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Barclays Center groundbreaking has cheers and jeers

Cyril Josh Barker | 4/12/2011, 5:32 p.m.
Barclays Center groundbreaking has cheers and jeers

Protesters blew whistles, held signs, chanted and used noisemakers to show their outrage against the project that many say will change the face of the neighborhood.

According to the organization Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), the Atlantic Yards Project would be "instant gentrification." DDDB believes that 64 percent of housing from the project will go toward high-income families.

"Today is a very sad day to be a Brooklynite. Our state government, long mired in corruption and scandal, has bent over backwards to give Bruce Ratner whatever he wants, including my home, and the homes of other citizens. I am angry with our so-called political leaders, who proudly stand by their abuse of power," said Daniel Goldstein. "They're having a groundbreaking for a money-losing arena during a housing crisis. No benefit for those who need it most. It was an exclusive party. A lot of attention was given to Jay-Z, but he owns 1 percent of the Nets. It was a sad day. We were limited by the police who overreacted. I was very proud of the protest and the enthusiasm because of the anger over what was being celebrated. It was an abusive process to get to that day."

Goldstein said the numbers being tossed around are far from the truth.

"Governor Paterson, the mayor and Ratner had different numbers," said the homeowner. "They are way inflated from reality. They talk about all these jobs. The arena is not an economic engine for the city. They can talk all day long about how wonderful this project is, but what they were breaking ground for is a money-losing arena during a housing crisis. The Nets are not the Dodgers. This has nothing to do with Brooklyn but getting a professional sports team but the land in Brooklyn to lose it. What should be going on are investigations, not celebrations. We advocated to develop the rail yards. The fight against Atlantic Yards is over, but we are realistic. The state has taken over that 22 acres. It appears there will be an arena, but we doubt it will be open in 2012. They removed a piece of a neighborhood they said was blighted, but wasn't.

"Out of 45 Brooklyn politicians, only six were there at the event. Very few politicians wanted to be at the groundbreaking."

DDDB is also charging that the project is an abuse of eminent domain. A suit remains in Manhattan State Supreme Court and an oral argument will take place next month.