Monday, August 15, 2005

Bronx Mobilization on the Terminal Market

As more and more groups in the Bronx are made aware of the full nature of both the genesis and potential impact of the Gateway Mall they are beginning to react with outrage. Initially, most of the grassroots organizations were slow to react owing to a certain fatalistic attitude that there was little that could be done since this was a "done deal". However, as the media began to focus a jaundiced eye on the ill-treatment of the market merchants and the insider trading that sole-sourced the Related Companies into the market deal of the century, the community groups began to gradually find their collective voices.

Just recently Bronx Community Board #4 heard over 30 disgruntled community residents question the failure of the developer to even attempt any dialogue with the impacted neighborhoods. In addition, those at the emergency board hearing railed against the certification of the ULURP application in the summer recess period. This served to reinforce the community impression that the developer and its allies are trying to duck any meaningful review at the local level

All of this is leading to the build-up of an angry grass roots coalition that will publicly come together at a press conference on August 24th. We fully expect that dozens of local groups will join with market merchant, trade associations and organized labor to question the legitimacy, from inception, of the entire Gateway project. We also expect that these groups will be joined by an angry public health advocacy constituency that will begin to question the developers insufficient evaluation of the traffic and air quality impacts of the project.

Clearly, it won't be long before these diverse constituencies come together to legally challenge this Gateway abortion. An independent traffic analysis will soon begin and from that point we expect the whole house of cards to collapse from its own dishonest underpinnings.