Here are Andrew Hinderaker's photos from yesterday's demonstration against the groundbreaking ceremony for developer Bruce Ratner's Nets arena in Brooklyn (which should really be called Mikhail D. Prokhorov's Nyets arena, since the Russian oligarch now owns an 80 percent share of the team and a 45 percent stake in the arena). We also threw in a photo of Beyonce and Jay-Z, a champion of the project who's already committed to leasing a $540,000 luxury suite for a year in the arena, the Post reports).
Extra police were called in to control the crowd of protesters, some 200-strong, but the Daily News reports that only one arrest was made, of a man who refused to stop beating a drum. At one point, many of the protesters surged into Atlantic Avenue in an attempt to block traffic, and were pushed back by cops. "I hearby proclaim March 11, 2010, the destruction of Brooklyn's soul day," said a protester wearing a Marty Markowitz mask. "Whereas, Brooklyn’s cherished traditions of fairness and respect for all are deemed moot and quaint."
Inside the tent, Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg, Al Sharpton, Ratner and other officials joined Markowitz in triumphant celebration and wisecracking. Referring to Paterson's recent imbroglio over soliciting free World Series tickets at Yankee Stadium, Bloomberg quipped, "I want to buy tickets." Paterson laughed, and of course cracked wise himself, recalling that the Nets’ trade of Julius Erving to Philadelphia in 1976 was "one of the worst days of my life—before I became governor." But seriously folks, he also said, "This project at Atlantic Yards will yield 16,000 union construction jobs and 5,500 permanent jobs right here on the site." Officials also hope the will bring the city $400 million in tax revenue over the next 30 years.
Besides the 18,000 seat arena, expected to open in 2012, the $4.9 billion "Atlantic Yards" project will supposedly also include 16 mixed-use towers, with as many as 6,430 apartments—2,250 of those set aside for low- and moderate-income renters. In a thorough takedown of the development, urban policy analyst John Petro says, "it is now unclear if and when the affordable housing will be built." And "while the amount of public tax dollars going to subsidize the project has more than doubled, from $100 million to at least $205 million, the amount of tax revenue that the project was estimated to generate for the city and state has shrunk by half a billion dollars." And furthermore!:
But the real kicker is how the project will create blight, instead of eradicating it. The project is adjacent to some of the most successful pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods in the entire city: Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene. But instead of incorporating the characteristics that make these neighborhoods so successful, Atlantic Yards relies on an urban design that has been thoroughly discredited in cities across the globe.
Read the whole thorough critique here.