DDDB Holds Fifth Fundraiser Against the Yards

Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the Atlantic Yards watchdog organization, held its fifth annual Walk Don’t Destroy fundraiser on Saturday, which raised over $40,000 according to the Atlantic Yards Report. City Council Member Letitia James, DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein, actor John Turturro, and about 200 others walked the 2.3-mile route, which included a stop at Borough Hall, headquarters of Borough President Marty Markowitz, a supporter of the Atlantic Yards development. This is about working-class people, Ms. James said as she marched across Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, according to The New York Times. This is about saving our homes and businesses against billionaires. We want our community back. The cash raised by the event will presumably go towards DDDB’s efforts to prevent the Atlantic Yards stadium and residential development project, such as its current lawsuit against the MTA for negligence of due process in its sale of land to developer Forest City Ratner.
Staying Power at Fifth DDDB Walkathon [AYR]
Walking Against the Bulldozers [NY Times]
Atlantic Yards: Suit Filed Against MTA [Brownstoner]
Photo by Tracy Collins

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  • “This is about working-class people,”

    Really????? – Like Dan Goldstein (trustfunder) and John Tuturo and all the Brownstone owners nearby???

    Please, working class people are the groups that would benefit from the increased housing at AY and are benefiting from the slide in rents today.

    Working people don’t generally get Section 8, or HASA or other programs that the poor get to afford to live in NYC – working people are the ones who must rely on supply and demand to keep prices ‘in line’ with wages…..

    Latetia James defines working class people as a family with one on SSI and the other with Sec 8 vouchers…..

  • “This is about saving our homes and businesses against billionaires. We want our community back.”

    what is she talking about? doesn’t only one person still live in the way of the development? and what businesses? last i checked there were only rail tracks and empty lots there.

    i say eff off, if a holes like these had always gotten their way, would anything even have been built? you can’t stand in the way of progress forever, especially when YOU KEEP LOSING!

  • Tish James knows the demographics of her community and before ratner can in to create real blight, there were people living in the footprint, and businesses. the community was on the upswing- I live nearby and go through the area very often as my bus route is there. I don’t care if someone supports AY but also be honest enough to admit that Ratner got a sweetheart deal at our expense, that the “affordable” housing definition has been stretched beyond belief, and that he has no contractual restriction as to where he will build (if ever) that affordable housing. Add to that the added stress on infrastructure and subways, as well as the MTA giveaway to Ratner- it’s not a pretty picture. Tish James is one of the few politicians who has consistently worked for the community. Many of the brownstones are rental units- not gentrifyer homes. Daniel Goldstein’s building was a great project (one of several repurposing old industrial buildings), indicative of the interest and organic development happening in the area til Ratner came in. The area was coming back, and now? Nothing.

  • “there were people living in the footprint”

    Yes – except for 56 RS leaseholders, they were all newcombers a decidedly NOT “working class”

    As for the 56 RS tenants, they have the protection of the RS law which will get them comparable housing – the others sold their residences at approximately double what they paid and probably 3x the value it would be worth post-bubble.

    Ratner definitely got a sweetheart deal – but not at “our expense” – he got a sweetheart deal on the land only because this development is complex, needed and desirable and he has a proven track record of getting things done in similar circumstances.

    It is interesting to me that the AY opposition talks about how great an (overall deal) he got but then in the next breath claim he is out of $ and will bankrupt….if the deal was so amazing how could he be in any trouble.

    The reality is that whenever you are talking about a decades long project, in the middle of a litigation happy city, which impacts on so many things – the risks are enormous and unpredictable….Virtually any other developer would have walked away already (and cost the city millions wih ZERO to show for it) – but Ratner has proven time and again that he has the political, economic and personal fortitude to get things finished – now you may not like this project, or Ratner but the fact that 6+yrs later and post-bubble bursting and endless litigation, he is still at it with new financing and different architechts demonstrates EXACTLY why the city and the MTA went with him in the 1st place.

  • When will people like “fsrg” ever get off this thing and do a little research. You have no idea ever about what you are saying. If you would take a little time to understand, you might walk the block. You might me the WORKING CLASS TENANTS such as Ms. R – who is a renter, with a disability, who is still living there. She has subtle nuisances like Ratner not fixing things in the building, adjusting the heat on a whim. Gag orders, and buy outs. Drilling, digging outside her window on a daily basis. And you FSRG, want to go on about trust funds, and things you have no clue about.

    Grow up, the world is an imperfect place, and the benefiters of this project are rich fat cats who do not care bit one about you, or working class people. If you think this project is for you or working class people, you live in a fantasy world that would be lovely, but is not real.

    The question has been asked for years. Exactly who do you think is going to live in those 19 proposed luxury high rise buildings? Definitely not you, definitely not OLD TIME WORKING CLASS UNION PEOPLE OF COLOR BROOKLYNITES. No, definitely not.

    Just be careful what you condemn, and what you wish for, because you will be sadly amazed apparently, when you get it. And ain’t no Tish James, or working class tenants who can NOT AFFORD to move, going to be there to help you.

    You people ask “doesn’t only one person live there?” NO, it is easy enough to find that out, but you pine away in your delusional fantasy scenario. Hundreds have been gag ordered and dispersed, and a few with integrity and fear and no options, remain. And others who may not be down trodden but have a sense of their human rights, fight on.

    Until you are willing to give up everything you own, everything you have chosen to do in your life, you really have no right to continually spread your ignorant judgments.

  • No- you’re talking about back room deals and the “old boy” system. Ratner is hardly the only successful developer in the city- far from it. Metrotach is not the wonderful downtown boost it was given to be. It’s dead at night, it’s unwelcoming- exactly like his Atlantic center- surely one of the worst designed shopping malls ever.

    As to who was living in the footprint- who are you to judge? The point is, ratner destroyed what was already a positive development in an old community, and on top of that he feels the need to declare eminent domain on other people’s property. This project will disrupt much of the surrounding communities for years. I have no idea what will happen to the bus routes but I guarantee it won’t be for the better. In a commmunity that doesn’t have too many subway stops close by for much of the community, its a big deal.

    If Ratner is running out of money- and according to some people he is, perhaps he should have planned a more economically feasible project that actually will repay the city. Now he is simply breaking promises and trying to renegotiate agreement with the MTA. He got breaks, and he was ushered through the process by ESDC who didn’t follow what the law requires. And yet people look the other way and still think he’s a great, capable guy. Go figure.

  • Not Ignorant;

    It’s a lovely fall day out there. I suggest that you go for a very, very, very long walk and take in some fresh air.
    Your post is nothing but a long, demagogic rant, of the type that you might find on some extremist political web site . You do not cite any studies nor statistics and your breathless talk about downtrodden people who have been gagged is just plain silly.

    Yeah,you’re right, Bruce Ratner is akin to the Taliban in Afhganistan who beat and gag women who dare to open schools for girls.

  • Please see the details of the new lawsuit for the full description of how this is so not about “affordable” housing. The Empire State Development Corp has now stated its willingness to make the affordable units contingent on public subsidies when no such condition exists in the approved project.

  • FSRG = Forest City Ratner Guy (or girl)?

    NotIgnorant = NottaMakinMuchSenseEither

    What even happened to the firm that made the alternate proposal that paid more for the land and didn’t require eminent domain? That was back in 2004 if I remember correctly. To me, the only REAL crime in all of this was that there was no real auction process for the land once it was decided the pols were behind the Ratner proposal. The Eminent domain process certainly sucked for the renters, but then, how can you ever expect a rental situation to last forever? The owners all made out like bandits. I was this close to buyer in the “Atlantic Arts” building, and would have doubled my money. Oh regrets….

  • Jeez- can the ESDC bend over any further and ask Ratner to kick it harder? Or kiss his butt any more than it already does?

  • “Ratner is hardly the only successful developer in the city- far from it. Metrotach is not the wonderful downtown boost it was given to be. ”


    Really? Care to identify a single developer who has taken on a project of this magnitude in the past 25 years?

    There are lots of developers in this town who handle single building projects. However,I can’t think of any who are taking on big projects like this.

    Let’s look at the score:

    -Ground Zero: still a hole in the ground;

    -Moynihan station: nowhere

    -Far West Side development in Manhattan: nada

    -Coney Island redevelopment: nowhere

    Shall we talk about how the MTA does with big complex projects? How is that Fulton Street project going?

  • Benson
    Thanks for the compliment I guess.
    I don’t need to cite a study, I am a citizen that lives here, just like you or fsrg, I’m not a researcher beyond that I just walk out my door and go meet people who live in the city I live in, over the years. If that is a political web site rant, so be it.

    You know who is not working class? Billionaire Oligarchs from Russia, Bruce Ratner who lives in the richest district in NYC, Bloomberg etc. I don’t think I need to cite some long winded study to know that fact. Sorry if the average citizen does not feel pleased when their tax dollars goes towards these fat cat’s enrichment, when senior citizen benefits are being cut, when the governor is having to cut every other service in the state practically. ( Sorry no study attached).

    No one said anything about gagging women, or the the Taliban, or likening Bruce Ratner to such a thing. That is the response of someone who just wants to create incongruent drama. You are clearly the one who could use a walk, putting ridiculous images and statements to my post.

    A gag order, which apparently you need a citing or definition to understand, is not gagging someone literally, dear. It means you are forced out and must sign a contract that says you can not speak. You are not bought out, you are possibly relocated, to a place you probably can not afford. And you do this for 19 luxury high rises, and a sports stadium. No one is likening that to the atrocities of Darfur of the unfathomable gender inequality in the world, so spare us your demagogue finger pointing.

    The point is, show us a picture of yourself, then point your finger about things you clearly know nothing about, that are easy enough to find out. One does not need to cite a study to recognize corruption.

  • Interesting…how ironic would it be if John Tuturo, Michelle Williams and all the “Anti-AY” celebrities end up in the front row at BK Nets games if the arena gets build and we sign LeBron?

  • notignorant – setting aside the incomprehensible and irrelevant parts of your post, what do you mean by gag orders? presumably, you are talking about a confidentiality agreement signed by the people who were given piles of cash, with their own free will? not something a judge forced these people into, right? when you insist on hyperbolizing and making stuff up, it really weakens whatever merit your argument may have had.

  • Wow, the working class renter who lives in the footprint is not comprehensible or relevant and does not make sense to you brokedeveloper or idisagree? Frightening.

    Maybe that is the whole problem, you have no clue that there are people involved. You only like numbers. You think a pile of cash ( evidence of this please) is the answer to all problems? Sad. You have no clue about the raw deals, the gag orders, the drilling, the lack of heat in the buildings on and on. You can’t understand that? Does not bode well for your over intellectualized points. Where is this pile of cash? To quote FSRG, you cite no sources. You believe what you want to believe to make it feel right for you. That is your free will. Good for you. Their free will? Really? A senior citizen who lived in his building for over 40 years, has a choice? He can live in the hellish conditions, that Ratner has created in the footprint, or he can use his “free will” to take approximately 80,000 to relocate his 40 years of living, memories, said good bye to his neighbors on and on. So I don’t think I’m hyperbolizing. If it’s preaching a human story, so be it. There are no piles of cash but for the ones Ratner will surely sit on if this project goes through.

    You find that irrelevant and incomprehensible? I can live with that.

  • Benson, Ratner built Metrotech, after many years.It has yet to deliver on its promise of remaking downtown Brooklyn. The Fire Dept made its headquarters there- to help him. The Shopping Malls have long been noted as poorly designed, and insular. Neither one of these are on a scale with AY- and there is little in his past work to indicate he is capable of bringing it to fruition- certainly Metrotech isn’t- it’s dwarfed by AY.

    The other point is that Ratner is dependent on special favors and dispensations to get what he wants done. Eminent Domain is a prime tool to him. So while you amy think he’s so great, it also pays to remember that Ground Zero, Joe Sitt, and other projects are getting the same help and handholding ratner is.

    Ground Zero is the Port Authority, Joe Sitt and the City are at odds over Coney Island, I have no idea who is behind the Moynihan Station (which is one building as opposed to 19 plus an arena)so I can’t address that, but to claim the West Side is lacking development is laughable. The misbegotten stadium idea was well and rightfully killed.

    As for how effective ratner is? It’s what? 4 or 5 years later and he is still in court having lot a ton of money and now trying to renege on agreements. Were he so effective a little guy like Goldstein would have been stopped ages ago. Obviously Ratner isn’t as good as you think.

  • Bxgrl;

    We can all have our opinion on Metrotech and the Altlantic Terminal as finished products. The point is that they ARE a product, and Ratner saw them through despite numerous obstacles akin to what he is facing with AY. He saw them through and completed the projects. That is precisely my point, and you don’t address it. You cite the difficulties of the other projects, even though some of them avail themselves of the same “tools” as Ratner. Exactly!!! They don’t have the fortitude to see the projects through. Bruce Ratner, on the other hand, has had the last laugh in all of his contested projects.

    Finally, before you laugh too hard about the West Side, I suggest that you understand what the heck I am talking about. I’m talking about the MTA and City’s proposal that the LIRR rail yeards on the Far West Side be developed, i.e. a platform be built over them and then housing and offices over that. In that case, the MTA opened the process up to all developers. Where is that project at???

  • Bxgrl;

    Oh, and I should have also said: once again, please identify one other developer who has completed a project of this scale in NYC in the past 25 years.

  • The NYS and city offices in Metrotech pay well over market rates to subsidize the well under market rents given to the commercial tenants. Ratner wins, we lose. Enough!

  • Here is the problem….it is basically impssible to argue with people who try to claim that Metrotech is a failure – when any honest, sober and unbiased assesment would acknowledge the near complete success it has been.

    “It is dead at night”

    Yeah and? So was Wall St until about 8yrs ago. Metrotech wasnt built as a mixed use 24/7 development – it was built to HELP retain white collar jobs in NYC and it worked! In fact it worked so well that, the most successful Marriott hotel in the nation was developed next door, and thousands of more hotel rooms are going up, thousands of residential units are being built in the neighborhood and Brooklyn is considered a viable and attractive location for living and business……You may not be aware of it – but when Metrotech was proposed, Brooklyn was considered a dying boro in conventional wisdom.
    The notion that a business district with private businesses, including publishing, finance and law exists in Downtown Brooklyn could be viewed as anything less than a triumph is just revisionist history….no one expected or wanted Metrotech to be some kind of mixed use 24/7 neighborhood, it was supposed to be an Office park to retain Cos from going to JC – mission accomplished

  • benson- 2 things-
    1. You don’t read my posts
    2. You shift your arguments to fit the need as when you started talking about women in Afghanistan in response to NotIgnorant.

    Your whole point was that Ratner is the only developer capable of building something of this size. I disagree. That he is the only one with the fortitude to see projects through? Well if that were the case, there would be a vast empty wasteland in Manhattan, and you can bet if the City and ESDC kissed everyone’s ass the way they did Ratner’s, everyone would be able to bring big projects to completion. Neither Metrotech nor Atlantic Terminal are nearly as big as Ground Zero, and I am sure Joe Sitt will follow through, despite everything.

    The other projects you mention have other issues and problems. Don’t even start the Ground Zero discussion- it would take days to sort out what’s happening down there but I’ll remind you that it is a far more complicated situation than AY. The city is fighting with Joe Sitt over Coney Island- not kissing his butt, like they are with Ratner.

    And if you remember correctly, instead of slipping and sliding on your own arguments, for years all that was ever proposed fot the Manhattan Yards was a stadium- from Guliani to Bloomberg. the housing and office space was an add on to them. Those ideas were defeated. Not doomed by a poor developer. So let’s stick to real comparisons, not red herrings.

  • FSRG- I lived in Brookyn, just a few blocks away form Metrotech and I heard, with my own ears, how wonderful it would be. How it would bring life back to downtown Brooklyn, blah, blah, blah. It’s not a complete failure- but it failed to deliver on its promise. The Marriot was not built because of Metrotech. It was built because downtown Brooklyn had thriving businesses, and was convenient to downtowm Manhattan. Because Bloomberg was desperate to keep business in NYC and began pushing Brooklyn as a viable, less expensive alternative. The Marriot was begun before Bloomberg took office but I can say from first hand experience, until Bloomberg came in, Metrotech basically sat there. Except for the FDNY anchoring it. It wasn’t till Bloomberg came into office that Metrotech became really successful.

    That said, Metrotech is still no indication that Ratner is going to be able to build AY- since letting Gehry go, one has to wonder how much of his plan and promises he will keep.

  • “Your whole point was that Ratner is the only developer capable of building something of this size. I disagree.”


    Once again: please identify the developers who are capable of taking on a project of this scale, based upon their track record in NYC.

    Regarding the Far West Side development: may I respectfully recommend that you read up on the history of this project because what you state in your latest post is completely incorrect. Giuliani had nothing to do with this project. It was first proposed by Bloomberg. See this link, which shows that the rezoning of this area took place in 2005, well into Bloomberg’s term, and at his urging:


    Furthermore, it has always involved housing and offices, and these components are NOT defeated, only the stadium was defeated. They are slated to be built by Related and Extell, two very large developers in this town. Of course, however, as I mentioned, the project has yet to get off the ground.

  • Benson, please identify how it is you think Ratner is capable of this project?

  • Guilani wanted a football stadium built on the West Side. Bloomberg, campaigned against it.

    It may be that the West Side project has yet to get off the goround- so does AY. It isn’t the developer that’s the problem (or the cure)- it’s the City. They can make or break a project. But here you are claiming only Ratner is capable and all your examples to prove your point only indicate what any developer has to content with. None of your examples prove your point, only that the City makes or breaks them. Of course Ratner can be successful- politicans are smoothing his way. The ESDC is making it easy- by bypassing regs. Let’s see how good he is without any of that.

  • Bxgrl – The Marriott was completed and occupied in 1997, some 4 years before Bloomberg came into office. As did all the major tenants of Metrotech including Brooklyn Union Gas (now National Grid), JP Morgan Chase/Bear Sterns, NYSE, SIAC, Liberty Ins, Poly Tech University and Morgan Stanley.

    Metrotech’s success has nothing to do with Bloomberg

  • Bxgrl;

    Good grief. Here is what I wrote in my original and follow-up post:

    “Far West Side development in Manhattan: nada”

    I’ve been talking about the FAR WEST SIDE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT, NOT the stadium!!! Once again, please read the link I provided.

    Enough, this debate has reached its limits. Let’s just agree to disagree.

  • Right on benson, let’s also remember the Ratner built arguably the best skyscraper in recent memory, 620 8th Ave. Plus Hilton TS, and any number of smaller projects. He gets the job done, he hires good people, and he runs and maintains his buildings well.

  • denton, proof that he runs his buildings well, please?

    Hires good people? LIke the guys at the AY hearings who yell out death threats? Please.

  • fsrg- I know there were major anchoring tenants- some of whom had been in the area already. I am talking about the upsurge in downtown Brooklyn overall. Bloomberg did have a great deal to do with that.

    benson- considering how the city operates, do you wonder why huge projects take so much time yet Ratner practically breezed through, until DDDB put the brakes on him? You never answered my question- if the City didn’t pave the way for him, would he seem so able to get huge projects done?

    denton- I can’t argue on what you say. I will say that maybe Atlantic Terminal is an aberration because it was poorly designed. I’m just protesting benson’s contention only Ratner could handle a project like AY, and we won’t know if that’s right or not until it’s done.

  • Proof? My biz is doing mechanical stuff in the big office buildings. I deal with every owner in the city, and have for more than twenty five years. Ratner runs his buildings well and treats his people well. I’ve seen it up close and personal in a way no one who’s not in the biz could know.

    What do you know?

  • I love it that anyone who has an anti AY opinion, and that is all any of these remarks are – opinions, must suddenly provide chapter and verse to back themselves up, or their opinion is considered invalid.

    It is possible to be anti-AY, as it involves FCR’s convoluted and backroom dealings, and NOT have a running list of stalled, failed or proposed Manhattan projects at hand. Give me a break. Whatever has or has not happened in Manhattan has little bearing on Brooklyn in this case, beyond the dashed expectations of Hizzoner and his real estate cronies. Fsrg and Benson can cite cases up the wazoo, that doesn’t make the way AY has been handled right.

    People are not stupid. The marketing propaganda of happy, attractive, multi-racial couples and their cute kids frolicking in the private park between the towers of AY was always about as realistic as Never Never Land. The realities of the back room deals, the low ball bids, the rushed studies and granting of ED, plus the cynical manipulations of working class people and minorities should leave a bad taste in the collective mouth of Brooklyn. We need development at this site. We don’t need this particular developer or his shady practices.

  • MM, your first para cuts both ways. Pls see 12:17.

    BTW we have a free market… if Ratner didn’t run his buildings well, tenants have alternatives in JC. And while I don’t have an exact breakdown, not all Metrotech tenants are guvment, not by a long shot.

  • denton- just wanted to clarify. When Metrotech went up, I was very happy. I thought then, and still do that it was a plus for the area. I don’t think it lived up to its hype and I don’t think it proves Ratner can build AY as originally planned. Like MM, a lot of the process was shady, and the city did not take the best deal. I think he shot himself in the foot by wanting to use eminent domain, and by making it so outscale. DDDB shouldn’t be blamed for Ratner’s troubles- he brought it on himself by being arrogant,and greedy. From lack of transparency to special dispensations to demapping streets, ratner ran roughshod over the communities in the area. And he got help form the City and ESDC to do it.

  • oops- “from the city”

  • “We need development at this site. We don’t need this particular developer or his shady practices.”

    MM, I hope I’m wrong, but if Ratner doesn’t develop it, I seriously doubt anyone else will touch it with a ten foot pole. Millions of his money down the toilet?

  • denton- I don’t think Ratner will allow anyone else to develop there. Unless he decides to sell of parcels.

  • FSRG:

    The reason that the Marriott was successful was Brooklyn needed a hotel, period. With not hotel events for religious organizations, fraternal organizations, weddings, aniversaries, birthdays were celebrated on the other side of the river.

    If you don’t remember, Ratner got a sweetheart deal on that site too. Once upon a time it was a municipal parking lot. Plus, FRC or whatever Ratner entity didn’t believe that the market would support the hotel. In order to build it, an agreement with the Brooklyn DA for office space was required.

    With Metotech, the developer didn’t live up to many of the promises. If the past is any indication of the future, too few Brooklynites will ever see any benefit. The big winner will be the developer.

  • hey people, lets move on. Because of DDDB – this area has been blighted for longer than it should, Because of DDDB this area has become a dark and dangerous corner to walk, during the day and night, becuase of DDDB no new businesses have entered into this area, Because of DDDB new businesses have folded because they were relying on the stadium for revenue, because of DDDB, Daniel Goldstein has put himself and his family in dangerous jeopardy. Because of DDDB this once thriving neighborhood looks like SHIT!
    Let’s move on and build something already.!!!!!!! An arena is better than the shitty looking empty railyard that sat for years in that neighborhood, when crack was being sold and used in that yard. No one complained then. Dan Goldstein was happy to raise his family in that neighborhood.
    The majority of property owners and residents in the Ft. Greene, Prospect Heights and Park Slope neighborhood want progress and dont give a rats ass about DDDB. The residents who had to leave the footprint were the ones who got sweetheart deals!!! Property owners got great deals, and henry weinstein and the rest of the property owners in the area cant wait for a sweetheart deal!!! Everyone benefits including our neighborhood. BRING ON THE ARENA!!!!

  • Brooklynishome-

    Brooklyn had a hotel (many in fact) – but they all closed, despite the need for event space for religious organizations, fraternal organizations, weddings, aniversaries, birthdays etc…

    Those events moved across the river because Brooklyn was considered D-E-A-D.
    Ratner built Metrotech, many other positives happened and THEN the Marriott was built –
    and NOT by Ratner – it was built by Muss development, and it was only after the success of Metrotech that Muss went ahead with “Renaissance Plaza”. The idea that Muss would have went ahead with the Marriott without Metrotech coming first is laughable. The Marriott was considered a pretty risky investment even in 1996 a FAR from the sure thing you are trying to make it out now. Additionally, Ratner got no govt subsidies for “Renaissance plaza” since it wasnt Ratner who built it.

  • “Because of DDDB this ONCE THRIVING neighborhood looks like SHIT! ”

    Your argument backwards. That once thriving neighborhood was blighted by Ratner. DDDB was trying to save it. YOu call it “once thriving” and then claim Goldstein is wiling to raise his kids next to the yard. Your facts need some work.

    BTW- the railyards are not empty. They are used everyday by the MTA- wherever did you get that notion? And Crown Heights is also an affected neighborhood. The majority of residents do not want AY as it is planned. In fact, I hardly think you can claim a majority of property owners and residents want the arena or AY. I don’t see huge numbers of them coming to the defense of Ratner and FCR.

  • northflatbushgirl
    Actually there were a ton of businesses there, Ratner kicked them out.
    Businesses actually have opened, but they have not thrived because, Ratner pushed out the residents who would have gone there.

    Let’s build the arena, on your apartment, would you mind stepping aside, miss big mouth?

    Yeah, did not think so.

    But sure go on schilling for Bruce Ratner, I’m sure he’ll be there for you when you need a job and an affordable living space. Right.

  • And, thanks Montrose, for your sanity. The real bottom line is this is a blog based on mostly anonymous opinions. Ratner does not give a rats ass what we think that is for sure. And if these posts exemplify what an actual neighbor is, then perhaps it is time to move on.
    It is very easy to point fingers with out considering what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Nasty uneducated uninformed name calling is easy, easy. It takes integrity to try and understand the situation around you, with out blind faith. I ain’t buying any of it. The whole thing wreaks of robbery and corruption. There are facts to back that up, infinite. But ultimately it is my belief and opinion, and I will as such continue to fight, despite the vicious name calling that goes on in a blog post.

  • NotIgnorant- there’s plenty of us fighting alongside you.

  • “Because of DDDB this ONCE THRIVING neighborhood looks like SHIT!”

    “Your argument backwards. That once thriving neighborhood was blighted by Ratner.”

    You’re both wrong. I’ve been here since 1963, and it looked like crap THEN and since that time has only changed in degrees of relative crappiness. It was crappy long before you guys or Ratner for that matter happened along.

    “The majority of residents do not want AY as it is planned.”

    bxgrl, do you have any evidence to support this claim? Because I disagree. There has been no public referendum on this project, so how can you say most people do not support it?

    “Let’s build the arena, on your apartment, would you mind stepping aside, miss big mouth?”

    If someone came along and offered me a solid 2-2.5X what the market value for my apartment, then yeah, I wouldn’t mind stepping aside.

  • “There has been no public referendum on this project” That’s part of the problem — we’ve all been swept aside by this developer and our mayor (for life, or so he seems to think), with this deal being made directly in Albany, with help from Mike and Marty.

  • “Nasty uneducated uninformed name calling is easy, easy.”

    For instance:

    “would you mind stepping aside, miss big mouth?”

    Anyway, the “piles of cash” that the condo buyers in the Atlantic Arts building, for example, received are pretty well documented. I just looked up an apartment there that was purchased for $445k and sold to Ratner for over a million. Try 01127 1106 (and subsequent numbers) in ACRIS.

    I’m not going to begin to say that Ratner is completely above board, nor am I even saying that an arena is the best thing for the area. Its just that I still just don’t understand why this whole thing is being done in the name of Eminent Domain, which in this case is really only affecting renters, who by defintion, are temporary occupants.

    I think a lot of it (and I will not claim to know your intentions, NotIgnorant) is just NIMBY disguised as a campaign against Eminent Domain and the poor renters.

  • by last week’s new semantics that makes you a raging bull on AY!! (paraphrase, if you’re a market realist or anything short of a raging bear on real estate prices then you are a brownstone bull. what crap!)

    i also am a bit mystified by the uproar that moving a renter seems to cause. i’m for old folks and all but i don’t understand why living as a renter somewhere for 10-, 20-, or 40-years entitles one to live in the same place ad infinitum. RS laws take care of these situations. if we don’t like the results let’s start by changing RS rules.

    this of course also makes me a bull on AY.

  • The real reason Ratner wants to use ED is to get the remaining RS tenants out. Under rent stabilization laws the LL is required to offer the tenant a renewal lease (provided the tenant is not in default) ad infinitum, unless the apartment is needed for the LL’s family (obviously not the case here!) or the property is seized by eminent domain — Ratner owns these buildings, but even he can’t get rid of the tenants who refused his buyout offers (which weren’t that great for renters — he agreed to pick up three years’ worth of rent payments and to pay the broker’s fee, as well as offering them a unit in one of the to-be-built buildings — as market rates) without ED. He wants the state to take his property away from him so he can get rid of them.

  • “Ratner owns these buildings, but even he can’t get rid of the tenants who refused his buyout offers (which weren’t that great for renters — he agreed to pick up three years’ worth of rent payments and to pay the broker’s fee, as well as offering them a unit in one of the to-be-built buildings — as market rates) without ED”

    Of course that deal was inferior to “ad infinitum” renewal – that’s why the renters turned it down! Eminent Domain is intended for the “greater public good.” So tell me, does the desires 50+ of rent-stabilized renters to remain in under-market-priced housing for the rest of their lives represent a greater public good than the potential jobs, housing and amenities AY could create? In my opinion, they don’t.

  • Seems a little odd to make this about renters- eminent domain may be kicking them out, but its their landlord who is losing the property. If Ratner owns the property, and he has been given the right to build, renters are the least of his worries.

  • Hmm brokedeveloper, I guess it is NIMBY, because I don’t want 19 luxury condo buildings that won’t be available to any actual low income people who live in the neighborhood and I don’t want an arena that will stand to only align the pockets of Bruce Ratner and a Russian Billionaire, who probably can not even locate this project on a map, in my backyard. You are right, if that is NIMBY so be it. Finally.

    East New York
    ” There has been no public referendum on this project, so how can you say most people do not support it?”

    Exactly, prove otherwise.


    “If someone came along and offered me a solid 2-2.5X what the market value for my apartment, then yeah, I wouldn’t mind stepping aside.”

    Again, nice fantasy. Since that was and never will be the case, it is hard to believe you would move aside for a wealthy developer and a billionaire Oligarch.
    In fact I bet you would not even move for a shelter, or an actual public use.
    Let’s hope you are never forced to answer the question truly.

  • antidope

    “i also am a bit mystified by the uproar that moving a renter seems to cause. i’m for old folks and all but i don’t understand why living as a renter somewhere for 10-, 20-, or 40-years entitles one to live in the same place ad infinitum. RS laws take care of these situations. if we don’t like the results let’s start by changing RS rules.

    this of course also makes me a bull on AY.”

    Perhaps it does not entitle you, but when the argument by the so called “community” that is all for the taking, to build an arena, cry out, “we were born and raised here,” etc. ad finitum” blah blah blah it kind of puts a hole in the public opinion.
    Tenants have no rights what so ever, they will be no “taking care of.”

    Not everyone can be bought, but many folks on here think that is the bottom line. If you get “paid” then bend over for a rich developer from Cleveland, who resides on the upper east side, who has bought the part of the community that he needed to (BUILD) in order to make you believe that you and the public will benefit from this.

    Partnering with ACORN was just a disguise to look like he gives a crap about low income people, or even basketball for that matter. Take the usual protestors, pay them off, shut them up and there you go.

  • i used to live right near AY and this last year had to go around the corner once a week. while i’ll buy that there was some uptick in the hood prior to ratner, nothing but something big was going to fix empty railroad tracks and desolate streets. the area is just a big nothing. it looks like some movie version of an inner city wasteland. living around there was somewhat scary – threats weekly or more and it was just unpleasant.

    totally agree with Benson that few if any could manage to get through the city nonsense to change this area to something positive. there’s nothing to save there – it’s crap.

    ratner plays the system well, that’s part of the deal – knowing people, getting favors, whatever. i just don’t care! i wasn’t gonna do it and few could.

    let progress continue. bring on new buildings and the stadium! this will put Brooklyn front and center in the national mindset and it will help all our property values.

  • if brownstoner doesn’t give the same volume of coverage to the other side of the coin – lawsuits defeated, bonds sold, constuction updates, then i’m taking a virtual corn-studded dump on this blowg. if i see you at a nets game ill gut you.

  • several thoughts:

    1. eminent domain would be used to take property from owners (residents and businesses) as well as to move out renters.

    2. i think eminent domain is abused when it transfers private property from one private entity to another private entity in the pursuit of increased revenues or some subjective “public benefit” as opposed to an explicit public use, like a public school or railway. this is a slippery slope that could leave all property owners at risk if someone only needs to convince the state that they could make more “productive use” of your property than you. “public benefit” is too vague and open to interpretation.

    3. i want development over the rail yards, but not if it means we (taxpayers) are paying far too high a price with little or no benefit.

    4. i think the rail yards should be divided into smaller parcels that multiple developers bid on for the right to develop, like battery park city. i think it’s a bad idea to have one man, bruce ratner, in control of such a large piece of central brooklyn (atlantic yards is 22 acres + atlantic terminal mall + atlantic center + metrotech)

    5. an arena in the middle of a residential neighborhood is not a good idea. ny city zoning forbids this, but this zoning was overridden by the state.

    6. redevelopment of the area was underway (newswalk condos, atlantic arts building, spalding building, 475 dean, etc) before atlantic yards. the ward bread bakery was being considered to be turned into a hotel+shops. once the ED cat was let out of the bag, this all ground to a halt. no sane developer is going to risk having their property taken, so most will sit on the sidelines to see what happens. who knows where we’d be today if the threat of ED never existed? i suspect that many of the now vacant lots would have already been built on, the historic ward bakery might have been renovated. i know that i would not be in such strong opposition if there was no threat of ED.

  • AY is a big scam. I don’t care how many stats you try to pimp.
    ratner’s a scumbag, period. Mark Twain said that there are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics…
    I live in Brooklyn as I have all my life and the infrastructure of the area will not sustain the additional traffic, that’s commomn sense that anyone can see w/out reading a report. So, who’s going to pay to widen the street? Oh, I forgot they’re saying everyone is going to be using public trans… have you ever been on the platform at Atlantic in the morning, there’s people practically falling off it’s so crowded, it’s simple common sense to say that a huge new Super-Development would add to this problem. Who cares about these dangerous crowding conditions? Not the city, not Developer-blowing Bloomberg, not Ratner, not the MTA who actually sold the land for less than another bidder offered. So tell me contrstruction lobby guy, wtf? and that’s not a rhetorical question Nelson…

  • working class – at least one household member, more often than not two to make ends meet, working in a manual or low paid office job. Welfare class – not working class.

  • It is a “wasteland” because Ratner made it so. Simple. The “movie set” you see was created by Ratner, he is director, and he is controlling you all quite well. The buildings that were there, were not falling apart.

    As for coverage “on the other side,” they get to be in bed with the NY Times enough said. If you don’t like that, take it up with Bloomberg who wants to get rid of the Public Advocate.

    Boo hoo rich developer and Russian Oligarch are not getting their just coverage on Brownstoner? Spare us.

  • a “long time, first time” here, in the parlance of sports talk callers… Guess it is just the insanity — admittedly, on both sides — that finally prompted me to join the fray.

    A few random comments first. 1) “NotIgnorant” has to be the most ironic moniker on this blog given his/her oh-so-intelligent offerings on this topic. 2) 10:36 last night, BrooklynLove, effing hilarious … right on.

    It is an understatement to call this issue divisive, and no one is going to convince the most entrenched to switch sides, but let’s call a spade a spade. As someone already noted yesterday, this whole DDDB campaign really smacks of a whiney NIMBY objection to progress that’s cloaked itself in all sorts of socially responsible claims to seem more palatable to new members/donors, keep the trendy $$ flowing, and keep the legal fight alive. Let’s not kid ourselves, though, this isn’t Jackie Kennedy fighthing to save Grand Central. There is no beautiful historic landmark in danger of being torn down, rather there is a desolate rail yard (as has widely been noted). And no, NotIgnorant, this urban “wasteland” was not created by Ratner, it’s been around for years. Will some people be inconvenienced, unfortunately yes. Is Ratner the best man for the job, maybe/probably not. Will the subways be more crowded, yes. But in the end, will an urban wasteland be transformed into something actually useable and hopefully pleasant… YES. That’s progress, folks, and from the tone of things you’d think none of us live in New York City, where all this stuff is commonplace.

    We can debate ad nauseum about whether the design is good or not (one thing’s clear, it would have been much _better_ had the project started on schedule, without delay by DDDB: the Frank Gehry design became too expensive after groundbreaking was delayed into the credit crisis and beyond due to all this senseless legal posturing), but in a few years I for one will happily walk the few blocks from my home to see top-tier sports back in Brooklyn. The Dodgers wanted to build on the very same site many years ago, precisely because it is conveniently right on top of an LIRR station and just about every subway line in the city (so will it really bring all that much more auto traffic??), and if Robert Moses had let them perhaps they’d still be the Brooklyn Dodgers today, but I digress.

    Make no mistake, folks, the writing is on the wall. This project will happen, but thanks to DDDB’s continued naive opposition, the site will just stagnate for longer and the design will become more watered down. Thanks guys, way to look out for our community.

  • be_rude: a few corrections/comments:

    1. there *was* a beautiful landmark (in my opinion and that of the landmark commission) that has been torn down: the ward bread bakery building. and there are beautifully restored buildings (atlantic arts, spaulding building) and others that could be restored (475 dean) that would be demolished. i don’t think anyone is against development over the railyard.

    2. call them what you want, but DDDB fighting eminent domain abuse, cronyism, zoning overrides, backroom deals, various tax and subsidy shenanigans, etc, etc is the kind of NIMBYism that i’ll support every day. don’t you care that we’d be getting such a bad deal for the nearly $1B it will cost us, and the lost opportunity to actually build something we can afford?

    3. i don’t believe it’s clear that if ratner had no opposition that he’d have built what he said he’d build, as there was and still is no obligation for him to build what he says he’ll build. and, the entire project could not have been built before the financial crisis, even with his initial optimistic schedule, so right now we’d most likely be left with some partially complete project for some undetermined very long amount of time. i’m happy that we still have a clean slate instead of being locked into whatever ratner may have started.

    4. the dodgers didn’t want to build on the atlantic yards site. they wanted to build on the atlantic terminal and atlantic mall site. why doesn’t ratner just tear down those eyesores and build his arena there, free and clear of eminent domain?

    5. make no mistake: the project *might* happen, whatever it may become. but thanks to dddb’s continued opposition, we just might avoid being saddled with a money-losing, eminent-domain abusing, ratner monopoly on 22 acres of prime brooklyn real estate.

    6. thanks guys for looking out for our community.