Community leaders are crying foul at the city’s decision to give a Manhattan-based dance troupe prime real estate at the center of the developing BAM Cultural District.
Earlier this month, the BAM Local Development Corporation, the quasi-public agency working with the Bloomberg administration to make Fort Greene even more of a cultural hub, announced that Danspace Project, an experimental dance troupe based in the East Village, would be the “anchor” of a new building at the center of the district.
But Brooklyn community leaders argue that the selection of a Manhattan organization to anchor a Brooklyn development is yet more proof of the mayor’s unofficial policy of “Manhattanization.”
“The discontent is based on how we see the city wanting a large portion of Brooklyn just to reflect Manhattan,” said the Rev. Clinton Miller of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church.
Miller presides over the Concerned Citizens Coalition, a neighborhood organization that’s often critical of the BAM LDC.
“The selection of [Danspace] substantiates the fact that the powers that be of New York City don’t care about … what indigenous Brooklyn has to offer,” added Miller.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) said “Amen” to the Rev.’s comments.
“The [city] Economic Development Corporation is Manhattan-based, and they get their orders from [Deputy Mayor] Dan Doctoroff, who is so Manhattan-centric,” said James. “The decisions don’t come from this community.
“They bring me Danspace, which I’m sure is a lovely organization, but they’re not from Brooklyn. They’re not taking into consideration [the dance organization] Urban Bush Women, or MoCADA.”
MoCADA, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, is based at 80 Hanson Pl., a building renovated by BAM LDC for the use of cultural groups.
The BAM LDC would not comment on the controversy.