Here we are. Just days away from the “grand” opening of the Barclay’s Arena, a project that divided Brooklyn and was opposed by many for its misuse of Eminent Domain, its corrupt sweetheart deals made by developers and politicians, and its rampant disregard of community input.
Neighborhood groups fought tooth and nail to modify and redirect the size and scope of the project.
Chief among the community groups that opposed the arena was Develop Don’t Destroy, a broad-based community coalition that opposed Forest City Ratner’s proposed 8 million square foot “Atlantic Yards” development for the arena and 16 high-rises in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, Brooklyn.
The $4 billion project would use at least $1.6 billion in public money and would abuse the state’s power of eminent domain (taking private property from one owner to give to a private entity for a private use, instead of a public use).
Now that the arena is a reality, tensions still flare. At the same time, kids and adults all over Brooklyn are excited about a Brooklyn basketball team. Others are pumped for the line-up of talent slated for the stage including Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Barbra Streisand, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Patti Smith and The Rolling Stones.
Will the arena continue to divide Brooklyn? Will those who opposed it ever reconcile themselves to its existence and even attend a basketball game or concert? Sure, the arena will cause vexing traffic, parking and crowd control issues but can there ever be some kind of silver lining?
Indeed, that remains to be seen.
Battle for Brooklyn, a documentary film, is the true story behind the eight-year fight over the Atlantic Yards project. It will be screened for free at the ball field at Dean Street Playground just one half block from the arena on Friday, September 27th.
“Our film closely explores the contentious community fight to stop the Atlantic Yards project, and the promises made by the developer and his supporters in New York State and City government. The community’s efforts to have a meaningful say in its future, in the face of top down development and crony capitalism, is a universal story being played out all across the US,” says director Mike Galinsky.
Tonight it will be shown at the Society for Ethical Culture at 7PM:
Wednesday, September 26th, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
53 Prospect Park West (at 2nd Street)
This screening is part Brooklyn Reconstructed, an on-going series of screenings organized by Filmwax at The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.
–The Vanishing City (Jen Senkio & Fiore DeRosa), October 24th
–Made in Brooklyn (Isabel Hill), November 18th
–Gut Renovation (Su Friedrich), December 12th
–Last Summer at Coney Island (JL Aronson), January 23rd