Monday, February 14, 2005

Sprawl-mart is coming to NYC

mike-walmart-day, originally uploaded by Green Biker.

How do we know this? Because the Sprawl is already here and seems to be the biggest agenda for our elected officials as they pave the way for box stores and the corporate, state funded land grab. Meanwhile in Brooklyn we have a police force mounted the kind that could stop a small army, no not for some unarmed African merchant/possible rape suspect. Not for a mysterious homeless man hell-bent on starting track fires and damaging the pristine MTA, Not even to stop a mad terrorist bomber with a rental van. No the NYPD was properly deployed with our tax dollars to monitor a bike ride. Brooklyn Critical Mass on February 11th, 2005. I got very loose reports about this ride but it seemed positive. To police, big in size with their scooters and vans, chaperoned the ride and did not attack. They made communication with the 20-30 riders and even asked them to stop at red light, which the bike ride complied. No arrests. Remember, this is how all-good critical mass starts in cities all over the world. 20 riders, 50 riders…then into the thousands…just to go on a bike ride. Bravo.
Meanwhile our mayor who will not rest until his baby West side stadium is built and he can comfortably relax in his special skybox was busy bashing Madison Square Garden for being greedy and not playing fair like a good megalomaniacal corporation should be. How dare Cablevision compete with this stadium project trying to protect its interests? I mean MSG is no saint, its just funny to watch these two corporate giants bitch slapping each other while the peasants eat cake and can’t get their C train to work properly and who’s public schools lake playgrounds and where principals in the Bronx have to pull NYPD officers off of there students. It is infuriating that the debate about these stadiums leaves out the public interests and needs. Do we as a city where the average price of an apartment is One million dollars need to bow down to our mayor who can only think about making the Jets happy to tie up traffic on Sunday nights? I love sports, don’t get me wrong…but my favorite sport is Hockey and were sitting around wondering if our league will disband forever. I really hope they do complete that stadium and then the NFL goes on strike. Let’s face it; there isn’t much we can do.
There isn’t much we can do about loosing our public space and unique character of our city. Look at Brooklyn. Landowner Bruce Ratner, is going to be the big winner in Brooklyn with his new Basketball Stadium. Oh what jobs it will bring. Peanut vendors, and parking lot attendants and much more Baristas at Starbucks. Plus Bruce will get 17 towers ranging from 20 to 58 stories tall, 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space and 4,500 units of unaffordable housing. Yeah. Private gym facilities. I can just see it now. A giant monolith of corporate private space 1.3 times larger then the World Trade Center site, dedicated to licking Bruce Ratners boots. Meanwhile, you guessed it, we will all sit in traffic, go to stores that will be out of everything and not be allowed to loiter anywhere near the premises.
And then get ready for SPRAWL Mart which will be the first one to open in Rego Park Queens…can we stop this giant retail store that, yes provides jobs but doesn’t allow workers to form unions and receive adequate benefits? Wait, one store did form a Union in Canada…what did Wal-mart do? It closed the store. Bravo. Meanwhile Wal-mart had to settle a deal to pay for their violations of child labor laws. Well if our kids can make it in our failing schools they can always be box stackers at America’s number one largest employer. Mayor Bloomberg said in a press conference, “it was the city's job to decide which stores should open here. We have to make this city open to everybody," he said. "There's always two sides. Some people like big stores, some people don't like big stores, but that's in the end what the marketplace should determine." Hey I agree. Some people like to work for less than minimum wage and have illegal immigrants clean the floors at night until they get caught and to not promote woman and to not let their employees form a union and get due health insurance benefits and some people don’t. In the end it is up to the consumer to decide, right? Cause if they want that Chinese made lamp cheaper than anybody else and to support a global chain that undermines their local communities wellbeing…they should have it!


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