Opposition to the restaurant has mounted amid charges by Saundra Halberstam of the 49/50 Block Association, environmental activist Bill Murawski and others that the McDonald's franchisee delayed responding to months of appeals to consider another location until after the deal was already fait accompli.
Concerns have also been voiced that the eatery may become a lure for unmanageable crowds of area high school students.
The 49/50th Street Association spearheaded opposition to the proposed opening of a McDonald's at the old American Savings Bank site at 735 Ninth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. A fast food place, such as McDonald's at this site wil cause unique harm to the community. There are two high schools on 49th and 50th streets; the High School and Graphics Communication Arts and Park West High school. The 5,000 students who attend these schools use 49th and 50th streets as "corridors" to get to and from school and the mass transit system. The proposed site for McDonald's lies directly at the apex of this corridor.
Let me explain OPERATION: SAFE CORRIDOR. Park West High School principal Stephen J. Budihas: "Over the course of the past three years an extremely effective program called 'Safe Corridor' has been developed allowing the two schools, the New York City Police Department, the Transit Police, the Division of School Safety and the World Wide Plaza Student outreach Organizations (which represents major corporations located on the same block) to work cooperatively to provide safety and security to students, local residents and pedestrians throughout our area.
Graphic Communication Arts Principal Stanley Turetsky said "Since the inception of this program (Operation Safe Corridor), the number of untoward incidents in the community has decreased making it a nicer place. To allow the establishment of McDonald's at this location is to provide an attractive nuisance where it is not needed and because of the uncontrollable factors presented will create a deleterious effect on the education of the children attending my school and the other schools in the area". Both principals, who have intimate knowledge of the students and the community, strongly urge that McDonald's not disrupt Operation Safe Corridor by opening right along it's route. McDonald's simply does not give these principals, the community or concerns any credence. They have ignored us. McDonald's is blinded by the potential customer base of 5,000 students who will be passing by every single weekday. This is their sole interest. McDonald's simply does not give these principals, the community or concerns any credence. They have ignored us.
It comes down to money vs. the interests of the community. Guess who is winning...