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May 15, 2007

On people power, activist journalism, and the roots of modern Brooklyn

Atlantic Yards Report

I reported yesterday on the Atlantic Yards angle of the panels Saturday around the Roots of Modern Brooklyn exhibition, but there was much more of interest.

The exhibit at Borough Hall, organized by Brooklyn College Professor Emeritus Jerome Krase, uses words and graphics to convey a time of enormous ferment and change. The bottom line: “Ultimately, it was the power of ordinary people that revived Brooklyn’s proud but struggling neighborhoods.”

Contrast that with the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement, as I wrote last August, which emphasized the role of government, including eminent domain, in reviving the area around the proposed site, while downplaying the equally important role of historic preservation.

The exhibit, and the panels, fill out much more of the story, identifying more non-governmental actors, including neighborhood, borough, and business groups. And there was a palpable unease about whether Brooklyn, for all its progress in recent years, could remain a place of opportunity.

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Posted by lumi at May 15, 2007 7:22 AM