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October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Movement and Atlantic Yards

Occupy Wall Street seeks to expand to Brooklyn. As the thrust of the movement is against corporate welfare, the recipient of such largesse, Bruce Ratner and Atlantic Yards soon come into the picture.

Corrente, Whose Park? Our Park.

This blog post reveals the contents of a letter from Occupy Wall Street's legal advisors to Brookfield Properties that ostensibly stopped New York City from ousting Occupy Wall Street from Zucotti Park. Analysis finds that one of the signatories of the letter was none other than Michael Ratner, Bruce's brother.

But it is the name of Michael Ratner that caught my eye last night. For Ratner is not just the number one human rights legal activist in New York City, arguably the US. He is also the scion of a multi billion property development firm run by his brother, Bruce Ratner, who happens to be a crony/buddy of Michael Bloomberg. So much so that he got more than 100 million dollars of tax and price breaks from NYC to build--against community opposition--a boondoggle basketball stadium in Brooklyn.

(Oh, and besides being a crony of Bloomberg, guess what! Bruce Ratner was the real estate developer for the New York Times' shiny new skyscraper. Do you think the Atlantic Yards stadium boondoggle got much coverage in Izvestia?)

So while Michael Ratner's credentials as a legal rights activist are solid, his family/monetary connections (he was conspicuously silent in the community legal battle against his brother Bruce, and he owns shares in the Nets, Ratner's team) place him well inside the cozy embrace of New York's power elite.

About.com, Occupy Brooklyn Arrives Saturday, Oct. 15 at Grand Army Plaza
By Ellen Freudenheim

It was just a matter of time, really, before Brooklyn became the umpteenth site for the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. So tomorrow, Saturday, along with your Farmers Market pumpkins and squash, you can get (and give) a good dose of politics at 11 AM at Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope. What's their message? It's still being honed and harvested.

Where Will Occupy Wall Street in Brooklyn Hang Its Hat?

Outgrowing Zuccotti Park, the protesters need a place to hang their hats.

Personally, I'd like to see a Speakers Corner in Brooklyn, like the famous one in Hyde Park, London.

But hmm...a big empty space that's privately owned? Too bad there's not a safe public space near that so called "blighted" area, Atlantic Yards. Now wouldn't that be the irony of all ironies, if Occupy Brooklyn were to occupy Atlantic Yards? A bloggling thought...

Atlantic Yards Report, At Occupy Brooklyn rally Saturday, will Markowitz show up? From Grand Army Plaza, why not head past arena site and measure corner pedestrian congestion?

The gathering at Grand Army Plaza is not planned as an occupation, just a rally. Peter Rothberg wrote on Patch that organizers were exploring whether to try to "take up indefinite residence in the borough."

What could be the Brooklyn equivalent of Zuccotti Park, site of Occupy Wall Street? The most obvious example to some would be MetroTech Commons, also a privately-owned public space and home to not only Brooklyn's most powerful developer, Forest City Ratner, but also the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership as well as several city agencies.

Posted by steve at October 15, 2011 8:53 PM