Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nine Arrested Protesting FreshDirect Relocation To South Bronx - Waterfront Access Denied

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Access Denied. A woman places a sun flower on the locked gate leading to the Harlem River Railyard along the water front in the South Bronx while protestors sit in front of the gate. The DOT  NY State-owned has been leased to the Galesi group for 99 years.
(Photos: By Leah Kozak via Twitter)

Nine people were arrested protesting the Bloomberg-era city and state subsidies being offered to relocate Fresh Direct  and the community's continued lack of waterfront access.   

The community is asking the de Blasio adminisration to drop its opposition the environmental lawsuit.


By Geoffrey Croft

The public has long been denied acess to the waterfront in the South Bronx.  Cut off by industry and pollution causing businesses. 

For years this community has organized to prevent what they feel is yet another inappropriate use of public land and tax dollars. 

The familiar BOYCOTT fresh Direct stickers can be found in many neighborhoods.  

On Saturday more than 100 people marched to the Harlem River Rail yards in the South Bronx to protest the Bloomberg-era city and state subsidies being offered to relocate FreshDirect and lack of waterfront access.

Nine South Bronx residents were arrested in the peaceful civil disobedience action when a blocked gate prevented them from entering the public brownfield land on the waterfront, the proposed location of controversial FreshDirect relocation. Their intention they say was to plant detoxifying sunflowers. 

Those arrested include faith leaders, directors of local organizations and other South Bronx community leaders.  

The movement is asking Mayor de Blasio to drop opposition to environmental lawsuit. 

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Neighborhood residents walk along E. 138th Street in the South Bronx.  The day began with a rally at  a local park which was preceded by a march down to the Harlem River rail yards at St. Anns Avenue near E. 132nd street.  "Fresh Direct no es nuestro amo, No seremos tus esclavos!" 

Last year residents filed a lawsuit to opposition to FreshDirect’s proposed relocation. The lawsuit also seeks a full environmental impact study of the proposed project.  

Residents are calling on Mayor de Blasio to drop the City’s opposition to the lawsuit and support the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan which would provide more than 100,000 people access to a public waterfront that, for decades, has been inaccessible.

Chanting "South Bronx Demands Respect - Boycott FreshDirect, "  and "Este es nuestro espacio,  Escucha Bill de Blasio" the group arrived at the Harlem River Yard and placed sunflowers on the locked gate. The peaceful and exuberant event included traditional Puerto Rican plena drummers, a mariachi band, giant puppets, local children playing cello, and an interfaith reflection.    

FreshDirect, if allowed to proceed, would bring 1,500 additional daily truck trips through the South Bronx.  Critics argue that the plan is a Bloomberg-era relic attempting to give the diesel-intensive on-line grocer nearly $130 million in public subsidies to move to this public waterfront land from Queens. 

Critics also point out that the community is already burdened by asthma hospitalization rates at 21 times that of other New York City neighborhoods and the land should instead be used for open space. 

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Those arrested included faith leaders, directors of local organizations and other South Bronx community leaders.   The group also chanted, "Rubencito, pobecito Amiguito del Blumbito."

Boycott FreshDirect

Read More:

South Bronx Residents March, Rally Against FreshDirect's Proposed Move
 NY 1 - March 23, 2014 -  By Erin Clarke

New York Times - March 4, 2013 -  By Winnie Hu

1 comment:

  1. Great inspiring action! Isn/t Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Council Member for that area? The Speaker position many say prevents the actual district form getting attention anymore, happened with Quinn letting St Vincent's hospital close. Hope the current Speaker is different and stops Fresh Direct and gets that waterfront redone, it is a potential benefit for the entire city that is just a dump and fallow now.