Sunday, August 05, 2007

Business - Herald News - Residents want chicken takeout store closed

Published in the [Paterson] Herald News, Monday, May 21, 2007

Residents demand that takeout chicken store close


PATERSON -- Relatives of two of the victims shot in recent days in or near a takeout chicken restaurant on Rosa Parks Boulevard called on the city Sunday to close the store.

Carrying a white poster board on which she had scrawled "shut this chicken store down," Michele Tobias said the restaurant was a "hangout" that attracted the wrong crowd and made the neighborhood unsafe. Tobias' cousin James Felton, 30, was shot and killed inside New York Fried Chicken at 241 Rosa Parks Blvd. early Saturday morning.

"We want them closed. We don't want early shutdown," said Tobias referring to an early-closing ordinance targeting small takeout restaurants.

The protest came a day before Superior Court Assignment Judge Robert Passero is expected to rule on the legality of that ordinance, which requires restaurants with fewer than 10 tables to close at 12:01 a.m. The ordinance was prompted by the death of Officer Tyron D. Franklin in January. Franklin was shot and killed by an alleged robber as he waited for his food at a Broadway take-out restaurant."If the chicken stores weren't open, we wouldn't have all those killings going on," said Sherian Seegers, whose nephew Sherby Tyson, 24, was shot and killed near Rosa Parks Boulevard and Hamilton Avenue on May 18. "They wouldn't have anywhere to be running in and out of.

"Too many kids are dying in Paterson today," Seegers said. "Somebody has to stand up and take a stand. It's just too much."

Tobias and some of the 10 or so residents who showed up to urge patrons not to buy chicken from the restaurant, said on any given night one could find dozens of people loitering in front of the restaurant.

"It's noise, it's cussing, it's drinking, it's fighting, it's terrible," Tobias said, describing the scene. "Don't let the weather get to 80 or 90 degrees -- you'd think it's a pack of ants."

The owner of New York Fried Chicken could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Nancy Grier, who said she was a community activist, said the restaurant should have shut down the day after the shooting. "Out of respect for the family, I think they should close down today," Grier said.

Not everyone who attended the protest wanted the restaurant to close permanently. Midnight would be an appropriate time to shut the door, said Grace Kuz, a neighborhood resident.

"It's not that they killed him," Kuz said in reference to the owners of New York Fried Chicken. "But if they had no way to hang out, then it would be safer."

Lt. Don Giaquinto of the Paterson Police Department, said Sunday that no arrests have been made in the two cases, and the police do not have any suspects.

Reach Denisa R. Superville at 973-569-7135 or

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Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.