Exposing change through individual stories, we seek to foster conversations on development, displacement and sustainability in this critical moment for the city.I attended the first public discussion, at the library on October 7, which was heartfelt, candid, and a little frustrating.
Among the sentiments expressed:
- laments about the loss of The Usual, the diner on Vanderbilt that closed earlier this year
- questions about the border between Prospect Heights and Crown Heights
- the disappearance of diversity as houses sell for increased prices
- resentment of the new 550 Vanderbilt Pacific Park tower rising steadily
- tensions between West Indian and African-American residents
Today's event, which includes Public Advocate (and former Council Member) Letitia James--and previously was to include Rep. Hakeem Jeffries--offers another opportunity for such talk.
There are few places for such cordial intersections. The most dramatic opportunities, in fact, have been Atlantic Yards-related public hearings, which attracted an even more diverse crowd than the (my observation) mostly middle-class audience at the library.
The challenge, I think, for projects like Intersection is ultimately to go beyond such worthy conversations to specifics about "development, displacement and sustainability." For example, talk of "affordable housing" has to peel back promotional language to look at specifics.
The promotional talk
There's been so much deceptive, misleading, and/or promotion talk revolving around Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park that a compilation from just the past few weeks includes:
- The marketing slogan: "If you could build the ideal New York neighborhood from scratch, what would you do?"
- Marketing 550 Vanderbilt condos with deception
- Yes, they're closing Dean Street outside arena next Tuesday for Tidal concert
- Forest City's (anomalous) B2 highlighted in coverage of 50/30/20 buildings; said to maintain Brooklyn's diversity
- Gilmartin: project is "about the beautiful landscape that is Brooklyn, the relative low-rise nature of the neighborhood" (!?!)
- Forest City's Gilmartin on "owning" air rights they haven't paid for, and a reminder of the bargain they got
- What's missing (again) from Forest City's corporate social responsibility report