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Protesters Disrupt Sunnyside Yard Public Meeting in LIC, Chaotic Scenes

(Queens Post)

Sept. 17, 2019. By Shane O’Brien 

Dozens of protesters disrupted the city’s Sunnyside Yard public meeting Monday night that took place at Aviation High School in Long Island City.

The meeting, organized by the Economic Development Corp., descended into chaos when about 80 protesters from a number of different organizations staged an alternative public meeting in the cafeteria of the high school.

Members of Stop Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) Bullies, Queens Neighborhood United, Queens anti-gentrification Project and Centro Corona all took part in the protest.

The protest took place while the EDC tried to conduct the meeting that essentially consisted of two segments– an exhibition of design concepts in the school’s cafeteria and an hour-long Q and A in the teacher’s lounge.

The raucous protesters voiced their discontent by holding a community teach-in in the cafeteria while the Q and A session was taking place. The protest lasted for roughly an hour.

Several speakers climbed onto the cafeteria tables and addressed the watching crowd. One speaker claimed that the EDC community meetings “are fake,” while a number of speakers said that Sunnyside Yard would become just another Hudson Yards.

The group argued that the EDC overestimated the potential revenue of the Hudson Yards site in West Manhattan, leaving the city in huge debt as a result.

Tom Angotti and James DeFilippis, both professors in urban planning, lectured the crowd on the potential adverse effects of the Sunnyside Yard project.

“When the EDC tell us that Sunnyside Yard is planned for 100 years, I have to laugh because nothing in New York City is planned beyond two years. It’s a lie,” Angotti said.

Tom Angotti addresses the crowd (Queens Post)

The protest group loudly chanted a number of phrases and made it almost impossible for EDC employees to put a stop to the protest. The group alleged that the EDC is in the pocket of developers and that it panders to the wealthy in New York.

The group regularly shouted, “Don’t build a city for the rich, improve the city that exists.”

Adam Grossman Meagher, Director of Sunnyside Yard, attempted to quash the protest and stood on a table himself as he tried to restore calm, but he was drowned out by loud chants of “let them speak” and he gave up and retreated to the Q and A meeting in the teacher’s lounge.

The protest group eventually followed him to the teacher’s lounge and attempted to gain entry to the Q and A. However, the door was locked which prompted incessant chants of “let us in.”

Ray Rogers, founder of the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies said that the EDC “is a cesspool of corruption.

“They follow the policies that adhere to the Real Estate Board of New York,” Rogers said. “It causes so much displacement and shutting down of small businesses throughout the city.”

Rogers said that the EDC had been offering the community lip service about the Sunnyside Yard master plan and that Monday’s protest was about putting pressure on them to answer questions and make real change.

He also criticized the EDC for holding Monday night’s Q and A in a small and crowded room which made it difficult for large numbers of people to attend. The meeting also started at 5 p.m.

Grossman Meagher rejected the premise of the group’s protests and said that the EDC always tried to hire developers who could get the city the best deal. He also rejected any comparisons between the development at Hudson Yards and Sunnyside Yard.

“This is very different to Hudson Yards. This is western Queens and western Queens is not like the west side of Manhattan. It has different needs, it has different people, it has a different history and a different scale,” Grossman Meagher said.

“Hudson Yards happened at a different moment in time with a different set of concerns that were driving us. Hudson Yards happened during an Olympic bid and when millions of square feet of office space were lost downtown. It was a very different set of objectives.”

Grossman Meagher said that the city would be holding a fourth public meeting on the Sunnyside Yard master plan before the end of the year.

Rogers said that many of Monday night’s protesters would be looking to attend.

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22 Comments

And now the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

This is the same kind of crappy behavior we get in the schools.

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And in a puff they will be gone

Shame on the SSP that its not publishing the wonderful exhibit that the EDC put on last night but instead choose to publish a bunch of miss fits that selfishly hijacked the event. i spoke to a few of them after their little dog and pony show and the ones i spoke to could barely find sunnyside on the map let alone have roots in the community. My guess is Cortez and that other fool Caban help orchestrate it. Did anybody see Van Bramer there? i didnt. One knows Jimmy is never shy in giving up a photo opportunity only this time he probably have warning that they event would turn toxic.

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Guest

It would be great if someone could ask them where they live, I agree with this one, generally these demonstrators and chanters have alternative motive for these things.

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Beatrice

There were more organizations there than listed in this article including the Coalition to Stop Sunnyside Yards which is made of local residents. http://www.stopsunnysideyards.org. There were a range of groups and individuals there and some protested vocally and some not vocally. This article didn’t full address the facts.

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SunnysideK

The people of Queens apparently do not want any improvements at all. Every new plan to upgrade the community is met with irrational anger. They are content to let it slide into squalor while the rest of nyc improves day by day. Look around you at the garbage, rats, prostitution, litter, gangbangers and general slow deterioration of this borough. By all means vote for the people who want to open the floodgates of prostitution and spend our hard earned tax dollars on illegals who pile into Queens by the truckloads. The rest of the city will enjoy their parks, job producing industries, clean-ish streets and prosperity while we sink into the cesspit. Wake up Queens!

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I remember yesterday

These NYCEDC wants to building a city on TOP of the rail yard… There’s going to be this city in the sky that casts shadows over Sunnyside Gardens. It’s going to look so awful! They should dig tunnels for the train so they can build on ground level! Not build a city on top of a platform.

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Dietmar Detering

Ah, right. Bullies. Not sure whether they dominate the planning process, but I am certain they’ve dominated yesterday’s otherwise polite and comprehensive information session. Thanks for force-feeding us your chants!

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Mac

If you can’t afford to live here then move to a place you can afford to live. Nobody owes anybody subsidized housing. Many of my friends and relatives had to move out of the area in the 70’s & 80’s and they were educated hard working law abiding citizens, it wasn’t the end of the world they didn’t demand government pay their way.

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Killian Killman Ave

Counterpoint: you have a right to voice your concerns the living conditions and changes in your community.

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