Dec. 9, 2014 By Christian Murray
Call it a preemptive strike.
A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards.
A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week.
The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures.
Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.”
Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use.
But the petitioners say not so fast.
“Sunnyside and Long Island City’s infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads.
“The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don ‘t know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards – bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.”
Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.”
Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: “We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse.”
This idea is terrible no matter which way they try to spin it. Wouldn’t this begin the “Manhattification” of LIC/Sunnyside and turn it into a potential terror target?
I take issue with Doctoroff’s characterizing the rail yards as a “scar.” I don’t see it that way. I love the big sky over the yards and I find that the tracks and trains make for interesting viewing. In short, I find the yards visually appealing and agree with others who feel the area is congested enough as is. I say, save the yards!
Why does any place need to become a “cross-borough” destination? Why do people latch on to the latest idea promulgated by business people looking to suck money out of your pocket? Can’t you recognize a gang operating a racket when you see one?
I’m personally split on this issue. Because I’d like to see more development, for the neighborhood to become more of a cross-borough destination for everyone in the city, but at the same time, the petitioners are right. There’s already a lot coming down the pipeline. We really should have more infrastructure built alongside the development; not after it becomes a crisis.
Maybe you should tell the NY Times.