Atlantic Yards Begins in Earnest


In two years, we will have this glorious building down the street from us. This afternoon, Bruce Ratner’s ratpack of politicians, Paterson, Bloomberg, Schumer, Markowitz, etc. pushed their ceremonial shovels into some ceremonial dirt.

Thanks to taxpayer subsidies, Ratner’s pockets are very deep, deep enough to buy almost everyone out. Most likely there will be a few eminent domain fights before Forest City Ratner can claim the last few pockets of privately owned land, but the Supreme Court has already spoken about that. Like the Republican Convention held in NYC in 2004, protestors were forced a block away from the ceremony. The Times reported this, but the story was mostly buried, strange given the scale of the Atlantic Yards project. (Could it have something to do with the NYT’s cozy relationship with Forest City Ratner?).

While I’m all for jobs and the expansion of affordable housing, this plan will do little good for the borough except help the construction industry and possibly build some borough pride with the Nets. Aside from real estate speculators, I do not know a single person who is in favor of this enormous project. It is totally out of character with the neighborhood, in scale and design. The traffic will be a nightmare. There aren’t enough schools, the subway and LIRR will be overburdened. And then there will be the loss of neighborhood businesses as anonymous mall life invades the borough. We live in Brooklyn because we like the brownstone scale of life. We like trees and parks and peace and quiet. We like owner-occupied small structures. There’s a reason we didn’t want to live in Manhattan. This is a very sad day for Brooklyn.
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