Displaced Fulton Streeters are none too pleased

By · Published in 2008


At some point, a Fulton St. Transit Hub will live here. It might just be a hole in the ground with a ladder. (Photo by Newkirk Plaza David from Subchat)

As the news keeps coming in, this Fulton St. overhaul isn’t getting much favorable play. While the New York Post graciously obnoxiously noted how they knew the ornate hub was doomed from the start, the displaced Fulton St. business owners had their proverbial day in the sun earlier this week.

Writing for the Newsday-owned amNew York, Ryan Chatelain tracked down some of the people who were forced out of Fulton St. by the MTA. Not only are they annoyed, but they claim the MTA didn’t adequately compensate them for their troubles. When it rains, it pours.

Mirza Mamur closed his art gallery, endured 10 months of unemployment, took out loans to make ends meet and then struggled to re-establish his business at a new location.

He was one of more than 140 business owners displaced by plans for the Fulton Street transit hub in lower Manhattan. Now, after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it was again scaling back the project – and scrapping its centerpiece, a 110-foot-tall, steel-and-glass-domed entranceway – Mamur is asking if he was needlessly pushed out.

“If this thing doesn’t happen, of course I want my place back,” said Mamur, who owns Glamour Art Gallery, now in midtown. “That’s the reason I gave my store.”

But Mamur’s complaint isn’t necessarily about the construction delay. Mamur claims the MTA paid him just $12,000 to relocate while his own appraiser assessed his property at $120,000. Mamur is not alone. Billy Baldwin, a cookie maker, recieved $60,000 on a place that cost him $300,000 to open.

While the MTA, according to Chatelain, is going to reach a settlement with folks who feel undersold, this will just send costs that much higher. Real estate costs were the first sign that the Fulton St. Hub wouldn’t fall within the right budget; an ornate design for Grand Central South followed.

As time drags on and costs rise, budget estimates from two or three years ago will seem even less adequate. What’s the MTA to do? They have a hole in the ground; now they just need a completed transportation hub.

Categories : Fulton Street

10 Responses to “Displaced Fulton Streeters are none too pleased”

  1. Peter says:

    Look for a plan to solicit a long-term lease to a developer to build a signature building here.

    Trump Central Station, anyone?

  2. So was this an eminet domain kind of thing for the business in that area. We went thru something like that and it got postponed by one person refusing and battling in court and they lost now they are in the process of making a public area with a multi plex area for people to go at night for entertainment.

    I bet Tump would be interested to except he called it the “Grand Trump Station” I bet.

  3. Marc Shepherd says:

    It sort of reminds me of what happened along the path of the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Robert Moses hustled people out of their homes and demolished the buildings; then, the space stood vacant—sometimes for years—waiting for construction to finally catch up with it. Moses did that with his Slum Clearance programs, too. This is nothing new in New York.

    But let’s not get all misty-eyed for that block of Broadway between Fulton and John. It is possible to do better—a lot better—than those undistinguished buildings. Letting Trump build on that space might even produce a more useful structure than the Fulton Street Transit Center.

  4. Alon Levy says:

    Those undistinguished buildings are what makes a productive city, rather than just a shiny downtown surrounded by slums and suburbs. They’re what differentiates New York from Philadelphia and Baltimore and Newark.

  5. Gary says:

    I will be very, very disappointed if we end up with the ladder.

    I was truly looking forward to a pleasant gateway to the underground. Aesthetics are important; it sets the tone for a person’s day. The old setup at Fulton was one of the most depressing imaginable. The proposed glass building, with all of that natural light and airy feel to it, would be the opposite – an uplifting setting.

  6. Marc Shepherd says:

    I’m not sure those undistinguished buildings were contributing all that much (in relative terms) to “a productive city, rather than just a shiny downtown surrounded by slums and suburbs.” That soaring rhetoric sounds great, but doesn’t jive very well with the buildings that were actually there.

  7. Alon Levy says:

    There was business there – Ben’s post mentions an art gallery and a cookie making shop.

  8. Marc Shepherd says:

    There is business everywhere. If your only objection is that businesses were displaced, then by that argument the state could never build anything. I can’t tell whether your argument is that the state should never displace anybody, or that you feel there was something special about this site in particular. That art gallery was basically a framing shop with a few bottom-tier wall hangings for sale. That cookie shop was a commuter bakery.

  9. Alon Levy says:

    My point is, it’s not some blighted area that has no economic activity. It’s not some long-gone industrial SoHo block that could be safely rezoned for residential use since the manufacturing there is nonexistent.

    And sure the state could build things. There’s a site on the western end of Lower Manhattan that has no activity right now, except a compound in construction belonging to Port Authority. With connections to several subway lines as well as PATH, it would be an ideal Lower Manhattan train station to e.g. reroute commuter rail lines to.


  1. […] list of New Yorkers annoyed at the plans to overhaul the Fulton St. Transit Hub. They join the displaced merchants as everyone tries to finger the MTA for this misguided plan’s […]

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