In an editorial in yesterday's NY Times the paper unwittingly made our case as to why this whole Gateway Mall project, with BJ's Wholesale Club as its anchor tenant, needs to be sent back to the drawing board. The editorial, titled, "To Be Hungry in New York," discusses all of the difficulties faced by low-income New Yorkers when it comes to getting the food stamp assistance they are entitled to.
The Times' observation, based on the work of Council members Gioia and DeBlasio as well as a study done by the Urban Justice Center, highlights how "difficult and degrading" it can be for the hungry to get help. Now, imagine that your are someone who has navigated the process and has received food stamps, only to discover that the big new discount food store in your neighborhood doesn't accept them and, on top of this "You're Not Welcome" sign, tells you that you need to also pony up $45 for a membership fee just to be allowed in the store.
The Times editorial, backed up by the ongoing excellent work of Albor Ruiz at the Daily News, points to the paramount need for food stamp access in NY's poor neighborhoods. As we have pointed out, there is no poorer neighborhood in the country than the one that is being asked to host this Gateway Mall.
And there is simply no excuse to site such a store, one that clearly through its policies has contempt for poor New Yorkers, in the country's poorest community. Once again, "Withdraw this application."