In the last few months, the battle cries of the Atlantic Yards opponents have quieted—or been drowned out by the hubbub of basketball games and concerts at Barclays. There has been a subtle shift in tone and subject matter, with the conversation turning away from Atlantic Yards and the bitter debate that has characterized so much of the development’s history.
But despite the shift in focus, the eastern end of Downtown Brooklyn remains scarred by an open railyard—an 8.5-acre tear in the urban fabric that Forest City Ratner is supposed to someday heal.
The platform over Vanderbilt Yards, as it’s known, is the difference between a highly challenging “blighted” development site—arguably deserving of special subsidies, tax breaks and the seizure of private land through eminent domain—and a prime development site in a plum location.
The Atlantic Yards certainly knows how to get someone else to pick up the tab. It’s like a friend who always manages to forget his wallet when going out to dinner, or the pal who neglects to pony up her share of the group gift you all went in on together.
First, the project scored $305 million in state and city subsidies via the Empire State Development Corporation, then the arena protested a tax assessment for taxes it didn’t even have to pay (an oversight, it claimed), and now it’s literally getting a free ride on the existing transportation infrastructure—an infrastructure that is ferrying a lot of visitors and cash to Barclays, but that Ratner doesn’t want to help finance.
The battle over the Atlantic Yards has been a punishing experience even for the most dedicated community activist. It has been long and unrewarding and now, with the opening of the arena, many are finally calling it quits, The New York Times reports.
Congestion grows in Brooklyn
The residents in the neighborhoods bordering Barclays Arena will almost certainly be stuck with congestion and beer-swilling visitors, but at least they may be spared a multi-level nightclub.
The landlord is evicting Kemistry Lounge’s owners for non-payment of rent, putting a halt (if only a temporary one) to their clubbing brainchild, Brownstoner reports. That’s good news for those nearby the lounge’s would-be home at 260 Flatbush Avenue.