NEW YORK, SEPT. 30 -- Bong Jae Jong, owner of the Family Red Apple grocery store, saw in a Korean-language newspaper last week an article relating how Mayor David N. Dinkins had spent $10.67 in Jong's produce market, defying an eight-month boycott by black customers.
"Let this boycott end so that the work of bringing this community back together can begin," Dinkins said.
"Now maybe the customers will return," Jong said.
But the scene outside the store suggested that the boycott that has divided the Flatbush neighborhood, become a national symbol of ethnic tension and confounded the Dinkins administration was not close to being settled. Instead, the participants have settled in for a siege.
About 20 protesters, organized by a group called the Flatbush Frontline Collective, milled about on the sidewalk. They refused to talk to a reporter because they said the news media distorted their views.
They watched two dozen police officers outside the Family Red Apple and Church Avenue Fruit, a second Korean grocery under the boycott. By court order, the protesters could come no closer than 50 feet.
The boycott was sparked by a Jan. 18 altercation between a Family Red Apple cashier and a Haitian woman. Protesters say the Koreans have demonstrated disdain toward blacks and should be driven out of business as punishment.