Saturday, May 9, 2009

The last resident of Willets Point fights to stay

Iron Triangle Tracker spotlights WP United member Joe Ardizzone, the last resident of Willets Point.

Last week, as Community Board 7 gave its blessing to move five of his fellow Willets Point landowners to College Point, Joe Ardizzone sat silently and watched.

For the work-worn resident of Willets Point — the only person who still lives in the industrial business community — the board’s monthly ritual is nothing new.

For the better part of the last two years, Ardizzone has been a fixture at community board meetings, press conferences, rallies and anything else involving Willets Point. And in speaking to him, one might call him a glutton for punishment.

“They say this is a democracy,” he said, as he calmly left the meeting, clad in a ruffled wool sweater. “I used to believe that.”

Joe was born in Willets Point in the 1930s and has been living here ever since. Although the fight is costing him his life savings, he fights on principle because, like the rest of us, he believes in the American principle of property rights and doesn't think he should have to sell or move to accommodate a developer.