At Occupy Brooklyn rally Saturday, will Markowitz show up? From Grand Army Plaza, why not head past arena site and measure corner pedestrian congestion?
It also provides, as I suggest below, an opportunity to illustrate how the alliance of Brooklyn's most powerful developer and a state agency has led to a potential pedestrian bottleneck at a very busy intersection.
Will Marty show up?
Will Borough President Marty Markowitz show up? He told the Brooklyn Paper "we can all agree that some of the issues being raised by these protests … are concerns we can all rally around."
If Markowitz appears, attendees should remember that the BP has long boosted Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan, offering support when the developer renegotiated to get better deals from state agency.
Most astoundingly, Markowitz last year made a video aimed to entice green card-seeking Chinese investors to support Forest City Ratner', lying that "Brooklyn is 1000 percent behind Atlantic Yards."
Where to occupy? MetroTech, AY, or maybe Atlantic Terminal
The gathering at Grand Army Plaza is not planned as an occupation, just a rally. Peter Rothberg wrote on Patch that organizers were exploring whether to try to "take up indefinite residence in the borough."
What could be the Brooklyn equivalent of Zuccotti Park, site of Occupy Wall Street? The most obvious example to some would be MetroTech Commons, also a privately-owned public space and home to not only Brooklyn's most powerful developer, Forest City Ratner, but also the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership as well as several city agencies.
However, unlike Zuccotti Park, which is open 24 hours, MetroTech Commons is closed 10 pm to 6 am.
There are other nominations. About.com Brooklyn guide Ellen Freudenheim wrote:
But hmm...a big empty space that's privately owned? Too bad there's not a safe public space near that so called "blighted" area, Atlantic Yards. Now wouldn't that be the irony of all ironies, if Occupy Brooklyn were to occupy Atlantic Yards? A bloggling thought.Prospect Heights activist Gib Veconi commented on Patch:
Not even close! The really obvious choice is the plaza outside Atlantic Terminal--right across the street from the biggest real estate giveaway in New York City, Atlantic Yards, where working families were turned out and the public was fleeced to build an arena and a parking lot for a private developer.That plaza, on the north side of Atlantic Avenue, was the site of the heavily guarded Jay-Z media event on September 26.
On path past arena, a chance to challenge state claims
If rally participants do decide to head to Atlantic Terminal, the path is easy--and there's an opportunity to challenge some dubious claims by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards.
The direct route is up Flatbush Avenue to Sixth Avenue, then north on Sixth to Atlantic. On the southwest corner of Sixth and Atlantic, the group might pause to contemplate this: when the arena opens, the effective width of the sidewalk will be just 5.2 feet on the south side of Atlantic just west of Sixth, on the way to an arena entrance.
The state said that wouldn't diminish pedestrian service. That claim was challenged at a hearing October 5 held by the city Department of Transportation.
But the claim can be tested.
Right now, because of construction, pedestrians can't walk west along the south side of Atlantic west of Sixth Avenue.
But a few dozen people, or more can gather there and ask this question: would groups of arena-goers really fit into that narrow a sidewalk space? Or would they start knocking into each other or venturing into the street?