Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Come Out To Protest Atlantic Yards Groundbreaking Tomorrow



Dear Readers,

While we have been busy here in Carroll Gardens fighting for a clean Gowanus Canal and for the contextual re-zoning of our lovely brownstone neighborhood, a much bigger fight has been going on against the Atlantic Yards project.

Community activists have worked tirelessly to protect Brooklyn from Bruce Ratners wrecking balls, but corruption, greed and our self-serving politicians are a powerful force to reckon with. The objections and concerns of Brooklyn residents were disregarded at every turn.

Tomorrow a big rally is being organized to protest Bruce Ratner's groundbreaking ceremony.
I will certainly be there to join my Brooklyn neighbors. Please be there as well.

The message below is from Brooklyn Speaks:

Protest groundbreaking at Atlantic Yards 3/11/10

As you may have heard, on March 1, New York Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges issued a decision that clears the way for the condemnation of private properties through the State’s power of eminent domain.

With that decision in hand, Forrest City Ratner will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its billion dollar Barclays Center Arena on Thursday, March 11th at 1:30 PM. The exact location for the groundbreaking is not yet known.

Members of the surrounding communities are quite naturally very angry and disappointed by this turn of events. We have long fought against the misuse of taxpayer funds for this highly speculative project which will deliver virtually no benefits to the public, but instead is poised to cost the public millions of dollars. Instead of breaking ground for the promised 2,250 units of publicly subsidized "affordable" housing, the developer, Mayor and Governor will dig in for an arena that will house nobody and will be a money loser for New York City.

Our neighbors and colleagues Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn will be staging a two-stage counter demonstration that day. Consider taking a long lunch break and joining them to express your feelings about what’s happening – and what’s not happening (like affordable housing and jobs) – at Atlantic Yards.

First: The Groundbreaking to Bury the Soul of Brooklyn will take place at 12:30 pm on Thursday, March 11 in front of Freddy's Bar in the project footprint at the corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue.

After the burial: protesters will gather outside Freddy’s and walk to the site of the official groundbreaking and rally against the project that was never destined to deliver on its promises, but will now deliver a pittance.

For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking


Anonymous said...

Gotta disagree with your position on this one Katia. I personally want a Brooklyn basketball team more then I care about what Bruce Ratners wrecking balls do around the rail yards. Can you imagine the pride and joy a Brooklyn Bball team will spread?

Im also not overly concerned about traffic, eminent domain, greed, or even corruption on this issue... To say that this "Groundbreaking (will) Bury the Soul of Brooklyn" is ridiculous. The Brooklyn Basketball team will carry our collective soul to new heights.

Bring it.

Kelly said...

Isn't the team coming to Brooklyn rather mediocre?

I, for one, will always have regrets and feel shame that this happened in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

The project wil generate much needed revenue to the city. Create jobs for people whop need them.
I saw the same tired arguments used against the Time Warner Center. , where people said don't build it it will cast a shadow on Central Park. Now everyones marvels at Whole Foods and the other amenties it created.
This is a fight led by people who have theirs and don't want the best for the city and Brooklyn in particular

Anonymous said...

While we wait for our new stadium to be built, let's all enjoy March Madness and all of the NBA games on TV. As the season continues (the LONGEST season is sports) lets watch the news, too.

Then let's all see that there's more post-game crime after a Pro-basketball game than any other American Sport: Fights, Over Turned Cars, Broken Windows, etc. Now multiply that Post Game/In The Streets Crime by 10 if you have a winning team.
Now... let's imagine all that Post Game "Energy" walking along Court Street & Smith Street because the preferred mode of transit may be the "F" train rather than the 4,5,6.
Can you picture it?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:25PM:
"The Brooklyn Basketball team will carry our collective soul to new heights"

Do you mean "like drugs"?

I would prefer the city to invest in sport for everybody rather than some kind of money machine for a few.

raulistic said...

Um, I'm surprised readers of this blog are unaware that the project will NOT bring economic benefits to NYC. That's not just my opinion- the most objective research on this was done by the Independent Budget Office, which found that THE ARENA WOULD BE A MONEY LOSER for NYC.

The readers of this blog, as long as they live in NYC, NY state or the USA, are subsidizing Ratner to the tunes of many hundreds of millions of dollars. NOBODY has ever done a cost benefit analysis, so if you think this project will provide any benefits, please try to back up your words with some sort of facts.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 4:15PM
You say "Create jobs for people whop need them"

Tell us more: what kind of job?

There is one point on which I agree: a few will make money. The issue is that this money will not go to the people who need it.

Matthew said...

Can First Anonymous explain how a private sports corporation, whose only connection to Brooklyn is public subsidy, and whose major owner is a Russian oligarch (in Brooklyn, we call that "mobbed-up"), does anything for our "collective soul" other than corrupt and corrode it? The manufactured spectatorship of sports entertainment, holding little boys of all ages in thrall, is nothing more than bread and circuses, with the ringmasters laughing all the way to the bank.

Born, Lives and Worked in Brooklyn said...

I'd also like to know what jobs will copme from this. The current Nets' Management & Staff will come from NJ to work here - no new jobs in the Admin Office + PLUS, their income tax goes back to NJ not to NY.
I guess there will be security staff & stadium staff, like they have at Madison Square Garden - but very few of those people will be full-time. MOST Garden Staff who work the floor & events actually have other full time jobs. Maybe NY'ers will get these Part Time Jobs.
You can't count construction jobs because they last only as long as the project (1 to 5 years) and who says that Ratner will hire NY'ers?
All Sporting Events will need to be patrolled by NYPD and FDNY EMS before & especailly after each game, so that will COST Us Money - it doesn't give us money.
Bloomberg, Markowitz & Spitzer (you can't blame Paterson for this one) cleared the path for Tax Incentives for Ratner, et al. so there will be NO tax Income from the stadium.
Meanwhile, how many tax paying businesses are being "Eminently Domained" out of business along with thier tax paying staff?

I don't see how a Federal Judge could see the building of a Private, For Profit, Sports & Entertainment Complex as a project that has the best interest of the people in mind?
How is it Eminent Domain?!?
It's not a hospital - which the government now just watches as current hospitals get shut down - - - it's not a new or improved Highway or Road System - - -
It's not a Cancer Research Center,
it's not a new Public High School or College, not a Court House or Transit Hub or Medical Center. It's not even a Homeland Security Outpost - - -
It's a private, for profit business.

Anonymous said...

The use of Eminent domain in New York is out of control. There is nothing to cheer about. Your elected officials sold out the community in favor of a developer.

ESDC, Mayor Moneybags and BK borough president, Marty Moose, do not have the community's best interests at heart.

To those who cheer this project, I'll be glad when eminent domain is used to take away your property. Then see how it feels.

Anonymous said...


I am the OP. Where do I start? You asked me to explain:

"how a private sports corporation, whose only connection to Brooklyn is public subsidy, and whose major owner is a Russian oligarch (in Brooklyn, we call that "mobbed-up"), does anything for our "collective soul" other than corrupt and corrode it?"

First of all, little boys of all ages and other folks who will feel pride and joy in a local sports team needn't concern themselves with above mentioned behind the scenes geopolitical capitalist shenanigans. Who cares?

Do you remember the miracle Mets? (I'm not a huge sports fan mind you), The Giants winning the Superbowl in 2007? How many people wear a Yankee cap around the world, wanting to Identify with NYC? Can you say soft power? Did you ever go the Garden when the Knicks where good - did you feel the energy? Do you still remember the Starks dunk? Where does all the money made from those moments go? Do you know or care? I dont.

Those above mentioned things and sports moments make up our collective experience - moments of our lives. Things we talk about with each other and tell our Kids we saw. Why pick on this Russian guy who is investing in our community? Do you know all the foreign investors in all the projects in the city? What do you have against people making money and investing it in Brooklyn?

You continue:

"The manufactured spectatorship of sports entertainment, holding little boys of all ages in thrall, is nothing more than bread and circuses, with the ringmasters laughing all the way to the bank."

Ok,your not a sports fan, I get it - you are strictly serious, fine. Then you wrote that manufactured spectatorship of sports entertainment: .... "is nothing more than bread and circuses, with the ringmasters laughing all the way to the bank." Whats wrong with mindless entertainment if that's what one wants sometimes?

Since you are also concerned about the "ringmasters laughing all the way to the bank" why not start your own sports team and build your own stadium with your own $200 Million dollar contribution. You could build the stadium on land not owned by anyone, in a place that brings nothing but a positive impact on the whole boro with no voices of opposition whatsoever amongst our 4 million neighbors.

You could make sure that no ones soul is corrupted and corroded by the bread and circuses aspect of the manufactured spectatorship aspect of things and as the ringmaster you could could give away all the money rather then pass it along to your family.

While your at it, go back in time and tell Andrew Carnegie, John Jacob Astor, Einstein, and all the other outsiders and immigrants they're money and ideas are not wanted here either.

Who needs Mikhail Prokhorov and his ilk investing in our city. Then before your done, Why not put a freeze on all changes and anything new in the city. No new developments, maintain all building heights as they are now, no profit taking, no parking in court yards, nothing differnt from how it was when you were growing up! Cause that's the New York Spirit, right?

Meanwhile, I'll be at the game watching the Brooklyn Nets.

Anonymous said...


Here's a link to an article. Please feel free to review it before you post it. It talks about how this Ratner Deal is a Lose Lose situation for NY! NOT a Win Win!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone see the news last night. Big fight after a local basketball game spills into the street. What happens when the Professional Games come to brooklyn?

Matthew said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions, First Anonymous. It does seem like a lot of people demand that their entertainment be separated from all questions of morality, which, after all, is what politics (in its large sense is) ultimately about. Our ruling oligarchs could not ask for better subjects. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

To Matthew and "his private anon" -

Sports Teams: Good
This Location: Bad

Investment In Our City: Good
Not Taking Highest Bid: Bad

Proepr Use of Eminent Domain: Good
Over Use of Eminent Domain: Bad

Anonymous said...


Im sorry you (we?)are ruled by oligarchs. Is it my ignorance that keeps me free?

Or is it my free will to live my life patronizing or not, seeking my own successes or failures, choosing to focus my energy wherever for change or status quo, etc.

You are obviously so smart - how heavy is the burden that you feel you are being made to dance by the puppet master? That seems so irrational and disabling to all your true power to effect your world.

Dont you realize that many of these Oligarchs are self made people? Starbucks started with 1 store. Whats wrong with accumulating power other then wielding it will never make everyone happy?