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DNAinfo reports that on Thursday, Harlem residents and members of Walmart Free NYC began protesting outside of a vacant lot at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, due to a rumor that Walmart wanted to move into the space. So while statistics show that some Manhattan residents have been busy shopping at Walmarts in the 'burbs, the members of Harlem United Against Walmart have been busy making it clear that they're not on board with the potential tenant.
City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said: "We should send a message loud and clear to Walmart that you are not welcome in New York City, because you are going to destroy small businesses." And Solomon Cromwell, who formerly owned a business in the vacant lot, says, "I used to have five businesses in Harlem; now I'm down to one. We don't need a Walmart—we need jobs that we can create to help our people."
The corner lot already has one other interested tenant, though: NFL player Emmitt Smith's development company is planning to put a Hyatt hotel there, as well as a new retail space that might include a supermarket "at a good price point," the company's president, Brian Morris, said.
But Walmart's Steve Restivo argues that New Yorkers do want the move: "[E]very statistic—from independent polling and shopping behavior to petition signatures and Facebook likes—shows that the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers think Walmart can be part of the solution in the city for folks who want a job or need more affordable grocery options in their own neighborhood."
· Locals Call for Walmart to Stay Out of Harlem [DNAinfo]
· Are Manhattan Residents Flocking to Walmarts in the 'Burbs? [Racked NY]