February 08, 2007

Too rich for my blood

Wallace Mathews at News Day writes about the land surrounding Shea Stadium and how the value will force owners out on the street:

On the slick, computer-generated renditions of Citi Field, the road bordering the rightfield concourse looks as beautiful as the Champs-Elysees.

It is wide and freshly paved and tree-lined, and on the side across from the ballpark there are shops, a hotel and maybe even a convention center. There's not a junkyard or a foundry in sight.

In reality, 126th Street, which will adjoin the ballpark being built for the Mets, is as rutted and forbidding as a drive on the moon. There are no sewers or storm drains and it often is flooded, or on days like yesterday, as treacherous as a hockey rink.

"Soon this land is going to be worth a fortune," said Daniel Sambucci Sr., owner of an auto salvage yard directly across from the construction site. He said this not with anticipation but with dread.

The stretch of Queens formerly known as the Iron Triangle is about to turn to gold. But not for the Sambuccis, who have been there for 57 years, or for the Feinstein Ironworks, there for 75 years, or for T. Mina Supply, Inc., which furnishes most of the city's sewer pipes but can't get the city to build sewers under its own building.

Their fear, along with the 200 or so other small businesses packed into the rugged 50-acre tract of landfill called Willets Point, is that soon, someone from the city will come bearing a declaration of eminent domain forcing them to vacate.

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