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Malls and the death of Downtown

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The powers of the Yankee Dollar are too visible on our local main streets where neighborhood stores have lost their shoppers to raiding intruders — the brazen mall-builders who suck the dollars to the roadside traffic jams.

Now that the Walmart threat menaces us in headlines, we have to examine the past, before forecasting the future…

On the southwest corner of Avenue U, at Flatbush Avenue, an uneven corner was sold and its Volkswagen dealership shuttered. With careful plotting the new owners submitted their idea to our city planners.

Posing their plan as a novel nautical concept, they submitted a plan that would give Brooklyn a Cape Cod atmosphere of shopping on the Flatbush Avenue roadside and the Mill Basin inlet, it was shopping center where you could dock your yacht.

During the public hearings, the plotters flaunted regatta flags and nautical banners that promised Brooklyn shoppers a new concept.

Their artists did show a corner parking field with fluttering flags in the inlet breeze. But during the lengthy NYC hearing no mention of a huge parking garage was submitted.

The few who testified predicted that Flatbush Avenue traffic could go from impassable to impossible, but City Planners, without hesitation, approved the plan.

As quickly as the ink had dried, excavators moved in and dug halfway to Hades, all to set up a 12-level parking garage.

As predicted by one speaker, on the opening Saturday night, traffic in fact went from impassable to impossible.

On Avenue U, the city posted “No Standing” signs forcing drivers to pay $2.00 to park and shop.

Going back to the 1960s, our borough’s Downtown — Fulton Street — was so very alive, one mile from Flatbush Avenue to the west was the entrance to our great bridge to Manhattan.

The raiders came in just as John Lindsay took over as mayor and new city planners were selected. The “big wheelers” met the “big dealers” while Fulton Street stores started to exit quietly. They relocated to Nassau & Suffolk Counties and to New Jersey — their tax havens. Namm’s, A & S, and Loesser’s were closed. So, too were the Brooklyn Paramount and the Fox theaters along with many other chain stores and restaurants. Going shopping in NYC meant going to Manhattan, while Brooklyn shopping streets faded, drowning in meter maids who ticketed shoppers but ignored the “No Standing Anytime” signs alongside Kings Plaza on Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue.

One-by-one, great Brooklyn neighborhoods faltered and failed! Shopping areas on Flatbush Ave. Nostrand Ave., and Kings Highway were all drained and remodeled from high fashion to fruit and vegetable sidewalk stands.

As Borough President Abe Stark shoveled dirt at the Kings Plaza ground breaking ceremony, a forecaster whispered to him, “You are carving the dirt for the burial of your Pitkin Avenue stores and all of Brooklyn”.

More to come about our “City Plotters” as drummers are now beating serenades for the invaders from the Orient hoping to drain a neighborhood near you, opening a new market for their foreign imports on new road shopping centers. There is still time to Speak Out now!

(Coming next — Watch them rape our Belt and other NYC parkways!)

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