Days from demolition, businesses hold out in Willets Point

Willets Point
Willets Point

WEEKENDEDITION The city may use eminent domain to clear Willets Point, the 62-acre area by the Unisphere of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park used by hundreds of businesses, in order to clean up the blighted commercial zone.

Last week, the Queens Borough Board signed off on Sterling Equities and the Related Companies’ acquisition of 23 acres for the $3 billion Willets Point redevelopment project. The first phase of the redevelopment plan is scheduled to begin next Saturday, but with the wrecking ball only a week away, many business are operating as usual.

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“The city wants to close it down and build restaurants, or something else,” a man who goes by Flaco, and has become a veteran Willets Point worker, told the New York Times. “Yes, it looks ugly, but they don’t see that we’re people.”

And with so many immigrant workers with nowhere else to go for work active at Willets Point, it is likely that businesses will still be open on demolition day. [NYT] Christopher Cameron