To: Atlantic Yards Opponents
From: Gowanus Lounge
RE: Appearance of Split in the Opposition
Just thought we’d say a few words, because we’ve noticed that the debut of BrooklynSpeaks has raised a few hackles in the anti-Atlantic Yards camp. We’re guessing that this has made for a couple of ha-ha’s around the water cooler at Forest City Ratner.
We only have one thing to say: Can’t we all just get along?
Not that you need us to tell you, but one of the most politically and financially powerful groups of politicians, developers and business leaders we’ve seen in recent years is pushing the Atlantic Yards project through before anyone can do anything to stop or change it. Relatively speaking, those fighting to block or change the project are doing so with comparatively few resources and almost no powerful friends in the political establishment. Perhaps you noticed that the City Planning Commission only called for a modest 8 percent reduction in the project yesterday and is okay with the height of Miss Brooklyn? Division in the ranks is the last thing that Brooklyn needs right now. As for you, BrooklynSpeaks, we’d take you to task for jumping in so late in the process and introducing extra confusion, but you’ve already done so, so what’s the point?
We personally respect and admire all of those trying to work changes in Atlantic Yards. Some of you are personally courageous in standing up for your beliefs. In a world in which principles are often disposable, we have deep resepct for that kind of dedication. Some of you have deep neighborhood roots and a burning concern for the direction in which Brooklyn is going. Still others, have had an impact on mulitple public issues and a role in protecting quality of life around New York City.
The truth is, we’re depressed that you didn’t try to work this out privately and didn’t come up with a division of labor, at it were, on Atlantic Yards before this all went public. But, it’s not too late. It would be for the best if everyone involved in trying to shape the outcome of this fight were to hash out their differences and divide up the work.
How? Well, BrooklynSpeaks ought to acknowledge that eminent domain is not an appropriate tool for developing Atlantic Yards, even if it’s politically simpler to ignore the issue. Legal action to block Atlantic Yards on the basis of eminent domain and other issues is entirely appropriate and BrooklynSpeaks ought to support those efforts. That turf, however, is best left to Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and its supporters.
We do think it’s valuable to push for signficant changes in the project, including a redesign with significant public input, as a fallback. This is necessary for the public good, should the legal strategy not stop the development. To do otherwise, will be to leave Brooklyn with a massive, unchanged project. Atlantic Yards will or won’t be built. If it is built–because the political and judicial decks were stacked–Brooklyn will be somewhat less of a nightmare with a five million square foot project than an eight million square foot one, and Miss Brooklyn will be less offensive vis a vis Prospect Heights if it’s 15 stories less tall.
Who are we to say any of this? Just a dumb blogger with a somewhat informed opinion who finds the squabbling at this late date and at this critical juncture a little demoralizing. It’s late in the fourth quarter, the two-minute warning’s sounded, you’re behind 17-14 and you need a field goal to tie and a touchdown to win. This is not the time for the quarterbacks to get into a fistfight on the sidelines over who’s playing on the next drive.
Please sit down and work this out, and come out with a united front.