Challenging Bruce Ratner’s Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project
Monday, June 21, 2004
...indeed.See the Archives for more...
On Saturday, three-thousand Brooklynites turned out to dance, hear music, support local merchants, and listen to a wide-range of politicians, community activists and local residents speak out against Bruce Ratner's Nets arena/17-building colossus planned -- but not yet set -- for Prospect Heights.
The block-party/rally was staged by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and other groups in the large coalition fighting Ratner's plans. There were DJs, a congressperson, a state assemblyperson, two City Councilpeople, an urban developer, a hip-hop artist, folks who've lived on the block for generations, a legendary '70s London punk band now based in Brooklyn, activists from similar struggles throughout the city, and the afore-mentioned local merchants selling roti, crafts, Caribbean drink concoctions, and most anything you could think to buy from Brooklyn's mom'and'pop business owners. (However, meals of the Chucky Cheese variety were in short supply.)
Everyone of the 3,000 who showed up did so under their own power.
Unlike those who attended Forest City Ratner's rally two days prior at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Some were given free transportation paid for by FCR, most were given free tee shirts paid for by FCR, and all could avail themselves to free lunch and drinks paid for by FCR.
Borough President Marty Markowitz was personally invited on Thursday to attend the block party we threw on Saturday. "Uh, I don't think I'd be very welcomed" was his disdainful reply.
There you have it. The Borough President feeling safe and happy at an event paid for by a real-estate developer who's from Ohio and lives on Manhattan's Upper East Side, but fearing an event staged by Brooklynites, attended by Brooklynites of their own accord, with music by today's Brooklynites (and not the Young Rascals' Felix Cavaliere, a legend but certainly not the sound of today's Brooklyn).
At Borough Hall on Thursday, pro-arena advocates bussed in for the event harrassed and threatened anti-arena advocates. At the Saturday block party there wasn't one incident like that.
Just a three-times-as-large event where people mixed their anger and passion with good vibes, great beats and a perfect summer day in Brooklyn.
Whose side would you rather be on?
And whose event, then, eminated from the heart of Brooklyn, powered by Brooklynites' real hopes and dreams?