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The Atlantic Yards Project's public meeting last night was packed with Brooklyn residents wanting to have their say. WNBC reported that hundreds of people were waiting outside the New York City College of Technology, since the auditorium was full, and inside, "the crowd became unruly, cheering wildly for their cause until security was called in to remove a few of the audience members." That sounds about right - and they had lots of signs for and against the project! About 300 people had signed up to speak, and since 3 minutes is allowed for each person, that would mean a public meeting that would go on for more than half a day.

City Councilwoman Leticia James, who is against the huge project, said, "If this project were built, there would be far-reaching negative impacts on public health, air quality, infrastructure, waste management, noise abatement, the environment and much else," while a unemployed carpenter expressed how the project would give him work for five to six years. Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner promised to employ only union labor, and while Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is pro-Atlantic Yards, he did suggest it could (and should) be cut down.

New Jersey (and soon to be Brooklyn Nets, should all go according to Ratner's plan) Nets star Vince Carter said that he thought the plan would bring "unity to the community." The NY Times had some more of the residents' attitudes in their article, both the supporters and protesters. For instance:

Umar Jordan, 51, a black resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, said he had come to “speak for the underprivileged, the brothers who just got out of prison,” and he drew loud cheers when he mocked opponents who had moved to Brooklyn only recently. Mr. Jordan suggested that they “just go back up to Pleasantville.”

“People complaining about the size of a building, the height of this or that?” Mr. Jordan said. “Welcome to the hood; this is Brooklyn!”

Were you there? Did you get in? What was the scene like?

Update: Our contributor, Jill Priluck, was on the scene, took pictures and sent in this report

At yesterday's rowdy Atlantic Yards forum, hundreds of Brooklynites - for and against - waited in a line that snaked around the block for a chance to speak while, inside the 800-seat auditorium (with empty seats at times!), celebs and elected officials were on display. Changing his tune, Marty Markowitz proposed that the project's 16 high-rises be scaled down to under 512 feet, the height of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank.

Behind metal barriers and amid heavy police and media presence, the crowd just stood there (or bolted), with traffic in and out of the building at a virtual standstill. Around the corner, ACORN-ers chanted loudly for the project and a Municipal Art Society representative quietly handed out press releases denouncing the plan.

Richard Goldstein and others from the Carlton Avenue Association of Prospect Heights stood alongside the Flatbush Youth Association's basketball team [Picture 782]. "You don't want the Nets to come to Brooklyn?" asked Allen Davis, a James Madison High School ninth grader. "We want the Nets. In Coney Island. In the Flatlands," said one CAA representative, who later sparred with a pro-Yards carpenter's union member when he cut the line.

The Empire State Development Corporation estimated some 250 speakers, a number that didn't include the throngs outside and those who left. The meeting was scheduled to end at 8:30 pm, but, according to the ESDC, would last until the building closed at around 11:30 pm.

A community forum is being held September 12th.

And read Atlantic Yards Report's post about the event.

Photograph at top from visual.resistance on Flickr