Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Sunnyside Railyard plan a disaster
Please Don't Build Over Sunnyside Yards
Op Ed By Patricia Dorfman
The Mayor has discarded the wishes of the electorate in his enthusiastic speech about his Yards development plan, which seems to favor giant real estate interests and construction workers who do not live here (East Side Access workers live in onsite dormitories). This disconnect from actual human beings who have chosen our lives in Western Queens, who believe we live in a democracy, look to him as our Mayor, not the Mayor of only people who live elsewhere or who have not yet moved to NYC, is a shock.
A "Sunnyside Starrett City" being featured so lavishly as a centerpiece of his February 2 speech, when one has yet to find one resident in favor not connected to current government or special interests, gives the appearance that the entire project is one crafted by rich, powerful people that Mayor deBlasio has accepted dutifully. He gets to let giant financial firms make millions, gets to please the unions and others giving huge donations to the party, and can call it “affordable housing,” as though it is a kindness to the needy.
If affordable housing, whatever that means, is wanted, why not immediately buy five vacant small lots in Sunnyside Woodside here, and get started, for a fraction of the billions this will cost us taxpayers? In two years, something real can happen. The hole in the ground at Sunnyside center where Dae Dong burned down has been ready for 14 years.
If the Yards are built over as he projects, that would mean that there seems to be a frightening marriage of political, economic, and organized labor at a national, state and local level which is not by the consent or in the interest of local voters, taxpayers and residents. The words used by his aides, that the Yards are an “ugly scar,” and we residents are clamoring for decking, sounds like heartless people looking down upon us from on high.
Many in the Queens are shocked at the mayor's lack of interest in the welfare and wishes of actual residents and small businesses. Mitch Waxman, Astoria resident who reports and photographs for NewtownPentacle.com and Brownstoner.com, says, "I find it surprising that the self-proclaimed progressive mayor of New York City has so thoroughly embraced the plan of Michael Bloomberg's former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff. (Doctoroff was CEO of Bloomberg LLC.)
We live in a one party system out here, with so much power in the hands of elected officials to dispense patronage favors, that sometimes the party itself has become a kind of company, which runs for itself. That might be occurring in the larger picture now. We ask the Mayor and City Hall to care about us above all and not read the “party memo” which will forever change our lives for the worse.
And for those who want to have an open “discussion” about how to use some of the Sunnyside Yards for anything other than a giant park (hey, billionaires Bloomberg and Doctoroff, buy us a park, that will change all of our lives instantly and make you our heroes) means that once any building is done, the rest is up for grabs. We cannot build on just part of it.
Please do not build over Sunnyside Yards. If "Sunnyside Starrett City" comes to pass, it means we no longer have any say about our city. It means that all rezoning of the past 20 years of Queens is calculated to line the pockets of the rich, displace the working class and small businesses who would not be afford the new rents, is paid for by the taxpayer, and is now described as “affordable housing,” as though it is a noble goal, to crush our lifestyles, wishes, hopes and dreams. Developing over the Yards will extend Manhattan over us like serfs on their land.
(The author is a registered Democrat, union member, and lives in Sunnyside.)