Saturday, June 11, 2011

New videos from Tracy Collins; One Minute Voices from Dean Street

This week there are three public meetings, one today, on traffic, governance, and the future of the Atlantic Yards site.

Photographer and videographer Tracy Collins, a Dean Street resident, has begun "One Minute Voices,"a series of one-minute, casual, interviews with people who live and work in the neighborhood of the Dean Street Block Association (DSBA), 6th to Vanderbilt Avenues, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York. (He invites further interviews; contact him at tc[at]3c[dot]com.)

A retailer

One Minute Voices – Episode 1 – Abdul

One Minute Voices - Episode 1 - Abdul from tracy collins on Vimeo.

Abdul operates the Dubai Mini Mart at 6th Avenue and Dean Street, directly catercorner from the Dean Street entrance to the arena.

"The neighborhood is changing for the good," he says, "but sometimes you see these rats running around here." Construction slows his business 20-30%, he says, so he's thankful to neighborhood residents who still patronize his store.

The store was recently renovated, and a new sign is coming. They've had the store for five years, and the neighborhood has improved, Abdul says, citing new arrivals. (In other words, I'd bet, gentrification.)

Unexplored: how long the store's lease is and whether and how it would be converted to an establishment more directly keyed to arena crowds.

A resident

One Minute Voices – Episode 2 – Doug

One Minute Voices - Episode 2 - Doug from tracy collins on Vimeo.

Doug Stone, a 17-year resident of Dean Street near Carlton Avenue, says people are happy in the general, the Dean Street playground has improved, Vanderbilt Ave "is rocking... and it feels really good."

However, he says there's "a lot of uncertainty and anxiety" re the arena. "I think that plopping down a big arena like a giant flying saucer... is definitely going to change things. I am persuaded that the arena was a bad process and a bad decision... It might contribute to the coffers of various entrepreneurs... but as far as this neighborhood, I'm pessimistic that it's going to be a net positive."

Stone says he hopes that, in five years, "we can all say that he was wrong," but he's not optimistic. "The arena will have impacts that we literally cannot predict."

I'd add that the path from the 1100-space parking lot on the block bounded by Dean and Pacific streets and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues will go along residential Dean Street, where the sidewalk narrows to less than six feet in places.

Click on the screenshot to enlarge; the interview takes place in the area highlighted in red. The parking lot would be in the block directly to the east.

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