Friday, May 12, 2006

Greenpoint Flambée: Residents Demand Inferno Investigation

With the rubble of the Greenpoint Terminal Market as a backdrop, neighborhood residents yesterday demanded an independent investigation and asked whether the inferno was set as part of a "calculated and callous plan" to speed up waterfront development. They also asked for more air quality monitoring by the EPA and DEP, and greater community scrutiny of development projects. Ironically, the morning rally was held a year to the day after the City Council approved the massive waterfront rezoning permitting high rise development in low-rise Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

"This disaster must not be swept under the carpet," the North Brooklyn Alliance's Dewey Thompson said. "We deserve answers to the question of how the fire was started, what the health impacts for our families are and what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again."

There is strong community sentiment to preserve the remaining Greenpoint Terminal Market structures. Despite the massive blaze, half of the complex is still standing. Without quick action, "all of the buildings could be flattened tomorrow by their current owners," says writer and local activist Catherine Aman.

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