Sunday, March 18, 2012

Flushing, New York-and Willets Point-Down the Drain

The Flushing Times has a nice report on the panicked exodus of small businesses from Union Street-the merchant corridor in the path of the huge Flushing Commons boondoggle:

"Small business owners on Union Street have slowly been making an exodus as dealings between the city and the developer of Flushing Commons continue behind closed doors, a business leader said.Ikhwan Rim, president of the Union Street Merchants Association said that out of about 100 businesses located on the west side of the street, between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue — just a block — about 15 longtime tenants have moved their offices elsewhere.“The fortunate ones are the ones who already left,” Rim said."

Nothing speaks to the insensitive and boneheaded mentality of the Bloomberg administration than the Flushing Commons development-a project in the middle of a thriving Asian-American small business mecca. Why was this project even considered when the current businesses of Flushing attract Asian commerce from all over the metropolitan area? Usually the consultant liars for hire talk about the need for large scale development in order to stem the outbound shoppers from the city.

The inimitable Ben Haber hits the nail on the head-linking Willets Point with the Flushing Bloomsanity:

"Merchants leaving Union Street because Flushing Commons will be bad for business is just the tip of the iceberg...The Willets Point proposal with luxury high rises, upscale shopping and a convention center, together with traffic nightmares on the Van Wyck Expressway, Grand Central Parkway and Northern Boulevard, will spell the end of all small businesses in the downtown Flushing area, as well as an extremely congested residential area beyond the congestion that currently exists."

Whose fault is this? Haber rightly lays it at the mayor's feet-and goes after him for malling the city on behalf of his rich friends: "The fault for this abomination rests with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Helen Marshall and the myopic City Council members whose primary constituents are the real estate moguls and not the poor, middle class and small business owners."

The mayor has bamboozled NYC for over ten years with the myth that he is above the dreaded special interests. Now we know who those special interests really are-the small businesses and immigrant entrepreneurs that have made the city so interesting and economically innovative.