Sunday, October 22, 2006

DDDB walkathon raises more than $100,000

The Walk Don't Destroy 2 walkathon fundraiser for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) yesterday raised more than $100,000 toward legal battles over the Atlantic Yards plan. The event at Prospect Park generated nearly double the amount raised at the first walkathon last November. Organizers said that some 1100 people contributed, with more than 300 participants.

That money should (presumably) help build a legal fund sufficient to get fights against eminent domain and perhaps other issues off the ground. But lawyers are expensive, so fundraising undoubtedly will continue.

I missed the walkathon, so when I arrived at the corner of 9th Street and Eighth Avenue--a block from the park bandshell--many people in yellow DDDB t-shirts were making their way down the block to catch trains, walk home, or go to a restaurant. So I missed the person who dressed up as a Brooklyn bride--in a wedding dress--a commentary on Frank Gehry's planned "Miss Brooklyn" tower. A crew from the Castle Coalition, which takes a hard-line view against eminent domain abuse, showed up with t-shirts saying "Blight me."

(Top photos by Amy Greer. Castle crew photo by Daniel Goldstein.)

One participant's nominee for the best sign: "Best Block in NYC Opposes Worst Proposed Development in NYC."


There were maybe 70 people left listening to concert headliner John Wesley Harding, a British-born folkie who lives in Fort Greene and tends to play Joe's Pub when he's in town.

(This mural was designed by Eduardo Alexander Rabel for DDDB. Photo by Jonathan Barkey)

Harding's got excellent originals, but the crowd's favorite song was probably his cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," which begins:
They paved paradise, they put up a parking lot.

Mitchell's final stanza begins:
Late last night I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man.

Bob Dylan adapted it to:
Late last night I heard my screen door slam
A big yellow bulldozer took away the house and the land.

It's hard to call the proposed Atlantic Yards footprint "paradise," though it includes some well-preserved buildings, others that have been substantially spruced up, and others that could be rehabilitated despite claims of blight. As for the "parking lot," well, there would be three large interim surface parking lots.

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