Now the raiders race for our parkways.
It was more than 10 years ago when our community board manager reported the devious schemes sprouting up in a very quiet corner of our community.
At the tip of Bath Beach there was an old Irish-Italian community catering to modest income families in modest homes.
Several residents came to our community board alleging that they were constantly being harassed by real estate agents to sell their homes.
The agents warned them that a builder wanted to buy them out. So they had better sell to the agents, or else their homes would be knocked down like all the rest of them.
“But I don’t want to sell!” was the cry.
But sell they did.
And all to Home Depot.
The mega-store started to buy up New York just like it did New Jersey.
A few months later, a Home Depot agent went to City Hall for a double-header, seeking a rezoning of a housing area at Manhattan’s FDR exit near 110th Street, that the Home Depot rep calledEast Harlem. The residents there tried hard to shout out the rep by chanting, “We have enough jobs here without Home Depot.”
Next door, going into the City Council chamber, we came across another culprit;a white woman with two teenage boys. As we approached, we saw her open up two new white shirts that she gave to these youths along with knotted new neck ties, she instructed each one, “Remember. I want you to say, ‘I Live in Coney Island and my dad isn’t working. That is why we want you to approve this Home Depot for Coney Island. So our dad can find work.’ ”
After the charade, we went back to the hearing room and a developer arose to speak, he dropped a flurry of papers and picked up many. One fell under our feet, and we scanned it carefully. It was a map of most of South Jersey roadways and almost every exit had a Home Depot, which effectively knocked out almost every hardware store in each town.
Home Depot owned New Jersey and was now after our parkways and hardware stores.
When we picked up that Monday’s Daily News, page one of the Brooklyn section had a half page photo of the man who dropped those papers and was now facing charges as a Williamsburg builder who demolished a theater, then ordered the debris to be dumped off at a nearby pier. There, a fisherman who was upset by the dumping fell into the river and drowned.
We folded that paper and handed it to a secretary of the planning commission as an insight on this “Raider.”
It didn’t help. Soon, we watched our city planners stamp their approval for the Home Depot off our own Belt Parkway.