Friday, October 5, 2012

Meadow Muffins

The attempt to transform Willets Point and its surrounding parkland-ostensibly to "clean up" a blighted area- is a cover for the most extreme form of crony capitalism-reminiscent of the urban renewal efforts of the 1960s that critics incisively labeled "Negro removal." It is using the excuse of blight to take away land from small owners and transfer it over to billionaire developers-utilizing illegal tactics to accomplish this aim.

It is, as WPU has pointed out, a classic bait and switch because we are all expected to be gullible enough to believe that the "goodies" of affordable housing (no living wage, that was thrown out by the liars at EDC) will somehow magically reappear in the next decade

Aggravating the outrage-and a similar bait and switch-is the companion effort by the city to transform Flushing Meadow and take away this precious resource from the hands. As the Queens Courier reports, all of these developments are being seen as part of a comprehensive strategy by the city to hose the local communities of Corona, East Elmhurst Jackson Heights, and of course Willets Point itself:

"Willets Point might be making headway to become a destination for shopping and entertainment in the borough, but many either living or working near there are pointing out that the project could have negative effects on the surrounding area.
The Jackson Heights Green Alliance (JHGA) held an emergency meeting on Monday, October 1 to speak out against the parkland that would be lost be several projects planned around and within Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This includes the development of Willets Point and the parking lot to the left of Citi Field, Willets West; renovation and expansion of the U.S. Tennis Center; and talks of a possible Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium where what is currently Industry Pond sits."
Say goodbye to the park:
"Donovan Finn, a professor of urban planning at Stony Brook University and JHGA board member, said the actual green space in the park was already significantly less than what is actually billed for the borough’s largest park. Factoring in facility buildings, water, walkways and other items, there are only 333 acres of actual green space, Finn said.
“I think it’s reasonable that when all is said and done in 20 years, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which the Parks Department claims is 1,200-and-some acres, usable green space [will be] 250 acres,” Finn said. “No one would be proposing these projects in Prospect Park and Central Park. They never have and they never will.”
There is a great deal of talk about toxic waste at Willets Point, but the only thing toxic here is the city's arrogance about the taking of people's property and gifting it over to some of the mayor's rich friends. And one would think that the removal of so many park acres would have the city's environmental groups up in arms. Think again. The Environmental Defense Fund and The League of Conservation Voters have been neutered by the mayor's generosity and have contracted lockjaw as a consequence.
What's left is a rancid odor that calls to mind the meadow muffin: "feces deposited onto the ground by bovine animals. Also known as "cow flop". This should be seen as the signature achievement of the Bloomberg administration-the transformation of parkland into a rich resource for well healed interests; achieved through the condemnation of property owned by others