August 14, 2008
A Confrontation Over the Future of Willets Point
The New York Times
by Fernanda Santos
Supporters and foes of the Bloomberg administration’s plan to turn gritty Willets Point in Queens into a $3 billion development of stores, offices and apartments faced off Wednesday in a confrontation that grew emotional and raucous at times.
The hearing combined public testimony on Willets Point and two other rezoning projects, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and at south Hunters Point, along the East River in Queens. Opponents of the Lower East Side and Willets Point plans protested outside the auditorium where the hearing was held through most of the day. Councilman Hiram Monserrate led two dozen opponents of the Willets Point proposal two blocks east, to a spot in Washington Square Park, to confront city officials holding a news conference there.
The opponents interrupted the news conference, which was organized by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, and drowned out advocates for the proposal, chanting “Justice for Willets Point!” and “Save Willets Point!”
The police told the city economic development officials that they could not remove the protesters, saying they had a right to be there, even if they were being disruptive.
NoLandGrab: The EDC couldn't force the removal of the protesters from Washington Square Park, but it remains to be seen whether or not they'll be able to remove them from Willets Point. One thing we're pretty sure about, though, is that this eminent domain-fueled war will see many, many battles before it ends.
Posted by eric at August 14, 2008 9:08 AM