The Iron Triangle of Willets Point isn’t the only triangle that’s got people up in arms. The Broadway Triangle, 31 acres of East Williamsburg in which are clustered a number of factories and other small, unsexy businesses, is being rezoned for affordable housing, and last night critics let their displeasure be known at a hearing at Borough Hall. They claim the development rights to the area have been signed over to the United Jewish Organization and the Ridgwood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council in a questionable no-bid contract, and that the community at large hadn’t been sufficiently involved in the process…
The Times points out that the no-bid deal is legal, but has reinvigorated among segments of the community some grudges which local activists had thought were behind them. “To be thrown so violently into the past is startling,” says El Puente founder Luis Garden Acosta. Previous meetings have devolved into unseemly spectacles (“SiWi bursts through the double doors to start pointing at Needelman and Solano, as they engage in a screaming match about his recusal”).
Missing from many of these discussions have been concerns for the businesses currently threatened with eviction.The Greenpoint Gazette has begun profiling the small shop owners under threat, starting with Ernie Wong, who runs the Shanghai Steel Factory, which fabricates vendor carts. Wong is trying to play ball with the city, but worries that the loss of his location near the Williamsburg Bridge will cost him business. Also, transporting his manufacturing equipment will be extremely costly. “They [the city’s department of housing preservation and development] say they are putting together a fund” to relocate businesses like his, “but I haven’t seen anything,” he says. Image via Campaign for Community-Based Planning.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 6, 2009