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A Vision for Downtown Brooklyn (6)

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Elie During

Inscrit le: 01 Fév 2006
Messages: 42

MessagePosté le: Mercredi 11 Octobre 2006, 10:37    Sujet du message: A Vision for Downtown Brooklyn (6) Répondre en citant

A Vision for Downtown Brooklyn (6)

Un échantillon d'agit-prop de quartier à l'occasion de l'organisation, ce samedi 21 octobre, de la deuxième édition du "Walkathon" de Brooklyn, destinée à lever des fonds pour financer l'opposition au projet "Atlantic Yards".
Ou comment l'action locale se construit en se dispersant sur le Réseau…

Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 14:42:01 EDT
Subject: My Neighborhood, Your Neighborhood
To: Undisclosed Recipients

Hey there, Steve here.  Please read this.
Short version:  I'm going to walk to save my neighborhood --and downtown Brooklyn in general-- and I hope you will help.  Last year, with your help, I raised the second highest amount of money for this walkathon event (around $2500) and had the most contributors (50). I want us to break our record.  I hope you will join the fun and be a part of this.  Last year's event kept Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn going, and we have had a super successful year of fighting as a result.  So your contribution, no matter how small or big, will really help.  And when we defeat this, Eminent Domain Abuse worldwide will crumble.  Here's the link:
Long version:  My home of 13 years, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, is in danger of being destroyed by a project supported by several of the "powers that be" of New York.  This is a beautiful, multiethnic, multi-cultural, multi-aged, mixed-class, expansive-yet-tight-knit neighborhood.  A majority of the buildings are 4 story-tall brownstone apartments from 100 years ago. 

Forest City Ratner, a development company, has been working with members of the state and city government in planning to build a massive superblock complex called Atlantic Yards.  As currently proposed, it would be one of the densest "neighborhoods" in the world.  I think there's a section of Shanghai with a higher population density.  Here's are the last two plans, as designed by Frank Gehry, who has been quoted as saying of this project that he was excited to "create a neighborhood from scratch." Of course, to do so, he would have to scratch neighborhoods off the map. The 4-story buildings would be shadowed by 16 skyscrapers reaching up to 53 stories in height; and by a basketball arena for the Nets, a New Jersey basketball team that would be moved here.

See those tiny little bricks in the lower right?  That's basically where I live.
The project is inept and corrupt on so many levels I can't get into all of it here. (The link below supplies more detail.)  A simple version is that it abuses all known legal definitions of eminent domain (kicks people from their homes and businesses for a private developer), would be funded with millions in taxpayer money, would tax the existing infrastructure beyond all breaking points, and would snarl traffic throughout the entire borough.   It's an environmental, social and moral catastrophe in waiting.
Those who know me know that I have been working as a member of the resistance to this project.  I belong to a group called Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.  (I'm also my block association's representative to Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, a coalition that managed to get funding for a complete analysis of the Draft Environment Impact Statement.)
Here's our homepage:
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is an entirely grassroots organization of hundreds of volunteers.  It has been the biggest mover and shaker in resisting this project.  I do believe that without this group, Forest City Ratner would have broken ground long ago.  This year we have held them up in court with ongoing litigation, criticized them relentlessly in the national and local media, held well-attended, well-covered rallies, and made sure our voices were heard in every available hearing and public forum.  And much more.  Our volunteers and supporters have run for city, state and national offices, and while they have not all won, they have always made intimidating dents in the percentages against the Ratner-funded candidates.  This year our advisory board expanded to include some of your favorite Brooklyn actors and authors--my faves include Rosie Perez, Jhumpa Lahiri and Steve Buscemi.  Yours might be others. (On my Walkathon page, see "Who Opposes this Proposed Project" and click on "Advisory Board.")
While the situation is scary, the project is not a done deal.  We have hurt them significantly in the public eye.  And we have the potential to kill the project in court.  BUT....we are approaching the crucial time in the process when will have to step up our legal fight significantly .  We've acheived miracles on a tiny budget.  Now we need to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars if we are to beat them on legal grounds.  And...beating them on legal grounds will impact on all the other corrupt projects of this nature happening all over the country.  And throughout the world.  Because that's how it works.
So!  This is why I am walking.  Please make a donation.  Even enough small contributions really add up, and big contributions are, of course, very wonderful.  If you can't contribute the minimum the online software allows, you can send smaller amount by mail (I had a lot of people do that last year).
Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Let's stick it to 'em.  Spread the word.  Rise up.  Rock on.
Steve Espinola
This is usually a seldom-sent long-distance list related to Steve Espinola's music projects. This is a once-a-year deviation for the sake of a really good cause.  Unsubscribe by sending your favorite grade school book report here.
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Jill Fenton

Inscrit le: 18 Mai 2006
Messages: 11

MessagePosté le: Vendredi 04 Mai 2007, 1:22    Sujet du message: Rachel Whiteread's 'House' Répondre en citant

Perhaps belatedly, I have just read the text posted in relation to the proposed demolition of beautiful Victorian homes in Brooklyn, New York. Immediately I am reminded of Rachel Whiteread's art installation House that was a protest piece against demolition in a neighbourhood in East London, not dissimlar from that in Brooklyn. I am posting below details of that installation. Recently I was involved in a discussion about House with a group of students and we speculated on the fate of terraced Victorian houses in East London in view of their close proximity to the site of the London 2012 Olympic site. Although House was rapidly demolished, it has left a trace on a particular landscape in East London and a kind of surplus dystopia that reminds those who live and work nearby, and cherish the charm of the old Victorian homes, of the threat posed by massive urban projects of spectacle that bulldoze away the character of neighbourhoods. In East London we are concerned about the value to indigenous communities of the London Olympic spectacle - will it offer employment, skills training, increase property values, displace citizens? What will it offer to people in Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets? The ghost of Whiteread's House is reinvoked in these anxious days of proposed regeneration.

The article I mentioned above (

On October 25th 1993, after 2 years of planning and preparation, Rachel Whiteread completed her in-situ 'cast' of a Victorian terraced house - 193 Grove Road in Bow, E3. Commissioned by Artangel and titled House, the work attracted huge media attention and tens of thousands of visitors, led to the tabling of an early day motion in the House of Commons and contributed to the artist winning the 1993 Turner Prize. The work provoked wide-ranging debate both at a local and national level. It became one of the most notable and notorious public sculptures created by an English artist in the twentieth century. It was almost inevitable that House came to be located in East London. Whiteread knew the area well; she had been living in Hackney for some time and renting an Acme studio at Carpenters Road, not far away in Stratford, since 1989. Although several other terraced houses, destined for demolition, were investigated in North as well as East London during 1992, the sheer scale of the continuing local government 'improvement' programme that had seen street after street of similar terraced houses torn down since the 60s, made the East End a very likely location for the type of property the artist was seeking. Coincidentally Whiteread's albeit brief intervention, the use of a 'condemned' property, paralleled the way artists had come temporarily to occupy many hundreds of such properties as working and living spaces in the area over the previous 20 years.

"House", Rachel Whiteread, 1993-94
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