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May 14, 2007

At three discussions, the Atlantic Yards burr in Bloomberg's boomtown

Atlantic Yards Report

These days, it seems like if you're having a conversation about what's wrong with anything in NYC, Atlantic Yards is bound to come up...

If you’re having a discussion about Brooklyn and development issues, Atlantic Yards, it seems, inevitably comes to the fore.

At a panel discussion last Thursday at the Brooklyn Public Library on equitable use of eminent domain, Atlantic Yards was presented as an example of what not to do. At a 5/5/07 seminar on the Municipal Art Society’s Livable Neighborhoods Program, Atlantic Yards was suggested as exemplifying how developers “leapfrog” communities. (I’ll write about both events shortly.)

And Atlantic Yards came up several times on Saturday, Neighborhood Day, a day of panel discussions keyed to the Roots of Modern Brooklyn exhibit at Borough Hall, which focuses on the borough’s struggle to revive in the 1970s and 1980s.

Near the end of a discussion Saturday that was presented live on BCAT, Park Slope activist and former Assemblyman Joe Ferris offered a contrast between the 1970s and today: “The thing that troubles me now is the recentralization of power. We showed people that, at the block level, you could make a difference.” Hamill-BHB.jpg Ferris observed how neighborhood activists once could influence their community boards, their borough president, City Council, and even—when it existed—the Board of Estimate. “Now I see, with Atlantic Yards, that has been circumvented," he said. "ULURP [the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] is being obliterated by an unelected group of people.”

The moderator, author Pete Hamill, noted that time for the 90-minute program had nearly expired, observing wryly, “I heard the fatal words ‘Atlantic Yards’ and knew we could have another two hours” to continue.

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Also, Brooklyn Heights Blog posted an account of the conclusion of the event:

After the speeches, there was a lively discussion that touched on education, the need to preserve the mixed income character of the Borough, and, of course, Atlantic Yards.

Posted by lumi at May 14, 2007 6:57 AM