Category Archives: Action Alerts

Green Beginnings for the South Bronx Waterfront

Community Action Against FreshDirect 

Saturday, March 22 | 12-2 pm

Join residents, faith leaders, organizations and
friends/allies for a community action on Harlem River Yards against the proposed relocation of FreshDirect to the South Bronx. Gather at Brook Park at noon to join in a march to Harlem River Yards for an interfaith reflection on the industrial facilities, waste transfer stations and trucking operations oversaturating the South Bronx and causing asthma rates eight times the national average. Participants will then have the option to plant sunflowers, renowned for detoxifying soil, along the brownfield waterfront.
Brook Park | 141 St/Brook Ave | 12-1 pm | Assemble at
Brook Park and march to Harlem River Yards.


Harlem River Yards| 1-2 pm | Interfaith reflection on
environmental injustice in the South Bronx and option to plant sunflowers to
detoxify soil.

South Bronx Unite Testifies Before NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection

Today, A. Mychal Johnson and Dr. Melissa Barber will provide testimony on behalf of South Bronx Unite to the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection on Oversight of Air Quality Impacts, Measures and Mitigation in Environmental Justice Communities.
“The South Bronx community suffers from asthma rates eight times the national average and asthma hospitalization rates 21 times that of other New York City neighborhoods,” began Dr. Barber, Mott Hvaen resident recently cited by Bronx Times as one of the 25 most influential women in the Bronx. “Twelve years ago, the ‘South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study,’ sponsored by Congressman José Serrano and administered by the U.S. EPA, concluded that the solution to this problem was to reduce the already overburdened rates of truck traffic in the community and to provide for more open space.”
A. Mychal Johnson, Mott Haven resident and delegate to the Region 2 New York State Open Space Committee, continued: “In the case of the South Bronx, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Industrial Development Agency (IDA) have been acting to not only encourage but to heavily subsidize more diesel truck intensive businesses to relocate to the South Bronx from other parts of the city, the most egregious and recent example of which is the proposed relocation of FreshDirect’s trucking operation to the South Bronx waterfront. EDC and IDA staff oversaw and approved the company’s cursory environmental assessment that was based off of a 20 year old Environmental Impact Statement and concluded that a thousand additional daily diesel truck trips would not negatively impact local residents. But we, along with more than 50 South Bronx and other city-wide organizations, disagree and are supported by scientific findings of the harm this project would bring.”

Tomorrow: Court Date to Stop FreshDirect

COURT DATE to Stop FreshDirect!
Thursday, December 5th at 2:00 pm (be there by 1:30 pm for the pre-hearing press conference!)
27 Madison Ave, Manhattan (between 25th and 26th Street)
Help defend the South Bronx from economic and environmental exploitation and stop the $127 million in subsidies to a polluting corporation that has never made a profit and never consulted the local community.RSVP HERE:


Appellate Division will hear oral arguments on the appeal filed by the New York
Lawyers for the Public Interest on behalf of South Bronx Unite,
challenging, among other things, the inadequate environmental review performed
by the NYC Industrial Development Agency for the proposed state and city
subsidized relocation of Fresh Direct from Long Island City to the South Bronx.
Preceding the oral argument, NYLPI and South Bronx Unite will host a press
conference in front of the courthouse.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) submitted an amicus brief to support
NYLPI’s claims that further environmental review is necessary and meaningful, particularly in
underserved and environmentally burdened communities such as the Mott Haven


Giorgio, Staff Attorney for Environmental Justice Program, NYLPI
A.  Mychal Johnson, South Bronx Unite
Rev. Ruben Austria, Community Connections for Youth
Libertad Guerra, South Bronx Unite
Bettina Damiani, Project Director, Good Jobs New York

Thursday, December 5, 2013
1:30 pm – Press conference
2:00 pm – Oral arguments
New York State Supreme Court, First Appellate Division
27 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Bike Tour/Rally on Sandy Anniversary

One Year After Hurricane Sandy, South Bronx Unite Invites Bronxites & Bikers to Sojourn from the South Bronx Waterfront to City Hall to Join the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding and Thousands from across the City to Call for Meaningful Community Engagement

When | Sunday, October 27, 1 pm – …
Where | Start @ Brook Park, E. 141st St & Brook Ave, South Bronx End @ City Hall, 250 Broadway

1-3 pm – South Bronx Waterfront Bike Tour – Join participants
of all ages to visit sites along the community-planned Mott
Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan
and learn about local organizing campaigns against pollution and unjust land-use from polluting fossil fuel power plants and waste transfer facilities that line the Bronx Kill waterway.  Hurricane Sandy hit this flood zone during low tide, causing 3.5 foot flooding in the area, with forceful waves that ripped a pier from its concrete foundation.
The tour will highlight the community’s vision for the public waterfront land (including the historic gantries, the 132nd St. pier,
designated open space on the waterfront, boat launches and the Randall’s Island Connector project) as well as the private interests that have been derailing the community’s vision and profiting off of pollution, including the proposed site for FreshDirect’s diesel trucking business (with a $127 million giveaway subsidy).


3-4 pmSojourn from the South Bronx to City
Hall by Bike or Train

At 3pm, bikers will trek over the 3rd Avenue Bridge and down the east side of Manhattan via the FDR bike trail to City Hall to join Alliance for a Just Rebuilding and thousands from across all
five boroughs (who are making their own journeys to City Hall by foot, bicycle and public transportation) to demand a just and equitable rebuilding of coastal areas that utilize recovery funds to create thousands of good and green jobs as well as smart and thoughtful planning for future storms that involves real inclusion
and engagement of impacted communities.  Those not able to bike can take a train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall.


4:30pmRally at City Hall – Mass mobilization at City Hall.
Click here to get more details and receive updates about the rally.  Read more about Alliance for a Just Rebuilding here.


The South Bronx is Going to Stand Its Ground

“Comptroller Liu claims city is
‘held hostage’ by FreshDirect deliver on tax breaks”
“John Liu blasts Bloomberg’s
support of city’s $127M FreshDirect deal”
“City panel rubber-stamps $127M in subsidies for FreshDirect move to the Bronx”
These were the headlines covering the IDA’s shameful approval this week of $87 million for FreshDirect, part of the $127 million FreshDirect is seeking to move to the South Bronx.  This deal is not over.  Prepare your testimony now for the Empire State Development Corporation hearing on the $50 million subsidy package from the State.  Use some or all of the draft testimony we have prepared covering the facts of this rotten deal.  Don’t wait because you know we don’t get notice!
*   *   *

For decades our neighborhood has been used as a dumping ground for the rest of the city, creating an unseemly and unfair health burden on our residents and our children. FreshDirect’s project is not only illegal, but immoral and racist. The only reason they have pushed this project through is because the area’s residents are black and brown, including a large percentage of immigrants.  FreshDirect and the city believed the area’s residents were not going to fight back for our environmental and health rights, but we are fighting back, and we will keep fighting until we win. We have dozens of strategies planned to stop this deal; so all these administrative and nepotistic short-notice meetings will not defeat us.  FreshDirect is not going to relocate to our waterfront.

Using tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer monies to benefit a private company while our schools are closing and while our kids lack green open spaces is immoral. Using taxpayer monies to subsidize a diesel truck intensive business while our residents suffer asthma rates 8 times the national average is also unethical and immoral. Blocking our waterfront access while the rest of the city develops waterfront spaces in other boroughs is racist and classist, for it is a decision based on the income and color of the area’s residents.

This deal will negatively impact already existing and thriving business in the area. This project will bring even more trucks to streets where deadly runovers by trucks are a common occurrence. This project will bring more asthma and respiratory ailments to our streets. This project will deprive current existing businesses in the area of the opportunities and help they need to thrive by giving away their taxes to a company that has never cared about us.

FreshDirect has denounced their own employees to Homeland Security rather than have them unionize. FreshDirect has promised electric trucks to the city’s residents since 2007, but has not delivered. The land where they want to build their warehouse is a documented Native American burial ground. FreshDirect plans to build in land that got flooded during Hurricane Sandy and that will surely get flooded again during the next storm, creating unfair and preventable environmental risks for the South Bronx. FreshDirect does not pay living wages and lies about what they pay their workers. The land where they want to build is publicly-owned land. It is our land. And we are against using public land for private profit.

For all of these reasons we will stand our ground. FreshDirect, the city and complicit electeds are well-aware of the community’s overwhelming opposition to this deal. We will get louder; we will resist; we will get more creative; we will fight for our land, our waterfront and our rights, and for the rights of all of those to come.

Tomorrow – All Out for IDA Meeting on FreshDirect and Press Conference

We need everyone who can to come out tomorrow for an IDA Board of Directors meeting on FreshDirect. The agenda includes an “additional resolution” with respect to FreshDirect, and we need all who can to show up for the meeting and the subsequent press conference.  Please wear your STOP FRESHDIRECT t-shirt.

New York City Industrial Development Agency
Board of Directors Meeting


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


9:00 am: IDA Board of Directors Meeting on FreshDirect | 110 William St, 4th Floor Board Room, New York, NY


10:00 am: Press Conference | 110 Williams St. New York, NY (in front of building)


Our press release will follow.

Upcoming: FreshDirect Returns to CB1 Wednesday, July 10

When: Wednesday, July 10, 5:30 pm
Where: Community Board 1 Office – 3024 3rd Avenue, Bronx

We need everyone to come out to the CB1 office this Wednesday, July 10, at 5:30 pm, to show FreshDirect that the community REJECTS their request for a land use plan modification to build a 500,000+ square foot warehouse/parking lot on our waterfront that will bring 1,000 more diesel trucks every day through our asthma-saturated community. Wear your “STOP FRESHDIRECT” T-shirt, or email us if you didn’t get one last time.


* * *

The community board is being reassembled this Wednesday to address and provide comments to the City Planning Commission on the narrow issue of whether FreshDirect should be allowed to have a land use modification in light of a restrictive covenant placed on the land they propose to occupy. City approval of FreshDirect’s proposed land use modification depends upon a finding that the proposed changes will:

(1) Not cause“overutilization of adjacent street systems”;
FreshDirect violates this requirement. Fresh Direct will cause overuse of already congested local roads and bridges: Despite their self-serving traffic analysis that treated their large diesel trucks as if they were cars, considerable concerns persist as to the impact Fresh Direct’s 2,000 daily truck and vehicle trips will have on local traffic and traffic inside the Yard (not to mention the air pollution).

(2) Not result in excess bulk and density on any portion of the Yard;
FreshDirect violates this requirement. Fresh Direct will result in excess bulk and density: Fresh Direct would occupy twice the acreage (13 acres) and building square footage (a 500,547 s/f warehouse) of the originally designated Wholesale Flower Market (5-7 acres). To make matters worse, the Yard is in a flood zone. With the certainty that additional and more extreme flooding will occur at increasing rates, such development (including its underground parking and refueling station) is ill-advised and dangerous.

(3) Not conflict with the project objectives of reducing local and regional truck traffic by importing goods into the City via rail while providing economic development benefits to the South Bronx and the City.  FreshDirect violates this requirement. Fresh Direct conflicts with the public objectives established for the Yard. Since it prevents operation of the intermodal terminal, will intensify congestion on local roads, and fails to offer living-wage jobs, Fresh Direct fundamentally conflicts with the City’s and State’s public objectives for this state-owned land.

(4) Not materially interfere with the operation of the intermodal terminal;  FreshDirect violates this requirement. Unlike the originally-planned Wholesale Flower Market, Fresh Direct plans to locate a truck parking lot entirely within the 28 acres reserved and zoned solely for the intermodal terminal. Fresh Direct’s traffic, including its need to access the Yard through Alexander Ave., would prevent the operation of the intermodal terminal.

Mott Haven Community Asks CB1 to Deny FreshDirect – Thursday, June 27 at 5:30 (3024 3rd Avenue, BX)

This Thursday, June 27th at 5:30 pm, we expect Freshdirect to come to Community Board 1 (3024 3rd Avenue, Bronx, NY) and present their plan of bringing misery to our community. Let’s not allow another polluting industry to come to our community with lies of how they will bring salvation.


  • FreshDirect will try to focus your attention on one particular hour’s worth of traffic, but there will be diesel trucks running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their truck route maps are not even accurate – they have their trucks going the wrong way down one way streets. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • FreshDirect will give lots of promises of converting to a “green fleet”, but those are just promises. When Hurricane Sandy destroyed more than 100 of their trucks last October, they had the opportunity to convert to electric, but they did not. The 10 electric trucks they claim as evidence of their green commitment are 100% taxpayer funded. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • Ten years ago, Congressman Serrano sponsored the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study, which exposed the link between the asthma crisis in the South Bronx and the community’s oversaturation of industrial facilities and highways. The solution was open space – not more city-subsidized projects bringing more trucks. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • The reason the community lost the lawsuit against FreshDirect (even though we are considering appeal) is because the judge said that a 20 year old environmental impact statement was good enough for our community. We continue to say that it is not. SAY NO to FreshDirect!


  • FreshDirect often cites an “average” wage of $11.25, but they do not explain how the majority of their recent job postings were for $8/hour part time positions. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • FreshDirect has a disturbing record of unfair labor and employee discrimination claims, and they do not accept employees with a criminal record. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • FreshDirect spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying city council and the mayor to be excluded from the living wage legislation, which says that any private development project accepting $1 million or more in taxpayer subsidies must pay employees a living wage of $10/hour with supplemental health benefits or $11.50/hour without benefits. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • Imagine if 127 small businesses in the South Bronx received a $1 million subsidy package each! Our local businesses, who have been employing our local residents for decades deserve a subsidy – not a company like FreshDirect, which is run by a former investment banker. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
  • Only $19 Million of the $127 Million subsidy is attached to job creation. So, if no jobs are created, they still get to keep more than $100 Million in subsidies. SAY NO to FreshDirect!


  • In the company’s ten year history, they never bothered to deliver to our zip code until we made that an issue and a rational disagreement for the subsidies.
  • FreshDirect’s prices are inflated. If you were to go grocery shopping at Western Beef for 3 pounds of ground beef chuck, 2 dozen eggs, 2 pounds of ground turkey, a 2 pound bag of onions, 2 sixteen ounce bags of black beans and a pound of strawberries, you would pay $21.03. The exact same food basket would cost $46.78 at FreshDirect – more than double!
  • Current acceptance of food stamps is only a pilot program, which is not permanent and is only offered to our zip code to lure our community into accepting 1,000 daily diesel truck trips.


  • The Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan was just placed on the list of high priority projects by The New York City – Region 2 Advisory Committee for the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan – a move that would preserve as open space seven interconnected projects lining the South Bronx shoreline, including the Bronx Kill Waterfront Park, the Park Avenue Boat Launch, the Lincoln Avenue Waterfront Park (with Alexander Avenue Extension), the East 132nd Street Pier, the Historic Port Morris Gantries and an overall connecting path. The full plan is available here.
  • The high priority status of the project was made following a series of meetings led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) with representatives from all five borough presidents’ offices and the New York City Departments of Parks and Recreation, Environmental Protection and City Planning, among others.
  • Hurricane Sandy demonstrated that we have to have a creative new vision for our waterfront, where we already have a 5,000 ton per day waste transfer station, a fossil fuel power plant and other truck-intensive warehouses that are designed to benefit Manhattan – not us.


Upcoming | South Bronx Bike Tour

When | April 20th, 12:00 pm
Where | Meet at Brook Park, E. 141st St & Brook Ave
(ride returns to the park)

Now in its 17th successful year, this innovative event is an example of a
sustained partnership between local and city-wide organizations, including Friends of Brook Park and South Bronx Unite. Again this year, we will visit the site they had proposed to put Fresh Direct to show the vast possibilities for this space from which the community would benefit.. We will also show where the South Bronx Greenway Randall’s Island Connector IS STILL NOT COMPLETED and provide actions to make this several year long promise a reality.

This is a leisurely tour that includes beautiful natural wonders of the waterfront, community gardens and art, and historic places. See the fresh cherry blossoms!
On this trip, participants of all ages are made aware through actual site
visits of polluting fossil fuel power plants and gargantuan waste
transfer facilities that litter our rivers’ shores. Alternatives to the
existing government policies are brought to everyone’s attention, with
post-ride action steps including promoting demonstrations, letter
writing, and email campaigns.


Time’s Up! provided critical outreach and promotion for this ride and early support has led to significant growth in attendance as well as continued support and involvement with the important efforts of Friends of Brook Park by ride participants. FoBP offers a video for further information about local organizing campaigns against pollution and unjust land-use siting issues.

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Sign Up Here for the Tour!

Upcoming: Our Day in Court | Monday, March 4

A little more than a year from the start of our battle against the relocation of FreshDirect to the South Bronx waterfront, this Monday, March 4th, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest will argue for our rights against an army of attorneys from FreshDirect, the NYCIDA, the NYCEDC, the NYSDOT, Empire State Development Corp. and Harlem River Yard Ventures.
We need all coalition members, supporters and allies from the environmental, food and social justice movements to stand shoulder to shoulder with us on this important day!
When: Monday, March 4, 8:30 am
Where: Bronx County Courthouse, North Steps
What: Press Conference Before Oral Arguments

Over the past year, together we have:

·Achieved a city-wide boycott of FreshDirect (with upwards of 700 people refusing to buy from the company until its plans for the South Bronx are stopped)


·Amassed the support of the local Community Board 1, City Council Members Mark-Viverito, Arroyo, and James, State Senator Serrano and Congressman Serrano

·Mobilized the support of the New York Grocers Association and the Bodega Association as well as individual brick and mortar grocery store owners

·Garnered agreement among 25 South Bronx and other city-wide organizations uniformly calling for an environmental impact statement and a rejection of the subsidies

·Re-envisioned a plan for waterfront development at Harlem River Yards with the assistance of urban planning teams from Columbia, Pratt and Hunter colleges

·Attended more than 100 public events giving presentations, providing testimony, leading tours of the area and handing out fliers with information withheld from the public

We are winning!