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Brooklyn Nets: It will happen

The MTA has just approved the sale of land to developer Ratner . Who will now get to build office buildings and a basketball arena in the Atlantic Avenue area of Brooklyn, right by the LIRR station and all the main subways that serve Brooklyn.

Nothing will stop this deal from happening now, I don't think. And I think it is a good thing. The Gehry-designed buildings are interesting. This will give Brooklyn a true center, something I don't think it has ever had. Can't wait. I don't even like basketball, but I will root for the Brooklyn Nets.

After all this time, there are so many who are unable to see beyond the arena part of this corrupt proposal.

Then arena is only 10% of the whole project, and is only serving as a smokescreen for an enormous land-grab.

An open process that would take into account the objections of people like me would result in a better deal all around.

Too bad that most of the elected officials are counting on public apathy to allow them to abdicate their responsibilities to the community.


This land lay unused forever and a day. To go back a long time, this site, literally, had been requested by the owners of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s. Robert Moses, who ran things those days, said no. So the Dodgers left for California, and an entire generation of Brooklynites had a stake thrust through their heart. Still, through a half-century, this train yard by downtown Brooklyn remained empty.

Now a developer, Ratner, has a real plan for it. One that will give the MTA a lot of money and one that will provide economic development, ie jobs, both temporary and permanent. Each of these I would regard as terrific reasons for supporting the project.

But cities --and I absolutely view Brooklyn as a city -- do not live on economics alone. They need symbols. They need pride. They need a heart. And this acts on all of these.

Such a large, beautiful and architecturally significant development, rising out of a fallow location right by easily-accessible mass transit to all of Long Island, Manhattan, and anywhere in Brooklyn or Queens will be an immense vote of confidence in downtown Brooklyn. It will be a major positive story that the entire US and beyond will hear of.

And having a major league sports team with Brooklyn on its chest will be a point of pride, both for the communities of Brooklyn, and its diaspora , esp in the Long Island suburbs. You will see a lot of Brooklyn Nets t shirts in the future.

But from a public policy perspective, the great thing is that this will give Brooklyn a natural center. There has never been one before.

I would think that most people in Bay Ridge or Bensonhurst have never been to Prospect Park. Most people in Park Slope / Brooklyn Hegights don't know Bay Ridge. Most people don't know the Fulton Street shopping area, once a shopping mecca, as it is now a f***ing grungy disgrace.

And, in general, the whites do not venture into any of the black neighborhoods, and the blacks, in general, don't often go to the white ethnic areas.

With the Atlantic Avenue development, there will be an area that the blacks and the whites can both take pride in. They will both come to this arena.

How great will it be to be able to go to a --lets just say-- a major concert in downtown Brooklyn, and then to be able to get home via a twenty minute train ride if in Bay Ridge, or a twenty minute walk if in Park Slope?

I understand the concerns. but, big picture, I think that this has immense upside for the neighborhood and for Brooklyn, and a very manageable downside. Build it now!

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