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January 27, 2008

The closing of Fort Greene's 4W, the demise of Bogolan, and the AY effect

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Atlantic Yards Report

The story of the closing of 4W Circle of Arts and Enterprise at 704 Fulton Street, a unique incubator for artists and craftspersons from the African Diaspora is an "end of an era" in Fort Greene, and I told a good piece of the story in an article a few weeks back the Brooklyn Downtown Star. (Today from 4-9 pm 4W is holding "The Circle is Unbroken Celebration, Celebrate 17 years of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Pride, Ujimma (Collective Work and Responsibility) and the continuation of People Power.")
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It's impossible to assess how all the merchants of Bogolan feel about Atlantic Yards, but not all share [Errol] Louis's optimism. [Selma] Jackson, [a co-founder of 4W] commented critically on the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
For all the talk about what it will add to the community, including jobs, as a business owner I have seen very little benefit from the Atlantic Center development phase I or II. What it has done is decreased street parking for my customers, increased sanitation ticketing for small businesses—as one sanitation officer said to me “well the neighborhood has changed and we need to keep it clean”. Where was that philosophy when I opened in 1991? Why did it take until 2000 to be concerned about a “cleaner neighborhood? And finally it has given the landlords reason to increase the commercial rents based on the future potential of the neighborhoods, forcing small businesses out of the area now.

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Posted by amy at January 27, 2008 2:06 PM