Market-Rate Giveaway

Produce merchants get the boot for a City Hall favorite and yet another Olympic stadium

Last week, Ralph Lelia, whose family has been selling fresh produce at the market since 1955 from stalls number 44 and 45, started selling spring flowers. He is waiting for shipments of melons, which he says are his biggest seller. On the walls of his stall are a large American flag and a photograph of Rudy Giuliani chatting with Lelia's late father in the market. The photo was used by the former mayor in his campaign literature.

Like the rest of the merchants, Lelia blames the Buntzman family for letting the market go downhill. "In the '80s we had crackheads, prostitutes, we got no help from anyone. We survived all that," he said. "Now they just want us to go away."

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