A group of business owners opposing Mayor Bloomberg's rezoning plan for Willets Point slowed traffic around Shea Stadium before yesterday's Mets game by putting on the streets trucks carrying slogans such as "Hands Off Our Land, Bloomberg!"
Business Owners Send Strong Message on Willets Point
Protesters and public officials at yesterday's rally focused on one aspect of the debate: Even if the proposal is voted down, the mayor's office has not ruled out using the power of eminent domain to take over the land.
"It might sound old-fashioned, but I believe that, in America, the right of property owners is sacred," Council Member Hiram Monserrate, who represents Willets Point, said at the rally.
The vice president of a Willets Point water and sewage product distributor, Thomas Mina, called the mayor's plan a "concept," saying the administration had not made the details of its proposal clear.
"I'm not against development, but let the businesses here take part in it," he said. "If the city would put in infrastructure like sewers and roads, the area would develop itself. Corporations would want to come, there would be none of this perceived unsightliness, and we wouldn't be displaced."