Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pols Cheer After Aqueduct Racino Groundbreaking, but Vendors Jeer, Saying They're Being Sold Short by Kate Nocera - NY Daily News

I find the Daily News headline to be misleading..In addition to the politicians at the groundbreaking, I think the over 1000 members of the community (me included) who attended the premier event were cheering, as well...I believe the Genting New York's new World Resorts New York will provide much needed jobs and provide financial stability to Ozone Park, Aqueduct Racetrack and the surrounding areas...

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About 100 merchants from the Plain and Fancy flea market protest Thursday's Aqueduct groundbreaking ceremony.

Vendors who operate a flea market in Aqueduct race track's parking lot say odds are they'll be the big losers now that developers have broken ground for a new casino.
A group of 100 vendors from the Plain and Fancy flea market protested yesterday's groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by dignitaries and elected officials, including Gov. Paterson. The vendors say they have not been told where they will be able to move when the market's lease expires in December.
"The flea market has been here for over 25 years," said food vendor Alfredo Goyochea, 42. "These are good local jobs. If the market is not here I don't know what I will do."
Casino developer Genting New York has said the project will create nearly 1,300 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs for the community.
Dan Silver, a spokesman for the New York Racing Association, which runs Aqueduct, said the association and Genting "are discussing what will happen next" for the displaced vendors.
But the merchants who sell from the South Ozone Park market three times a week said the construction will cost them their livelihood if they don't find a similar site.
"We are not against the casino," said clothing vendor Michael Aziz, 34. "But there are 1,000 vendors here who hire at least one or two workers. Those are permanent jobs. For many of us this is our only source of income."
It's not just the vendors who are upset about the market's potential shuttering.
"I'm on a fixed income so I buy everything I need here," said Georgia Bynes, 72, of South Ozone Park. "I buy my food here, my clothes, all my children's clothes. It's what I can afford. This is a great thing for this low-income community."
It was unclear to many of the vendors whether NYRA or Plain and Fancy's management is responsible for finding the market a new home. NYRA is under no obligation to renew the market's lease, an official said.
"We just want someone to tell us something," Aziz said. "There has been no communication. We just want to be able to sit down and discuss our future with them."
The management of Plain and Fancy has not told the vendors their plans for moving the flea market, and discouraged vendors from protesting the groundbreaking, vendors said. Plain and Fancy did not return repeated calls for comment.