    "This place looks like nothing, but they generate a lot of money," said the driver. "It's prime property."



    Besides auto-body shops, Willets Point also houses scrapyards, recycling centers, street vendors, a spice importer, and a motorcycle club founded in 1910. Over 1,000 workers are employed in the neighborhood.



    Though filled with constant car traffic, the neighborhood's streets are often flooded. The city has never installed a proper sewage system in the area, despite decades of requests from business owners.



    In preparation for their coming development, however, the city is finally creating a sewage system, with workers laying a bulkhead into a sewer trench.



    In the meantime, the streets of the Iron Triangle remain flooded during rainstorms, lined with empty storefronts and debris. "The city said they have a place for us," said Aureliano Carmagnola, but "when you move to a new location, its hard to pick up the business."



    "Anyway, they going to do something nice over here," said Carmagnola, who has worked in Willets Point since 1989. "They build some apartments, some shopping." Where the hundreds of displaced businesses and workers will end up is another question.

    Nathan Kensinger

    Nathan Kensinger [official]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/0...evelopment.php

  2. #152
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    It is a shame, but that place is literally a dump.

    So many businesses that have no official record of ever being built using construction that would not make a good back yard shed.

    This is a colossal mess, a bureaucratic nightmare, an environmental disaster and a safety problem. Hopefully this will get straitened out soon, or the only ones that will bear the burden will be the workers on both sides of this sticky mess.

  3. #153
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    One Curbed commenter's view, "...about 95% of the pictures appeared to show some third world country", seems to be true, sadly.

    From the Daily News article:

    A Buildings Department spokesman said the agency’s priority is to remedy dangerous conditions.
    Based on the photos, it looks like it's been unsafe for a long time. Why now, all of a sudden? Just when a new development is planned. No coincidence.

    It's really unfortunate that people's safety is only being used as an excuse and that turning a blind eye has obviously been the order of business for so long.

    Drinking soda is clearly more dangerous, though .

    I really hope they do the right thing by all the business owners and employees.

  4. #154
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    There is an argument to be made under the equal protection clause of the constitution against selective enforcement of laws & regulations

  5. #155

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    Another 'land grab' for bloomberg and his real estate cronies - good story here on "queens crap".

    http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2009/...oint-land.html

  6. #156
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    This ain't a land grab.

    This is VERY expensive land to grab (environmental cleanup alone...)

  7. #157

    Default Common sense anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by GordonGecko View Post
    They're still going to try to build an MLS stadium though



    From what I understand the MLS stadium is not happening in Queens b/c of local opposition to the loss of parkland. I applaud the fight to keep parkland away from private development. But why the fight to begin with?

    Why not put the MLS stadium in what is now the "pink" shopping mall section? Put the hotel in that shopping mall section as well. Put ALL the parking in the "aqua" hotel/shopping section (where the Iron Triangle now stands) and completely scrap the idea of a mall.

    1) MLS stadium gets built and makes the area a true sports complex.
    2) Hotel gets built.
    3) Parkland is saved.
    4) No unnecessary mall or box stores.
    4) Parking on the Iron Triangle, saves years (decades?) of waist clean up that would be necessary before any hotel, shops or housing could ever be built over the area.

    Win/win for everyone minus fans of chop-shops and malls!

  8. #158
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    Well the Mets owner Fred Wilpon was unsuccessful in purchasing the NYC expansion soccer team. He's not going to turn around and let them build a stadium in his parking lot

  9. #159

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    From what I understand the city has given the Mets/Wilpons control over parking revenues (actually the city and state have given both the Mets and Yanks a whole lot more than that as this link shows: http://www.fieldofschemes.com/docume...Mets-costs.pdf) in return for the Mets/Wilpons chipping in on the new stadium. BUT the city still owns the land. So let the Mets/Wilpons continue to control parking revenues. Just have that parking lot moved to the Iron Triangle area while the current parking lot is used for an MLS stadium and hotel.

  10. #160

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    Time is up!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...icle-1.1431283

    City offers payouts to entice businesses to leave Iron Triangle quickly

    The city Economic Development Corp. recently started offering one year’s rent if the auto body shop owners leave before Nov. 30 to make way for planned mega-mall.


    The city is trying to grease the engine of change in Willets Point.
    The city Economic Development Corp. recently started offering a payout of one year’s rent if the auto body shop owners leave before Nov. 30.
    A later move, between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31, yields half the payout, or six months rent. The money would come from $3.5 million in newly allocated funds, city officials said.
    The offer, circulated in a letter to the businesses last week, invited them to an “informational meeting” on Wednesday in Corona — the same day the city Planning Commission is slated to vote on the proposed mega-mall that would be built on Citi Field’s parking lot.
    RELATED: QUEENS BORO PREZ CANDIDATES OPPOSE CITIFIELD MALL
    “We’ve been very clear and consistent on our outreach,” said a city official.
    HANDOUT

    The offer, circulated in a letter to the businesses last week, invited them to an “informational meeting” on Wednesday in Corona — the same day the city Planning Commission is slated to vote on the proposed mega-mall that would be built on Citi Field’s parking lot.

    The larger $3 billion redevelopment model for Willets Point — a host of uses including 2,500 residential units and commercial and retail space — was approved by the Council in 2008.


    Meanwhile, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ office was told by Cornerstone, the firm handling the relocation, that only one business has successfully moved out of the Iron Triangle.
    The immigrant business owners have said they’d like move en masse, but finding a location that would make that possible has proven difficult.
    RELATED: QUEENS BEEP OK'S CITIFIELD MALL
    The businesses currently pay rent to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. If they were to move by the desired deadline, the city would pay their rent for 12 months. For example, the owner of a business that pays $2,000 per month would receive a $24,000 payout.
    City officials confirmed that only one business has moved thus far, but said that two more are preparing their exit.
    SHAYOK MUKHOPADHYAY FOR DAILY NEWS

    The immigrant business owners have said they’d like move en masse, but finding a location that would make that possible has proven difficult. Luis, Silva and two others, at a game of dominoes in Willets Point last winter.

    Ferreras, who is currently on maternity leave and more than eight months pregnant, could not be reached for comment.
    Advocates for the dozens of business owners said the payout is more of a “severance” package than a new lease on life.
    RELATED: BE OUR GUEST: AFFORDABLE HOUSING BAIT-AND-SWITCH AT WILLETS POINT
    “We need substantially more just to stay afloat and to adequately compensate poor immigrant business owners that are being asked to move,” said Ted De Barbieri, a lawyer with the Urban Justice Center, who is representing the co-op of 60 Iron Triangle businessmen in their relocation push.
    Marco Neira, president of that group, said rents elsewhere in Queens are astronomic compared to their current home.
    Many locations charge upwards of $4,000 per month and ask for several months’ rent as a security deposit, which could easily wipe out the city’s payout, he said.
    “What they promise in the letter is not enough for us,” he said.
    City officials countered that the shopkeepers can pool their money to help cover the costs.


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz2cXm1dayF

  11. #161

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    City Planning Commission approves Willets Point mega-mall plan

    The City Council will need to vote within the next 50 days on the plan to remediate the area near Citi Field.

    Comments (2)BY CLARE TRAPASSO AND IRVING DEJOHN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2013, 5:13 PM



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    ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE QUEENS DEVELOPMENT GROUP.

    “Willets Point is on its way to becoming remediated and ultimately becoming an active and inviting destination,” Commission Chairwoman Amanda Burden says.


    RELATED STORIES




    The clock is ticking.
    The City Planning Commission approved a plan to build a mega mall near Citi Field as part of a larger redevelopment of the gritty stretch of auto body shops.
    RELATED: QUEENS BORO PREZ CANDIDATES OPPOSE CITIFIELD MALL
    ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE QUEENS DEVELOPMENT GROUP.

    The joint venture of the Related Co. and Sterling Equities will begin “briefing Council members,” it was reported Wednesday.


    “Willets Point is on its way to becoming remediated and ultimately becoming an active and inviting destination,” Commission Chairwoman Amanda Burden said on Wednesday.
    The 13-member panel gave its overwhelming approval for the proposal — paving the way for a City Council vote within the next 50 days.
    RELATED: QUEENS BEEP OK'S CITIFIELD MALL


    ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE QUEENS DEVELOPMENT GROUP.

    The proposed 1.4 million square foot retail and entertainment development was approved by the City Planning Commission on Wednesday.


    Board member Michelle de la Uz was the lone dissenting voice during the meeting.
    She argued that there are a glut of malls already in Queens and said “questionable and weak” efforts have been made to relocate the immigrant shop owners working in the auto body shops.
    RELATED: BE OUR GUEST: AFFORDABLE HOUSING BAIT-AND-SWITCH AT WILLETS POINT
    ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE QUEENS DEVELOPMENT GROUP.

    Renderings of a proposed redevelopment of Willets Point headed by a joint venture from the Related Co. and Sterling Equities.


    “This administration has proposed a number of forward- thinking redevelopment projects, this is not one of them,” she said.
    The development group — a joint venture between Sterling Equities and the Related Co. — said Wednesday that they will begin “briefing Council members” on the “support the plan has received from local civic leaders.”
    RELATED: WILLETS BE ENOUGH TO GET BIZZES TO LEAVE?
    The larger $3 billion redevelopment model for Willets Point — a host of uses including 2,500 residential units and commercial and retail space — was approved by the Council in 2008.
    The massive retail and entertainment proposal, slated to be built on Citi Field’s parking lot, would include roughly 200 stores, restaurants, a movie theater and other attractions, the developer said.
    The newly added commercial complex is necessary to make the whole project economically feasible, the developer has asserted.



    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz2cflSLH2G

  12. #162
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    The End of Willets Point

    By SARAH MASLIN NIR


    Michael Nagle for The New York Times
    Closing Time in Willets Point: The city could use eminent domain to clear out Willets Point in Queens,
    which supports hundreds of businesses, to clean up the area.

    Photos by Michael Nagle for The New York Times









    The city is about to begin clearing an area in Queens it calls blighted, but in the tangle of junkyards and auto shops, many people have made a life.

    It is easy to drive past Willets Point, the 62-acre tangle of auto shops, car parts and grease-covered mechanics tinkering with automobiles, that sits hard by the Unisphere of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Passing by is far easier than driving through: The streets that cross each other at odd angles here in the glossy shadow of Citi Field look as if they had been blasted by land mines. They are pooled with dark, oil-slicked water or rutted with knee-deep holes that suck in a car’s tires. The chalkboard scrape of chassis meeting pavement sounds through the air here with the regularity of a bell tolling the hour.

    It is Flaco’s job to entice drivers to enter. Three hundred sixty-five days a year, Flaco, 32, a lanky man with thick brown hair, stands at the mouth of the warren of shops, gesticulating like a carnival barker, beckoning drivers in need of car repairs with promises of cheap prices and swift fixes.

    By next Saturday, there will be little need for his services. That is when the city begins the first phase of a $3 billion plan to overhaul what it calls a blighted area. The city could invoke eminent domain to take control of land where several hundred businesses have eked out a livelihood for years, some for decades.


    The New York Times

    The plan will unroll in three phases.

    In the first, businesses in the 23-acre section of Willets Point just across 126th Street from the stadium, and roughly bounded by 127th Street, Roosevelt Avenue to the south and 35th Avenue to the north, face a deadline to vacate this month; they will be replaced by a hotel, a retail area and a park.

    Subsequent phases, in the north and northeast sections of Willets Point, will include the construction of apartment buildings and a school, among other things.

    The wrecking ball is days away, but Flaco and the rest of Willets Point are still at work, in a combination of denial and the need to earn a living. Just beyond the stadium, the neighborhood is in its final hours.

    “The city wants to close it down and build restaurants, or something else,” Flaco said.

    “Yes, it looks ugly,” he said of the area sprawled out behind him, “but they don’t see that we’re people.”

    Cleaning up or clearing out Willets Point has been a goal of nearly every mayor since the 1950s. The area is sometimes said to have inspired the “Valley of Ashes” described by F. Scott Fitzgerald in “The Great Gatsby.” It began life as Flushing Creek swampland, then became a municipal dump, and evolved into the loose configuration of salvage yards and parts shops that currently exists.

    Today it is a place where men who say they are good with their hands and not much else can make a living, where poverty stuns with its rawness alongside immigrant strivers who insist that this is a rare place to make strides toward better lives. All-cash transactions are standard, employers often do not ask for immigration papers, and customers seem to accept that the trade-off for rock-bottom prices means not inquiring about a mechanic’s certification. For many undocumented or new immigrants, Willets Point represents a loophole through which to slip into gainful employment in America.

    The Queens Development Group, a pairing of the Related Companies and Sterling Equities, which is building the new Willets Point, declined to comment.

    To outsiders, passing over it in the jangling elevated No. 7 train, Willets Point seems like a world unto itself. To those who make their living among the rims and wheels and carburetors and filth, it is their entire world. And it is coming to an end.


    Michael Nagle for The New York Times
    A worker passing time in front of ACDC Scrap Metal Inc.

    IT IS HARD from the outside to understand how Willets Point functions, let alone why its denizens insist they love it, and why they fight for it. Business owners’ groups like Willets Point United have filed several lawsuits to block the city’s plans. (The plans have been modified several times and delayed for years, but not thwarted.)

    The shops at first glance seem to purvey the same services and goods. But competition is tempered by specialization: There’s the auto glass man, the hubcap man, the storefront that specializes in hot rods. A strictly delimited hierarchy slices through the Junkyard, as they call it, the “J” pronounced as a “Y” in the vernacular of the mostly Latino men who make up the workforce.

    Some of them, like Flaco, who emigrated from Puebla, Mexico, seven years ago, have no shops at all. They are known as gypsies, fixing small problems, like a sticky lock, with tools stowed in their cars, or steering customers to shops for a finder’s fee. On a good day Flaco — that is a nickname — can make $150, staying a wary distance from competitors, or else risking a fistfight. He stands for up to 11 hours, seven days a week. In the summer, Flaco’s legs swell from the heat. In the winter his fingers are often too stiff with cold to manipulate his tools.

    “We have to do this; if we go to another place, the people are going to ask for papers or good English,” he said. “We get used to it. This is our life. We are just trying to make money to survive.”

    There are brawls, but also a strong sense of brotherhood in the Junkyard, shaped by shared experience. Willets Point has only one official resident, Joseph Ardizzone, 80, who lives above one of the area’s few restaurants and has been known to wear a Revolutionary War uniform at times to protest the city’s use of eminent domain. According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, there are 220 business owners in the area. But critics of the plan say that the number is far higher, citing businesses already closed, and that at least 1,700 workers stand to lose their livelihoods when the redevelopment is complete.

    “How many people are going to be out of a job?” Flaco asked. “And it’s not just those people, it’s the people behind those people, their families, their sons. If you have a guy who works at the shop, he has a wife, kids. What are they going to do?”


    Michael Nagle for The New York Times
    A worker applying primer to a car's bumper at an auto parts shop.

    He added: “A lot of people in this junkyard, they live alone, they have their family in their countries. They don’t have nothing to do, so they just stand around here all day into the night. They are going to lose a lot of things, not just their job.”



    LATE AT NIGHT, when the shop gates are rolled down and the roads, most without streetlights, are quiet, workers file into Master Express Deli & Restaurant, squeezed between auto parts stores. They discuss the Junkyard’s imminent end, and listen to the jukebox blare.

    Behind the deli lives a dog-tame, buff-color rooster. It was once the cafe’s star, feasting on, yes, chicken nuggets, and strutting to reggaeton across the dining room floor. Last year, after the health department fined the cafe owner, Marco Neira, 55, for having a live animal in a food establishment, the bird was banished to a cage out back.
    Holding the bird as it purred, Mr. Neira, who carries a folder of the city’s Willets Point plans around with him in an effort to educate and organize the community, said the government had ruined the bird’s life. It became clear he was speaking about something else entirely.

    “It’s the same way how we feel if we have to move from here,” Mr. Neira said. “Here is our life. They are going to move us somewhere else, it’s going to be like a strange.” Here, he said, despite the forbidding appearance, is home.

    He carried the chicken into the restaurant and set it free in the dining room.

    Men hunched undisturbed in the cafe. It is most popular, perhaps, for its working toilet. Willets Point is not connected to the city’s sewer system, relying instead on septic tanks, of which there are few. In places, the streets reek of urine.



    “TO ME THIS is not hideous, this is beautiful,” said Yoni Chazbani, 25, who has worked in the Junkyard since he was 13 at the three properties his parents own, including a salvage yard next to Master Express. He has acquired mechanic’s skills and a best friend — Barry Harris, now 28 and a car parts broker. Their childhood playground is a kingdom of hobbled cars, hundreds of disembodied doors in pin-straight rows, arranged in brownstone-high racks. It heaves with the spleens and bones of cars, stacked, packed and piled into a lot half a city block long.

    “This is our life, this is our job, this is our future, this is all we have,” said Mr. Harris, a month before the city’s deadline, as he ate his lunch in the cab of a yellow backhoe, talking with his friend. “Take this away, what do I have? I’ve been here since I’m 16, this is all I know.”

    At their feet, a junkyard guard dog named Choco pined for scraps.

    “We’re all family here. When it snows we have snowball fights, when business is slow we play soccer in the streets,” Mr. Harris said.

    “We take care of each other,” Mr. Chazbani added.

    “But no one takes care of us,” Mr. Harris continued. “Look at the streets. This is a bigger person who wants to make money at the expense of the smaller person. We are going to lose a lot of money, a lot of family. Shut this place down, only the big guys win.”

    They ate on a lot within the boundaries of Phase 1 of the redevelopment plan. The city has put aside up to $3.5 million to pay the vacating businesses’ rent at their new locations. Those that move out by Nov. 30 are promised a year’s worth of rent; by Jan. 31, six months’ worth.


    Michael Nagle for The New York Times
    A van trying to maneuver around the potholes on Willets Point Boulevard.

    The city is also providing up to $9 million to help with relocation costs. Mr. Chazbani’s family’s other businesses are in Phase 2 and Phase 3, the last of which will be developed in 2025, at which point 2,500 units of housing may be built, 875 units of which will be “affordable housing.” The amount of affordable housing was a concession won by leaders from the surrounding communities, during the extensive Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, known as Ulurp, which subjected the plan to public review. But the long wait for so few units has infuriated many community advocates.

    “We need to have kind of a rebirth of that area,” said City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, a Democrat who represents the area and worked on the deal for years, pushing for things like increased relocation payments for the current tenants.

    “They also have no running water, no infrastructure,” she said. “I want them to be able to be relocated to a space so that they can progress and grow and have things that any small business in New York City has.”

    Plans for the shop owners to relocate as a group have not materialized.

    “The development, it’s better for the future, not the present,” Mr. Chazbani said. “It’s hurting me, but if I was the mayor of New York, I’d do the same thing” — per usual, his friend cut him off.
    “Whose side are you on?” said Mr. Harris, receiving a friendly elbow to the ribs.

    “But —” Mr. Chazbani said, shushing him. “If I were to take this area apart, I would make sure everyone is taken care of.”



    ROSA, 31, is one of the few women in Willets Point. The men call her La Jovencita, the young one.

    Every day, Rosa loops through the streets, selling food from the battered minivan she has turned into a rolling pantry. The back is filled with sandwiches she makes and papaya juice she presses fresh every morning at her apartment in nearby Corona, before taking two of her children — the other two still live in her native Ecuador — to school. In the summer she hauls a pushcart almost as large as she is over the hardscrabble roads in an endless loop, selling Italian ice in lime and coconut for $2 a scoop.

    At day’s end, La Jovencita is haggard. Oil and sewage water splash her pink sneakers. Yet she smiles when she speaks of her role at Willets Point. “I have seen women who say, ‘Ay, no, I don’t like this work. Working like a pig.’ But I feel proud. From this, one can move forward,” she said. “I have four children to fight for. I do this for them.”

    On a day in late October, she maneuvered the minivan on yet another loop around the minefield of potholes, past a woman toting thermoses of hot cocoa spiked with cinnamon sticks, made the way that reminds her Mexican clientele of home, and a man selling new button-down shirts from a black garbage bag for $10 apiece. Rosa clears around $300 a week, she said. Her husband, a day laborer, waits at highway exit ramps each day for construction jobs.

    Her life is hard, but it will get harder as Willets Point disappears, she said. She may return to Cuenca, Ecuador.

    “I am a woman who likes to fight, to overcome, for my children, to go forward,” she said. “And now that they are going to take this from us, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”



    ROSA’S CHICKEN SANDWICHES are the highlight of Christopher Canale’s day. It is all he consumes until evening, when he is paid with a case of Modelo Especial for closing up and tidying several shops here.

    Mr. Canale, 51, said he represented “the seamier side of Willets Point,” those who don’t leave at night, sleeping in the unheated cars that line the roads, often paid $5 a night to serve as human watchdogs. “The best is a van, Lincolns and Crown Victorias,” he said. “Big cars. Any car is nice, you can sleep in a Honda Civic, put the seat back, stretch your legs out. If you’ve got a friend with you, it could be 30, 21 degrees out and you could survive the night.”

    The men ward off city tow trucks that abscond with cars that lack plates, and car strippers — parts thieves. Mr. Canale himself used to be one; he often boasts that he was once accused of stealing 900 mirrors from cars at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the United States Open. Mr. Canale now collects and sells scrap, earning about $13 a day. He is homeless and uses half the money for his sandwich. The rest he saves to buy crack cocaine, he said.

    Others lack the relative comfort of a car to sleep in.

    Lean into the chainlink fence that rings a dusty vacant lot here and it falls away, sliced invisibly along the bottom, a door as clandestine as a sliding bookcase. It is the portal to a stack of giant, rusting shipping containers where a rope hangs down the side, a single loop in its center. It is a ladder. Up it is a cavern of filthy mattresses. Most days, curled up on them are young men, some with nowhere else to go.

    “Some of the streetlights don’t work, and you can be in the dark,” said Mr. Canale, standing alone in the pocked street at 1 a.m. on a Saturday in October. “Some people like to be in the dark and the shadows. Some people that don’t fit in exactly with society.”

    The gypsies, mechanics, shop owners, customers, food sellers and the women who sell the sweet coffee were nowhere to be seen. Willets Point was — as it will soon be — empty of nearly all its citizenry. Every so often a subway train slinked past on elevated tracks, glowing like an electric eel.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/ny...l?ref=nyregion

  13. #163

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    Looks like the mall deal is dead! According to the NYT the parking lot belongs to the Parks Department but,,, the one thing that can be built on it is another stadium. Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/sp...s&emc=rss&_r=3

    Now to go back to the question I asked two years ago… If a soccer team like the New York Cosmos want to come to Flushing, why can't they just build their stadium on the Citi Field parking lot?
    Last edited by SuddenImpact; July 15th, 2015 at 09:58 PM.

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuddenImpact View Post
    This is a curious comment:

    “Today’s decision sends a message loud and clear — our parks are not for sale,” State Senator Tony Avella of Queens, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said in a statement.
    I think what the gentleman meant to say was that the Mets parking lot IS for sale for anyone who wants to pay to park a car on the barren concrete. All other uses are strictly prohibited, including planting grass and putting down a picnic basket

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