Saturday, February 03, 2007

Marty's State of the Borough: Atlantic Yards, (certain) concerned citizens hailed

From Borough President Marty Markowitz's wide-ranging State of the Borough address Thursday night:
The word is out about Brooklyn, no doubt about it. Last month, we learned that Barclays, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, will kick-off its expansion in America by investing $400 million dollars to name the Atlantic Yards arena — the Barclays Center.
More proof that nowhere possesses the economic vitality or captures the popular imagination with more power than Brooklyn.
When you dream big these days, you dream Brooklyn!
The naming of the Barclays Center is a major step toward making one of my own dreams for Brooklyn a reality.
With thousands of apartments for Brooklynites of all incomes, new jobs for residents of every skill level — solid, union jobs — an arena for major concerts and events, 8 acres of open space, a new school — plus shopping, a boutique hotel, and world-class architect Frank Gehry designing it — all above one of the largest public-transportation hubs in the metropolitan region — Atlantic Yards will help create the new center of city life that our borough of 2.6 million residents deserves.
And I made a promise that I will continue to keep — to be responsive to the concerns of those in the area surrounding Atlantic Yards, and to make this project one that all Brooklynites are proud of for generations to come.
And I know that before long we’ll all be cheering together when the Brooklyn Nets leave the Manhattan Knicks in the Atlantic Division dust — and bring an NBA championship home to Brooklyn!
...Atlantic Yards is part of an even grander vision for Brooklyn. In 2004, I worked closely with Mayor Bloomberg and others to lay out a comprehensive plan for building a new downtown for Brooklyn. With renewed energy, we’re turning that plan into action.


(Note that Atlantic Yards was not part of the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning or the planning process for it.)

Citizen action

Later, Markowitz praised community groups:
As Brooklyn grows and changes, the sounds of Brooklyn booming are not always sweet…
One couple’s tireless watchdog efforts have been an inspiration to community groups working on these issues.
Aaron Brashear and Mick Holwin — of the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights — made clever use of cutting-edge technology and put videos on “You Tube” of building violations in their neighborhood — so city agencies and everyone could see the evidence first-hand.
Their dedication is a big reason why the city responded so quickly and strongly.
Aaron Brashear and Mick Holwin — you do Brooklyn proud!


(Similar credit might go to photographers like David Gochfeld, who last June captured what appeared to be permit violations when Forest City Ratner contracted to demolish two buildings it owned within the Atlantic Yards footprint.)

Running for mayor?

Markowitz closed with a tease:
To be frank — I also invited the fortune cookie makers tonight because I have a question I need answered.
Now, I don’t need a fortune cookie to tell me Brooklyn’s future looks good.
But with term limits looming — what about my future?
I guess there’s only one way to find out — if it’s good for Brooklyn … it’s good for New York City!
Good night Brooklyn.

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