Less than two weeks after the Daily News reported on health inspectors cracking down on volunteers distributing food to victims of Hurricane Sandy, the Times reports that a representative from the mayor's office threatened to shut down a distribution center on Staten Island because it was obstructing the sidewalk. “He told us, ‘we’re moving you out,’ ” volunteer and Staten Island resident Farid Kader said. “He told us it was unsafe. That’s the word he used.”
A stretch of 489 Midland Avenue where resident Aiman Youseff's damaged home lies became a distribution center for hot food and clothing, as well as a place where cleaning crews could organize. Volunteer groups such as Occupy Sandy and Yellow Team have also used the site as a staging location.
Despite the City's staunch commitment to keeping sidewalks clear, police told the volunteers they could remain if they took up less space on the sidewalk. “If it wasn’t for the volunteer, nothing would be getting done out here,” Kader added. “If [the City] wanted to start a site on Midland Avenue themselves we would clap hands and walk away.”