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Queens Chronicle

Be wary of Willets Point deal

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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:30 am

One of the best pitchers in Mets history, Jerry Koosman, was at Citi Field last week to help pack potatoes as part of the joint effort by the Mets and Citibank to aid City Harvest.

Koosman has always been involved in farming in his home state of Minnesota so it was natural to discuss agriculture and its importance to America’s well-being. “Farming would be more efficient if government stayed out of things and simply let the marketplace decide,” the 1969 World Series star said, echoing core Tea Party beliefs.

Jerry shook his head in disbelief when I told him how Mayor Bloomberg had used taxpayer funds to have the city purchase a good chunk of the land just east of Citi Field so that Sterling Equities, the real estate company run by Mets CEO Fred Wilpon, and Related Companies, the commercial realty behemoth owned chiefly by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, could develop Willets Point.

The mayor did not even try to pretend there was competitive bidding in this land grab. So much for transparency in government.

I am still trying to figure out why Sterling and Related couldn’t buy up the property directly from the owners without Bloomberg’s intervention. Twenty years ago Tribeca was a neighborhood of warehouses and printing plants. The free market was responsible for the area becoming home to the city’s priciest apartments and trendiest restaurants. As far as I know, Tribeca redevelopment never received any nudging from City Hall.

Wilpon and Ross want to use the land across from the Mets’ home for a parking lot and shopping mall, and apartment buildings that would not be built until 2025. Why the housing would lag badly behind the parking lot and mall is a mystery.

There was talk before the Madoff scandal that the Wilpon family was interested in acquiring a soccer team and building a venue like Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. Another rumor was that a hockey arena would be built at Willets Point for the Islanders. A third possibility was a convention center to compete for smaller trade shows now going to the Meadowlands Expo or the Nassau Coliseum. Any of the aforementioned are better uses for Willets Point than what was announced last week.

Forget Occupy Wall Street. New Mets minority owner, and host of HBO’s popular “Real Time,” Bill Maher should try to organize Occupy 126th Street. This is a clear case of one percenters scratching each other’s backs at the taxpayers’ expense. There is something that stinks about the Willets Point development plans and it’s not the stench of Flushing Bay on a hot, humid day.

Mets first-round draft pick Gavin Cecchini met with the media before last Friday night’s game. He wore a Mets jersey that had the number 2 on it. I mentioned to him to that there is another shortstop in this market that has worn that number for years and inquired if his choice of a uniform number was a coincidence. “Derek Jeter is my favorite ballplayer of all-time!” Cecchini said as he enthusiastically listed many of the Yankees captain’s attributes. “Can we strike that off the record?” immediately quipped Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson.

It was the textbook definition of chutzpah for the Mets to appeal to Major League Baseball to have the Tampa Bay Rays’ BJ Upton’s infield single retroactively ruled an error on David Wright so that RA Dickey could be given credit for a no-hitter. Funny, I don’t remember the Mets appealing to MLB to have the blown call on the Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran line drive that hit the foul line ruled a double instead of a strike, which was a key factor in preserving Johan Santana’s June 1 no-hitter.

You can tell the 2012 Olympics must be imminent. I just bought a box of Corn Flakes that had 1992 gold medalist swimmer Summer Sanders’ photo on it.

Adam Sandler’s latest film, “That’s My Boy,” is painful to sit through, but Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan proves to be a natural actor as he has a cameo role portraying a lawyer who is a Tom Brady-Bill Belichick hero-worshiping fan. NBC Sports air personality and Sports Illustrated columnist Dan Patrick also shines as a sleazy daytime talk show host.

If you can put up with the heat and humidity of the Miami summer, the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura is offering free golf and discounted spa treatments as part of its vacation packages that run through Sept. 30.

If you have ever wanted to learn how to fly but did not know where to get started, log onto letsgoflying.com, which is operated by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. There is a list of reputable flight schools in our area.

I was unaware that baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench is a skin cancer survivor until I read his column in this past Sunday’s edition of the Daily News. Bench is imploring all Little League players to put on sunscreen before they head out to the field.

Obviously Bench’s advice is that we should all be using some form of protection from the harmful rays of the summer sun. While we all know to put some SPF lotion on our faces we often overlook our lips. Forest Hills High School Class of 1983 alum Ramy Gafni has done very well for himself with his Manhattan spa and his line of personal care products. According to Gafni, RAMY lip oil that helps prevent blisters and chapping also has a high sun protection factor.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • daxodden posted at 11:01 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    daxodden Posts: 0

    In Major League Baseball, it is not uncommon for singles to retroactively be ruled errors (and vice-versa). However, it is unheard of for foul balls to be ruled doubles retroactively. What are you going to do, put a virtual runner at second base and try to imagine how the inning might've proceeded from that point? There is a huge difference between correcting a bookkeeping entry and changing history. Please look elsewhere for a textbook definition of Mets chutzpah.

  • joe w posted at 10:18 am on Fri, Jun 22, 2012.

    joe w Posts: 6

    we always new the mayor was trying to steel this land at willets point and give it to the mets , yes it does stink, the land owners of willets point will fight and hold things up for years and years, look what they did so far .

  • Land theft posted at 8:44 pm on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    Land theft Posts: 0

    This has been a land grab from day 1 watch now how the attention of her majesty shulman and bloomberg turns to the other side of the river where they will try and convince people that the area across the river on college pt blvd is a brownfield so they can they use eminent domain on those poor souls and complete their visions& conspiracy to have tdc development develop the property....funny they have been buying up huge chunks of land over there....beware of what you agree to because one day they will come for you too