Willets Point Showdown at NYU Today


The New York Sun reports that a Planning Commission public hearing at NYU will be held today on the proposed redevelopment of Willets Point. Mets fans may recognize the name. It’s where those chop shops out by the parking lot are. It’s not what you’d consider desirable residential property — Willets Point Boulevard has only one resident, and the sanitation facilities are primitive — but the City plans to make it so with its $3 billion project, and most Queens politicians are going along.

While such a development would make the place look and smell nicer, it would also oblige most of the current businesses there to get lost, in every sense of the word.

The Willets Point Industry and Retail Association objects, in moderate language at its site (“WPIRA is not against development in Willets Point, we object to the means and methods being imposed on our long neglected area by the EDC”) and more bluntly in members’ postings to Queens Crap (“Mayor Bloomberg is kidding himself if he thinks this reckless land grab is going anywhere other than the same place as his plans for a West Side stadium and the Olympics — the scrap heap of bad ideas… This fight will never end until the City renounces its plans to steal our private property…”)

Queens Crap commenters are blunter still: “Since you don’t have sanitary sewers there, why not have each business name their cesspool after one of the elected officials that’s doing this to you? Send out a press release each week and have a ceremony. ‘The Claire Shulman Shithole’ — has a ring to it!”

WPIRA plans to hold a press conference at NYU at 10:30 am with Queens Concilmember Hiram Monserrate, and thereafter to rally in protest. The hearings begin around noon.