Some Brooklyn News

In Housing, Land rights, Laws & Regulation, New York City, Urban Planning / Space on February 20, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Being a Brooklyn resident, I thought that I would share some information that I received from the Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn newsletter.  It’s a good website for keeping up with Brooklyn development (i.e. Atlantic yards/Ratner), so go check it out.

First is a report about a recent court hearing:

Federal Judge Hears Eminent Domain Oral Arguments; Case Could Derail “Atlantic Yards”

An overflowing crowd of Brooklyn residents and reporters (some late arrivals had to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit TV in the courthouse’s cafeteria) filled the courtroom of Federal Magistrate Robert Levy on February 7th, as the judge listened to initial oral arguments in the eminent domain lawsuit filed by property owners and tenants whose homes and businesses lie in the footprint of the proposed “Atlantic Yards” development.

The hearing, in the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, was held in response to a motion to dismiss the case, brought by the defendants, who include the Empire State Development Corporation, Forest City Ratner, former Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The defendants are fearful of the case going to trial in Federal court, where the fate of Bruce Ratner’s “Atlantic Yards” project would rest solely on the law – and with a politically independent, impartial judge.

If the case proceeds to trial – and many courtroom observers believe that Judge Levy’s demeanor and his line of questioning indicate there’s a good chance it will – it would derail Ratner’s plans to erect an arena and a superblock of high-rise buildings in Prospect Heights. If the plaintiffs win, the project will have to go back to the drawing board, or be scrapped altogether, because the arena cannot be built, nor can streets de-mapped, without the plaintiffs’ homes and businesses.

During the nearly four hours of sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-technical courtroom back-and-forth, Judge Levy seemed largely unmoved by the defendants’ arguments; at one point, he interrupted ESDC lawyer Douglas Kraus to tell him “you and I have very different ideas about the law.” For more on the courtroom blow-by-blow, we recommend the coverage at the always-excellent Atlantic Yards Report, and this story from The New York Sun.

Judge Levy is expected to make a recommendation to presiding Judge Nicholas Garaufis on the defendants’ motion in the next few weeks. If he denies the motion (and we’re optimistic he will), the discovery process will begin, leading to a trial some time in the next few months.


Secondly, here are some screening dates and locations for a movie about the proposed development projects and the “antics” behind them.  I haven’t seen the movie, but it looks good, and i might go try to check it out.  It’s definitely an issue that people need to understand more about.

Brooklyn Matters,” local filmmaker Isabel Hill’s documentary chronicle of the shenanigans behind Bruce Ratner’s full-court press to erect his massively scaled, massively subsidized “Atlantic Yards,” is a must-see – and it’s coming to a location near you.

“Of all the protesting voices and hundreds of thousands of words in opposition to the proposed Atlantic Yards development, nothing is as convincing as Isabel Hill’s excellent film.”
– Stuart Pertz, FAIA, former member of the New York City Planning Commission

Brooklyn Matters is a remarkable film that slowly, quietly, calmly reveals the extreme ugliness at the heart of one of the most ill-conceived mega-developments in New York history.”
– Francis Morrone, architectural historian and author

The next two Brooklyn showings are as follows:

February 21st, 7:30 p.m.
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Auditorium
357 Clermont Avenue (between Lafayette & Greene)
Fort Greene
Presented by the Fort Greene Association & The Society for Clinton Hill
Complimentary refreshments will be served beginning at 7:00 p.m.

February 27th, 7 p.m.
Fifth Avenue Committee
621 Degraw Street (between 3rd & 4th Avenues)
Park Slope
Presented by the Fifth Avenue Committee

Both screenings are free and open to the public. The running time of the film is approximately 55 minutes.

For up-to-date information on additional screenings, and to view a trailer, please visit www.brooklynmatters.com.

  1. Supposedly they also began to demolish out there, but this isn’t the first time that Brucey’s called early demolition the tip-off to the construction.

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