This week Wal-Mart's first store opens in the city, in the westside's Austin neighborhood. Following months of controversy over wages, benefits, and the effects of a "big box" corporation, a few hundred people are newly employed (edging out thousands of other applicants). During the upcoming months, NPR will be covering the opening and ongoing life of Wal-Mart with firsthand accounts from employees and neighborhood residents. The big question: Does the company drive down wages or jumpstart economic development? Check out the Wal-Mart Thread on AT:NY from '05.