Friday, June 17, 2011
Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Councilmember Leticia James, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and others convened a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the creation of new unity plan for the Atlantic Yards site. I got to Brooklyn Commons, at 388 Atlantic Avenue, early and got a seat up front, which turned out to be a good idea as the place was overflowing with people. As one audience member put it, "We have been kicked to the curb on two issues -- stopping the abuse of eminent domain and putting an arena at Atlantic and Flatbush -- but we can still win on the issues that are in front of us." Those issues have to do with the site that adjoins the Barclays Arena, much of which has been cleared of homes and historic buildings and awaits the next thing. Ratner's original plans have been shelved, which opens up room for the community to propose something better. This is vitally important to future of Brooklyn, and even the future of the Greater New York region. One of the principles of urban restoration that I've identified in my Main Street travels is the open creation of a vision that represents the aspirations of the people. This is a great moment to go all over Brooklyn -- indeed, I'd say go all over New York City -- and find out what people need and want. Then let's consider how those needs and wants relate to the massive Atlantic Yards site. This critically important process will help us build the kind of consensus that can win the next round of the fight.