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You didn't hear it here first

But we are the first to bring it to your attention.

An astute reader of the New York Times may have noticed in the Metro section, section B, of January 23rd's 1997 paper, that they ran a near full page article on a growing chain of the 99 cents stores by Pakistani immigrants in the Bronx and Brooklyn. They seem to be pulling their resources together, and opening these stores successfully all across the city, propelling themselves upward from poverty and cab driving, to stability and middle class stature. Mitchel Moss is quoted as saying "The stores are filling a huge gap in the inner city". The Times is quoted as saying, "...the larger regional and national chains have generally not done well...Because of overexpansion, competition from individual stores and an inability to pay high rents in Suburban Malls." Further, it is reported that Marine Midland Bank is investing in the Pakistani community's business adventures.

The good people at the New York Times do an excellent job of reporting the news until they have to go north of 86th street, or east of the FDR Drive. They seem to skip over "New York", least until they reach suburban New Jersey and Nassau county.

All Brooklynites should be asking the following question, "Mr. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, owner and cheif editor of The New York Times, where the heck have you been the last 10 years!." One place Mr Sulzberger hasn't been is on intersection of Flatbush and Church Avenues. The area of the Flatbush Township, and Crown Heights over the last 10 years have been transformed from decaying dying community to one of the most robust shopping districts in the City of New York. Apartment Buildings have been snatched from the hands of death by hard working honest West Indian Immigrants who, amid high crime and hot tempers, with the help of family and Brooklyn Union Gas, have created more housing in this overcrowded neighborhood then every housing plan the city has thought of. Try driving on Sunday Morning from Prospect Park to the Junction at Nostrand Avenue and Flatbush. Take along something to read, because traffic is at a standstill. Business is bursting with activity up and down downtown Flatbush.

And Flatbush isn't alone in this. Koreans, Russians and Pakistani's are propping up business districts from Brighton to Greenpoint, and nearly everywhere in between. My Korean friend who owns a Comic Book store near Brooklyn College is working hard at a thriving business while writing books and publishing them as well, right here in our back yard. But don't worry. His father bought a house on Mill Ave in Mill Basin, one of the nicest areas in the city , on the foundation of a grocery store on 65th and 14th Ave in Bay Ridge. His parents can still barely speak a word of English. At 29, Hank, as we call him, had saved enough money working for his parents, that now his parents are working for him.

But this is not a new story. Nor is it new that Brooklyn is treated like a second class partner in it's nearly 100 year union with Manhattan, or that The New York Times doesn't make up for the real sort of Brooklyn centered reporting that we once got from the Brooklyn Eagle. The news is that currently the city and the Mayor are looking for new ways for New York to do retail business. And while everyone making the decisions have a Suburban or Manhattan point of view, much of what I've heard proposed, and much of what I am seeing happen, is going to have long term impact on the biggest Borough in the city, while it's citizens are half a sleep.

It is not unusual that a Manhattan problem gets a citywide solution which negatively impacts Brooklyn. Brooklyn and Manhattan are entirely different places with different needs. We can all think of such situations in various parts of our daily lives. Our lives are colored with trafic and zoning regulations designed for Manhattan interest with strange and often upsetting effects in our Borough.

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