Churches Rally for Jobs and Housing at Atlantic Yards


Yesterday afternoon twenty five churches and a few community groups and political leaders got together outside the Barclays Arena to protest the lack of local jobs and affordable housing thus far at the Atlantic Yards project. We’d estimate there were maybe 150 or so people there (Norman Oder is going with 130-150). There was plenty of oration from the group of ministers, led by Brown Memorial Baptist Church pastor Clinton Miller who’d spearheaded the event, and chanting from the crowds. Reverend Clinton Miller of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church proclaimed the group the Coalition for Arena Justice and said, “”We the people of Brooklyn have been sold a bad bill of goods.” (You can see a video of Miller here.) Councilwoman Letitia James also showed up, saying “We need jobs that can sustain families and not jobs selling hot dogs,” according to Carroll Gardens Patch. The Brooklyn Speaks website had summarized the reason of the protest on its website ahead of time: “Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, zoning overrides, and the power of eminent domain were given to developer Forest City Ratner in exchange for affordable housing, permanent and construction jobs, and public benefits. More than five years after the project’s approval, New Yorkers still aren’t close to getting what we were promised.” Similar sentiments were echoed on the flyer for the event: “Ratner gave us is word in 2006 and what do we have to show for it? Three hundred units of housing by 2022 and 645 construction jobs? Brooklyn demands better!” Prospect Heights Patch ran a response from the developer in a preview post over the weekend: “We understand fully the need for more jobs and more housing in Brooklyn and throughout the City, which is why we’ve been working very hard to make Atlantic Yards a reality. But there’s a certain irony that people who were opposed to the project, and worked hard to stall the project, now criticize it for not delivering fast enough the benefits.” Related: Atlantic Yards Report reported on Saturday that Forest City restated its intention to break ground on the first residential tower this calendar year. You can see lots of photos of the protest on the jump as well as a video on the Brownstoner Facebook page. More coverage at Atlantic Yards Report and Prospect Heights Patch.

32 Comment

  • Perhaps, they should rally in front of the residences of all those so-called black “leaders” who said anyone against AY was “racist” because it would prevent the creation of “badly needed” jobs for minorities, as they stuffed Ratner’s cash in their pockets.

  • Perhaps, they should rally in front of the residences of all those so-called black “leaders” who said anyone against AY was “racist” because it would prevent the creation of “badly needed” jobs for minorities, as they stuffed Ratner’s cash in their pockets.

  • tish james is borderline retarded.

  • I didn’t want my money to subsidize an arena, but others made the choice for me.

    Likewise, I didn’t believe that an arena would solve society’s ills, but others imposed their beliefs on me.

    We should all be wary of politicians and leaders who believe developers who promise us magic beans….

    Now, we should all simply enjoy the arena we all paid for. Next.

  • I couldn’t be happier about no jobs and no affordable housing. It should be a lesson for the gullible community about their corrupt leaders like Jeffries, Lewis, Daughtry and Sharpton who all made out well. Oh and not to forget de Basio, Lander and their ilk. Tish and a few ministers were right all along. They were heroic and took a lot of abuse. The die is cast. The war is over and the good guys lost. Unfortunately, I am one of those who had to pay for this boodle.

  • Oh and I forgot the biggest clown of all the “jovial panda’ Marty Markowitz.

  • Tish James was one of the few elected officials who bucked the trend and opposed AY from the very beginning. I’m sure the pressure on her to go along was tremendous. If anything, she’s the only one of them who comes out shining, here.

    None of this surprises me in the least, I said it from the beginning. But that doesn’t make it easier to swallow. Brooklyn needs housing and jobs. This boondoggle was promised as the answer to both. Naive of people to trust FCR? Of course. But at the end of the day, no matter who saw what, or backed what, we still don’t have affordable housing or much employment other than minimum wage, bottom of the heap, service jobs.

    We’ve been royally fleeced, and should demand our money back.

  • Can’t tell the players without a program? It seems much of the finger-pointing here has various people on the wrong team.

  • I believe Tish James is wrong on this issue. If you take a look at some of the jobs offered on the Barclays site, several of them are mid-level management jobs. However she is otherwise a conscientious and hard-working representative and is anything but “borderline retarded.”

    • Fair point ENY but how many of those “several,” “mid-level” jobs will be done by “people in the community?” Compare that to the “civil rights” march over the Brooklyn Bridge a few years ago by Ratner’s syncophants about AY = tons of “good jobs.”

  • Ratner is a shamster. All lies, and now there’s nothing anyone can do about it as he runs laughing to the bank.

  • Ratner is a shamster. All lies, and now there’s nothing anyone can do about it as he runs laughing to the bank.

  • I’d like to think this is a case of being people being desperate for a solution, and then falling for a snake oil cure. …but I’m more cynical.

  • This should be a lesson to the people against historic preservation also like councilwoman Darlene Mealy. This is what happens when we trust developers. We’ll see when people start seeing horrible construction in Bedford Stuyvesant devaluating their homes.

  • Fair point ENY but how many of those “several,” “mid-level” jobs will be done by “people in the community?”

    **

    Who knows? The opportunity is there, that’s the most important thing. It’s up to someone who wants the job to try to get it, just like any other job.

    You know, I saw the same sort of opposition before MetroTech was built, and in the end Ratner stayed the course and built a good development. Not perfect, but good and certyainly an improvement over what was there previously. In 10 or so years, when the fly-by-night opposition has left Brooklyn behind and moved on to the next cause celebre, folks like me who remain will be glad to have a job-producing entertainment facility in Brooklyn where there was once just a damn hole in the gound.

    • ENY – I agree, I could care less who gets those jobs, it should go the ones who are the most deserving, regardless of race or residency. That’s what makes the whole Ratner sponsored “Black Leaders for AY” such a joke.

      I’m excited that the Barclays centre is there. Brooklyn was long overdue for a sports team and arena BUT the way it was built via undeserved tax/ real-estate givaways, land-theft, and divide & conquer politics (“tons of jobs”& “affordable housing” lies. per Ratner,) still leaves a bitter taste in many people’s mouths, including mine.

    • ENY – I agree, I could care less who gets those jobs, it should go the ones who are the most deserving, regardless of race or residency. That’s what makes the whole Ratner sponsored “Black Leaders for AY” such a joke.

      I’m excited that the Barclays centre is there. Brooklyn was long overdue for a sports team and arena BUT the way it was built via undeserved tax/ real-estate givaways, land-theft, and divide & conquer politics (“tons of jobs”& “affordable housing” lies. per Ratner,) still leaves a bitter taste in many people’s mouths, including mine.

  • I pretty much agree, crown, except I don’t think that was the ideal location for a large sports arena, in spite of the “transportation hub”. I happen to think people are going to drive, because they want to drive, and a subway car from their front door to the front door of the center wouldn’t persuade them to give up the privacy and comfort of their cars, so parking is going to be the gift that keeps on giving, long after we get over the rest of what you said.

    That said, I agree on everything else you said, especially regarding the bait and switch and black leaders. I hope everyone learned something from this.

  • the way it was built via undeserved tax/ real-estate givaways, land-theft, and divide & conquer politics (“tons of jobs”& “affordable housing” lies. per Ratner,) still leaves a bitter taste in many people’s mouths, including mine.

    **

    Did Ratner get a sweetheart deal? No question he did. Did he curry favor with local groups of various stripes to further the project? Yep. Is the stadium strage-looking? Yep.

    But, Ratner is not the first NYC developer to get a sweetheart deal, and in his case he actually delivers something close to what he promises. I agree he sought the favor of various local groups, but not for any sinister reasons. Like any good businessman his primary goal is to make money, and in his case he’s built here for years and knows how things work.

    And so what if the stadium is “ugly?” It’s a sports stadium, not an art museum. Anyway, in 10-20 years people will be calling it “iconic,” especially if we get some great sports and entertainment happening there.

    Meanwhile, some local retailers and entrepreneurs have the chance to try opening restaurants and clubs and hiring people. Tax revenues will increase. And some people will have jobs at a time when any job is a good one.

    • ENY – well exactly – This is about money and that’s fine with me, but it was never about (union) jobs, and housing, and saving non-brownstone owning (mostly working class minority) people from global warming and all this other nonsense.

      If you think it’s ok for the Govt to “condem” one’s private property to give it to a PRIVATE, politically connected developer. That it’s ok for land to be sold literally 10′s, if not hundreds of million’s of dollars below market to a private developer, then you are right – all will be forgotten once Cirque Du Soleil and the WWE comes to town.

  • the way it was built via undeserved tax/ real-estate givaways, land-theft, and divide & conquer politics (“tons of jobs”& “affordable housing” lies. per Ratner,) still leaves a bitter taste in many people’s mouths, including mine.

    **

    Did Ratner get a sweetheart deal? No question he did. Did he curry favor with local groups of various stripes to further the project? Yep. Is the stadium strage-looking? Yep.

    But, Ratner is not the first NYC developer to get a sweetheart deal, and in his case he actually delivers something close to what he promises. I agree he sought the favor of various local groups, but not for any sinister reasons. Like any good businessman his primary goal is to make money, and in his case he’s built here for years and knows how things work.

    And so what if the stadium is “ugly?” It’s a sports stadium, not an art museum. Anyway, in 10-20 years people will be calling it “iconic,” especially if we get some great sports and entertainment happening there.

    Meanwhile, some local retailers and entrepreneurs have the chance to try opening restaurants and clubs and hiring people. Tax revenues will increase. And some people will have jobs at a time when any job is a good one.

  • “If you think it’s ok for the Govt to “condem” one’s private property to give it to a PRIVATE, politically connected developer.”

    Let’s put it this way. I own a home, which I love. But if someone comes along and offers me 3X its market value to build a stadium in this spot, he’s got a deal.

  • I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, did people really believe Ratner when he promised jobs and housing? Cm’on. On the other hand, I’m enjoying any kind of backlash against The Rat.