Monday, May 08, 2006

"Stars team up to stop Nets arena in Brooklyn" MetroNY 05/08/06

All these mega projects in the Bronx (new Yankee Stadium on seized public parkland), Brooklyn (Ratner's Nets Arena), and Queens (new Mets Stadium), and Staten Island (NASCAR raceway) are the result of top-down decisions made possible by massive taypayer subsidies that finance roughly 40% of these billionaire boondoggles. At every turn the communities' concerns and their alternative plans are being ignored with lies such as "there are no alternatives" and "this is good for the city." We, the taxpayers of New York City - and even NY State- need to realize that encouraging corporate welfare is the not answer to address the concerns of housing, unemployment, pollution, traffic, and failing schools.

Stars team up to stop Nets arena in Brooklyn

by amy zimmer / metro new york

MAY 8, 2006

BROOKLYN — The stage is set for a star-studded showdown over developer Bruce Ratner’s plans for a $3.5 billion basketball arena and high-rises in Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.

In the corner of the New Jersey Nets — the team that would play in the new Frank Gehry-designed structure — is rapper Jay-Z, a part-owner of the team. In the other corner are actors and Brooklyn residents Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Rosie Perez and Steve Buscemi and novelists Jonathan Safron Foer and Jonathan Lethem.

Author Jhumpa Lahiri called Fort Greene “a vibrant, historic neighborhood that has been steadily growing and improving from within; the last thing it needs is to be so radically altered in the name of development.”

The cadre of 33 celebs, academics and architects were brought together by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn to form a high-powered advisory board for the anti-Ratner group.

The board members “will have a level of involvement from lending names to pushing us to have parties, benefits,” according to Daniel Goldstein, DDDB’s spokesman, starting with a June 3 fundraising performance by family entertainer Dan Zanes.

“Not that this issue is as dire as something like the Sudan,” Goldstein said, “but in a similar way, with celebrities using their names for this, it begins to attract attention to something important.”

Literary landmark

• Letham’s novel “Fortress of Solitude” prominently features the Underberg Building — one of the Ratner-owned properties in the footprint recently demolished by the developer to make way for the project.


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