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Atlantic Yards public hearing tonight

Billed as one of the few chances the tax-paying public has at speaking to the Empire State Development Corp, tonight's public hearing resulted in a great turnout tonight of about 750 people. Not without many dull moments, the partisan crowd was split into anti-Ratner community members and pro-project construction workers.

As we missed the first half hour, I can't tell what transpired, but at 5:30, there was a steady stream of elected officials speaking their allotted 5 minutes or so. First Marty Markowitz spoke, then councilman David Yassky, then Letitia James.

Impassioned community members spoke of the need for the impact review to be held on a larger scale, extending beyond the 1/4 to 1/2 mile radius of the project; a need for integration with other municipal studies being done; a mandate to study the effect of Frank Gehry's use of reflective glass and its' subsequent heat on the surrounding neighborhood and a need to think about the children in the neighborhood ("the project won't be populated by eunuchs," one speaker pithily said).

Then came the brusque member of the sheetmetal workers union and another construction worker, both of whom were yelling into the mic, much to the jolly of their fellow blue-collar brethren. One speaker pleaded with the crowd, saying that Ratner actually paid union wages, while other surrounding Brooklyn projects used low-cost workers, specifically naming the developer of 176 Johnson St aka Toy Factory Lofts and Two Trees in Dumbo.


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