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'This Arena is a Gentrifying Machine': Atlantic Yards Critics Rally at Barclays

Opponents of developer Forest City Ratner fire one last volley prior to Jay-Z's opening night concert.

The "Battle For Brooklyn" is over.

However, the war against what longtime Atlantic Yards redevelopment critics called the systematic abuse of eminent domain, public subsidies for private projects and broken promises in terms of jobs and affordable housing, continues.

That was the message at a rally held in the pouring rain on Friday in front of Barclays Center.

"The space that we're standing on right now, which is privately owned and privately operated, was once my home, the homes of my neighbors, public street, public sidewalk," said Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. "Eminent domain has taken that public access away from us. So eminent domain isn't just about people's homes or people's businesses, it's about public space being turned into private space."

Goldstein was joined by other veterans of the Atlantic Yards fight from Fifth Avenue Committee, Pratt Area Community Council and Kathleen Noriega, an unemployed construction worker who is suing the embattled job training nonprofit BUILD and developer Forest City Ratner.

Also at the event were longtime residents like Ed Goldman of Fort Greene-Clinton Hill, who vowed to continue the fight against the Atlantic Yards project long after Friday's Barclays opening.

"They built this arena in the neighborhood I live in," Goldman said. "They promised affordable housing and jobs ... But those promises are not being made on any level."

Goldman predicted that the arena's arrival would drive up already spiraling rents in Fort Greene, forcing more people and businesses to move away from the neighborhood.

"Ratner and the rest of these developers are changing the face of this borough," he said.

Goldstein echoed that sentiment before giving his demands for an impartial supplemental environmental impact statement, a plan for more affordable units available for families and the inclusion of other developers at the site.

"In this neighborhood we were told that this project was needed to stem the tide of gentrification in Central Brooklyn," Goldstein said. "This arena is a gentrifying machine. We're having small shop owners, small business owners pushed out because landlords are speculating on the boom times this arena will bring, which we don't expect to happen."

Jim September 28, 2012 at 07:40 PM
"This arena is a gentrifying machine." So says the 99% white protesters.
Neil Zwillinger September 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM
The death rattle of a dying cause
Matthew Weinstein September 28, 2012 at 08:49 PM
The stench emanating from this rusty monument to corporate greed is overwhelming. Barclay, the bank implicated in the scandals that brought the world's economy to ruin; the bank whose legacy is said to include financing of the slave trade and support for the German Nazis and South African apartheid, is a fitting mark for this stadium born of corruption, monumental tax-giveaways, broken promises and the unbridled power of money over democracy.
eh September 28, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Hard to say that Hooters and Applebees are gentrifing machines. It's not like they're opening up artisinal mayo shops around there. This is a different kind of machine, a corporate cash cow, gentrified neighborhood be damned.
Anthony September 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM
This isn't gentrification. This is corporate American overpowering the little guys.
BRADY September 29, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Matthew ,Welcome to NEW YORK CITY ! you should know better ,it's been this way before both you and I were born and before our parents and their parents ,open the paper every morning,log into a website everyday,it's all the same ,just the faces and the technology change. there is still slavery in Africa ,there are still Nazis left in Venezuela, and South Africa has never recovered from the violence of apartied or the violence of what it's become now
BillySpath September 29, 2012 at 06:29 AM
But wait there is an artisanal mayo shop 4 blocks away.
Frank Forbes October 27, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Umm didn't Goldstien get over 2 million for his hardship ...ohh cry for me Argentina
BRADY October 28, 2012 at 01:22 PM
yes but he donated it all to Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn so they could continue the fight .Oh wait no he did'nt

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