At Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, where for decades parishioners have rallied to denounce neighborhood drug dealers, people gathered last summer to demonstrate against an enemy that deals in digital cameras, toasters, shower curtains and thousands of other products.

Where's Reverend Billy? That quote is from today's NY Times article about people trying to stop a Wal-Mart from coming to the Bronx. Nevermind that Wal-Mart hasn't officially said that they'd like to bring one of its store to the borough - activists are just making sure it never ever happens. This is in spite of the majority of Bronx residents saying they would welcome a Wal-Mart.

Activists explain that even though the store would bring cheap items and more jobs, the jobs won't be quality jobs and smaller businesses are hurt. But there is some good news:

Activists are emboldened by two behind-the-scenes victories in the Bronx. Earlier this year, the developer turning the old Bronx Terminal Market into a shopping mall specifically agreed not to lease space to Wal-Mart.

And the request for proposals for the redevelopment of the giant Kingsbridge Armory, issued in September by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, discourages suburban-style big-box stores.

Many local Bronx politicians are split - some are vehemently opposed to Wal-Mart coming, while others, including Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and City Councilman Joel Rivera, are more cautious.

The most interesting factoid from the article: "Wal-Mart officials say a new store would create about 300 jobs and generate about $5 million in tax revenue for the city. Last year, New York City residents spent about $128 million at Wal-Mart stores in New Jersey and Connecticut, and in Westchester County and on Long Island in New York, the company said."

Here's the Wal-Mart Free NYC website - have you seen the Wal-Mart No Way ad on NY1?

Photograph of an Art Parade group's take on Wal Mart by Urban Shore Girl on Flickr