Jul 29, 2009
To chants of "Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Atlantic Yards has got to go!" hundreds of Brookllynites jammed the street in front of Kilgord Auditorium of the NYC Technical College. The school was the scene of hearings called by the state's Empire State Development Corporation which has overseen this land-grabbing boondoggle - a scandal of enormous proportions. The project, which would have built enormous sky-scraping, sun-blocking luxury high-rise buildings over the Long Island Railroad tracks, was funded with a no-bid lowball air rights giveaway from the MTA and huge tax breaks from the city and state. Never mind the impact on the surrounding low-rise and historic brownstone communities. Never mind the destructive effect that would drive rents up and working class and less affluent populations out of their homes and neighborhoods. Only mind the huge profits that could be gotten by building Bruce Ratner's vision of what he thought Brooklyn should look like.
But now that the economic bubble has burst, the Ratner project has fallen on hard times. First to be ditched was the so-called affordable housing components and a large number of the proposed residential buildings. After that, Ratner gave a pink slip to his star showcase architect, Frank Gehry -- he's way too expensive now. We're left with a plan that has as its star attraction, the Nets Stadium at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. But with Gehry's departure the rendering looks more like a gym for a community college in a small town rather than the flashy design once proposed. On top of this, Ratner demands that taxpayers should give him even more breaks and the MTA should give him an even more lenient and favorable contract on the air rights. Only an arrogant billionaire would have the chutzpah to make such demands. The question is will the politicians, the Mayor and the Governor, who have been so willing to accommodate this scandalous land grab, continue to play ball with Ratner or finally listen to the people and end this sham deal once and for all? Time will tell. Our voices can help them decide.
What's going on - monster high-rises in Downtown Brooklyn - dwarfing everything in sight, blocking sky and sun, congesting the streets to an even greater extent. This is our spineless and corrupt political leaders' vision of "progress" and of Brooklyn's future.
This is what it's all about. Save our communities ... from avaricious developers.
A large and spirited crowd of Brooklynites marched outside the ESDC hearings to demand an end to the Ratner Atlantic Yards scandal.
Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, flanked by fighting NYC Council Member Letitia "Tish" James.
To loud approval from the crowd, Council Member Letitia "Tish" James gave a rousing speech and demanded that the Mayor put an end to the shameful Atlantic Yards project.
To see all my photos from today's protest just CLICK here for a PHOTO GALLERY.
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