Photographer Tim Schreier sent in a collection of depressing photographs showing what's become of the Iron Triangle at Willets Point. What had been a bustling community of small business people and their customers is now a dead zone, waiting to be flattened by bulldozers set in motion by Bloomberg.
Tim writes: "I had not been to Willets in a few months and was curious to see how the community of businesses (primarily auto repair and supply businesses) was faring since receiving eviction notices from the city. What I saw was a few businesses hanging on but, for the most part, it was like a ghost town. Willets Point was a thriving, multicultural business community. One could detect not only various languages being spoken but dialects as well. It was a very busy community, businesses thriving individually and collectively.
To the small business owner, it was a place of active trade. A place where they could earn and work. To Citi Field, the city, and other gentrification-driven agendas, it was an eyesore, a neighborhood that could not stand next to Citi Field."
"What stood out most to me was that, on one side of the train tracks, the city was celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The World's Fair Pavilion, and on the other was a clear exercise in plutocracy today. Where Robert Moses stood on eminent domain, The Willets Point Development Project (including Sterling Equities, The Related Companies, and the Queens Development Group) was perfectly aligned.
The only striking difference is that Moses used The World's Fair to develop Corona Park, while at Willets Point businesses are displaced to make way for a 1.4 million square foot shopping mall, a hotel or two, and of course luxury condos overlooking Citi Field (to add insult to injury, over $500 million of public money will be subsidized for the private developers, infrastructure, and land acquisition). In a city where a promise of opportunity is steeped in its history, this is yet another in a growing list of examples of how opportunity is reserved for the wealthy and not for the working poor."
The Fight for Willets Point
The Iron Triangle