Skip to main content

As 40/40 Club opens the night before arena debuts, a vigil and march draws 150 people, James, Montgomery


Michael D.D. White, in the photo at right, captures an image from the vigil last night that drew about 150 people to gather outside the Barclays Center and then circle it twice in fairly quiet protest. Inside Jay-Z's 40/40 Club was opening for a private, pre-arena-opening party, as detailed in the New York Post video at bottom.

White's photo captures the "Boondoggle Basics" flyer given out by protesting groups (more events today and tomorrow; rain venue 669 Atlantic Avenue, corner of S. Portland Avenue) framed by the digital advertising in the arena oculus for the 40/40 Club.

The main sponsors are Brown Community Development Corporation, BrooklynSpeaks, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), the Fifth Avenue Committee, and Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), which took different postures on Atlantic Yards before it passed, with only DDDB going to court to try to block the project.

Since then, for example, DDDB and BrooklynSpeaks were joined in a successful lawsuit challenging the inadequacy of the environmental review, given that 2009 deal revisions gave developer Forest City Ratner 25 years to build the project. A Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) has been ordered but has not yet begun.

Updated: Perhaps two dozen people came from Occupy Wall Street; they slept overnight on the Flatbush Avenue side of the arena, next to some of the shops, shielded from any rain.

Below are several more videos, most of them brief, that I shot.

The signage in the oculus



The Barclays Center plaza

Before the vigil, at 7 pm, cops gathered at the plaza, while those participating in the vigil gathered across the street



Gathering on Flatbush before vigil, at Bear's Garden



At the plaza




Leading off: the Rev. Dyson

The Rev. David Dyson, former pastor of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, cites "all the people who have been hurt by this project," including families who lost their homes, didn't get good paying jobs, and a "city in need of accountable development."

"Even now, as the arena opens up, we are told that the benefits are coming," he said, citing the promises of "Jobs, Housing and Hoops.")

(At about 1:08, note the presence of Forest City Ratner's designated lurker.)



Apparently relying on Council Member Letitia James's conflation of an elderly decades-long resident who wanted to die in her home (and who did, given the length of the process) and another elderly woman who had a small business in the footprint and was shaken by the threat of eminent domain, Dyson unfortunately maintained the myth: "I always remember remain that 89-year-old woman, Holocaust survivor, who wanted nothing more to die in her home."

(I checked this with Patti Hagan, who did the earliest census on those in the footprint.)

The Rev. Miller & Sen. Montgomery

The Rev. Clinton Miller of Brown Memorial Baptist Church declared, "A part of the soul of Brooklyn has been lost because games have been played, and bad deal have been made."

Barclays, he said, financed the Holocaust, apartheid, and the slave trade. (It's a bit more nuanced: the New York Times reported that many banks were enveloped in the slave trade; Barclays withdrew from South Africa only in 1986, decades after activists called for divestment. Barclays collaborated with the Nazis, according to this report, and paid a $3.6 millon settlement in one case.)



Also speaking was state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, who declared, rather wishfully, "There was an attempt to utilize this process to divide us, but you never allowed it to happen." In fact, the five groups sponsoring the event differed, as noted above


But the fact that the vigil could only muster two elected officials, longtime project opponents, suggests that other elected officials, even if they didn't express support for the arena by showing up for the Sept. 21 ribbon-cutting, do not want to associate themselves with the opposition.

Council Member Letitia James

"All of us are bracing ourselves" for the traffic emergency announced for today, said James, warning that the project is "a result of no transportation planning at all" and "corporate greed and corporate welfare." (Wait a sec; there was planning, but it was belated and open to question.)



Individuals and business will suffer, James said. Well, certainly some will, though proprietors of bars and restaurants are excited.

"We actually won this struggle," James declared, in what I assume was an effort to highlight community solidarity and a focus on Forest City Ratner's lies in the face of very large evidence that most people think Ratner won.

Part of the march

On the Atlantic Avenue side of the arena, passing the check-in tables for press and VIPs for the Jay-Z event, then to the plaza.



A closing prayer by Rev. Miller

He asked that those who profit from the arena to give back; perhaps there's a role for government and new oversight for Atlantic Yards.




At the party

From the New York Post:
The hottest club in Brooklyn opened on Thursday night, when celebrities and athletes gathered at the Barclays Center and Jay-Z’s 40/40 club.

Nets stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson joined Jay-Z in opening the brand new venue, which overlooks both the playing court and the streets of Brooklyn.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…