Atlantic Yards then and now: Political theater to public loss

It’s been six years since the announcement of the Atlantic Yards Project. During that time, the project has been heralded by some as a harbinger of a new Brooklyn renaissance with “historic” benefits for the borough. Others have criticized its design, anticipated environmental impacts, and lack of community involvement.

However, all of the press releases, consultants’ reports, public hearings and board meetings since then were just so much political theater. Nobody beside the project’s developer and a few political appointees really knew what the public was likely to get in exchange for massive subsidies and years of construction. Now that the master closing among the State, the City and Forest City Ratner has taken place, New Yorkers can finally see what we have to look forward to. And it’s not the picture we’ve been promised.

ESDC approved one project in December 2006, but agreed to a different one in December 2009—an Atlantic Yards with far less affordable housing, fewer jobs and many more years of construction blight. How could this happen? And where do we go from here?

BrooklynSpeaks has prepared a presentation of what’s changed now that the final agreements have been signed, why the public should be concerned, and the growing amount of attention abuses in public/private partnerships have been receiving from government agencies, elected officials, and press commentators. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the future of Brooklyn's largest development project, and you can download it here. (Requires PowerPoint 2007 or compatible viewer.)