"It will destroy my business, destroy my livelihood," said Sambucci, manager of the auto salvage shop Sambucci Brothers on 36th Avenue, a neighborhood fixture for 50 years. "We all know if the stadium comes, they're going to get rid of us."The so-called Iron Triangle is crammed with hundreds of junkyards and garages that their owners fear will be displaced by the city's 11th-hour plan to salvage an Olympic bid with a new 45,000-seat stadium in Flushing to host the 2012 Games.Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the businesses an ominous prediction at a news conference in Bayside Monday, saying they might have to be sacrificed for progress."It is a wonderful piece of property and we cannot afford to have a piece of property that size that just has junkyards. They'll have to find a place to go elsewhere," Bloomberg said. "We have to move on. We just can't sit here and say we can't touch anything because there is a handful of small businesses."Richard Lipsky, director of the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, a small business advocacy group based in Manhattan, chided the mayor for those comments, saying many of the auto shops are family-owned operations that provide a valuable service."They're being treated like slum dwellers and that's not fair. That's not fair at all," said Lipsky, who is in the process of trying to gauge how many businesses operate in the district. Developers have been looking for years to overhaul the 48-acre site between Shea and Flushing Bay. The Queens Chamber of Commerce unveiled plans earlier this year for a new conference center and hotel.Melvin Lorenzana, owner of Tolima's Auto Repair on 37th Avenue, feared that he and his colleagues were getting lost in the shuffle."How can they have money for this when they don't have money for schools? Programs to help the elderly?" he asked. "But they have the money to build stadiums? Basically, I'll be unemployed in the street if they kick us out of here."Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said she would do all she could to help the auto shops."I am going to work hard to make sure that we try to find some other locations for them," she said at Monday's news conference in Bayside. "I have a couple of ideas. I'm not going to discuss them now."Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2005 Community News Group
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