Apparently the Willets Point Industry and Retail Association, which opposes the giant rehab the City plans for its Shea-side industrial neighborhood on the grounds that it will force local businesses out, did make yesterday’s City Planning Commission hearing at NYU that we mentioned yesterday, as well as a related news conference in Washington Square Park. And they made it in high style, causing “a confrontation that grew emotional and raucous at times,” says the New York Times.
WPIRA protested outside the hearing and went to the Park to protest the news conference held by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, where they “drowned out advocates for the proposal, chanting ‘Justice for Willets Point!’ and ‘Save Willets Point!'” reports the Times. Queens Crap says Schulman returned fire, shouting “Shame, shame” and “this plan will never die” at the protestors.
The pro-development argument is familiar, practically timeless: 5,500 new homes, “a hotel, convention center, offices and retail stores, which city officials say will create 5,300 jobs and generate $25 billion in economic activity over 30 years.” “It’s surprising there is this much anger over the mayor’s plan,” marvelled WABC7, adding that the plan would “revitalize” the area.
The counter-argument: no to eminent domain, more affordable housing, and as announced on a banner on a garbage truck parked nearby, “Mayor Mike Only Cares About His Rich Developer Friends.”
Comments are lively at Queens Crap. Some mock the protestors, accusing Queens Concilmember Hiram Monserrate, who represents Willets Point, of bussing in “day workers” to boost their numbers. Others mock Shulman in often graphic terms.
At Develop Willets Point, Chris McShane says he was told by readers that “Councilman Monserrate was overheard on more than one occassion saying that in the end the plan to develop the area will happen.” McShane adds, “The fact that Monserrate ultimately sees this project happening is great. I do, too.”