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More fallout from recent Atlantic Yards letters

The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

I certainly can relate to last week’s letter from Leon de Augusto (“This guy faults Ratner and Atlantic Yards foes,” Letters, May 17).

As an African-American living near the footprint of Atlantic Yards, I understand his feelings about the apparent “inner-city cultural divide” between the opposition and their “minority neighbors.”

I say “apparent,” because there are minority neighbors involved in the fight, but not in the numbers that we in the opposition would like. Check out photos of the events that have been posted to numerous Web sites. We people of color are there.

Augusto said that Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn “has failed to persuade [its] minority neighbors that Ratner is fooling them again, this time through surrogates,” but Ratner apparently has not fooled you. I’m sure you’re not the only one.

I urge you, previous letter writer Thomasina Millet (“Mixed messages,” Letters, April 26), and others who have not been fooled by the developer’s public relations campaign to attend one of the many fundraisers, movie screenings, public hearings, protests and other events. It will take more people of color to regularly show up at these and other events to make it clear that the fight is not about race or color.

We don’t need another Metrotech.

Tracy Collins, Prospect Heights

• • •

To the editor,

Leon de Augusto and Thomasina Millet should be pointed to a photoblog I posted from the Brooklyn Museum protest at http://kingstonlounge.blogspot.com/2008/04/brooklyn-museum-ratner-protest-card-i.html.

Not only were a wide variety of people of various colors on hand, but a wide variety of ages, economic statuses, and so on were in this crowd. It’s wrong to suggest that everybody at this protest — or everybody who is opposed to Atlantic Yards — looks like Daniel Goldstein. There are plenty “people of color” who oppose this project.

Richard Nickel, Jr., Weeksville

Two sides of Gehry

To the editor,

Your recent news item — “Hypocrisy Alert!” (May 17) — suggests an inconsistency between the Municipal Art Society’s longstanding criticism of the Frank Gehry-designed Atlantic Yards project and the organization’s recent architectural merit award to his IAC building in Manhattan.

We don’t see any hypocrisy. The MAS criticized the Atlantic Yards proposal for its poor planning and the total failure of its public and private sponsors to meaningfully engage the public. The MAS presented an award to the IAC building because it was selected by an independent jury as one of the best new buildings in New York City.

The fact that both projects are designed by the same architect is immaterial. In the same awards ceremony, we honored Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Atlantic Yards project, by naming the New York Times Building one of the best new buildings in the city.

The MAS criticizes projects when we feel they will negatively impact the city, and we honor those that enhance the city. Those judgments are based on the projects themselves, not on who designed or developed them.

Kent Barwick, Manhattan

The writer is president of the Municipal Art Society.

Bare market

To the editor,

What we need here in Bay Ridge is very large supermarkets (“Bay Ridge Key Food to close,” May 3). Many of us still feel the loss of the A&P that had been located at 68th Street and Fourth Avenue!

I remember hearing at that time that another supermarket was going to take its place, but when that didn’t happened we had to travel out to Key Food or to Foodtown.

It’s nice to have a choice as to what is on sale here or there and then make the choice of where to shop. Truthfully, the last thing we need is another bank or drugstore.

What is happening to our neighborhood?

Patricia Corbett, Bay Ridge

Vito hurts pals

To the editor,

Ideologically, Rep. Vito Fossella was a very good fit for his conservative district (“Vito’s shame,” May 10), but he rarely made it to this side of the Verrazano Bridge. Now we know why! He was spending all his free time in Virginia!

Bob Capano and Fossella’s small staff in Bay Ridge picked up the slack in all kinds of different ways. I saw them at meetings and events nearly every night and heard how they handled every constituent demand from big to small. And now they’re stuck on this sinking ship.

Capano has proven the ability to work on both side of the aisle (remember, he was Democrat Marty Markowitz’s right-hand man). He obviously has electoral ambitions, so it’s time to abandon ship, Bob, and be your own man!

Carl MacDonald, Bay Ridge

What’s your ‘Issue’?

To the editor,

Though we are delighted to see Issue Project Room get well-deserved press coverage (“Walentas ‘Issue’ at Board of Ed building,” May 17), we feel the need to add an additional perspective to the article.

The rationale for offering a rent-free deal as opposed to offering full capital renovation is that many in the not-for-profit arts community tell us that it is easier for the institutions to raise capital dollars than funds for their general operating budgets.

Not only did we subsidize Issue Project Room by waiving $225,000 in annual rent for their space, we have made a significant capital contribution to the built space.

Two Trees has an exemplary record of supporting the arts in Brooklyn. Every year we give away or heavily subsidize more than 100,000 square feet of space for artists and arts organizations like St. Ann’s Warehouse, Smack Mellon, and Pratt Institute. The foregone rent on these spaces is several million dollars a year.

We also support festivals, public art, performance venues, galleries, artist residency programs and individual artists with both space and monetary contributions.

We believe that Brooklyn’s arts scene is part of its fabric and we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with that community.

Jed Walentas, DUMBO

The writer is a principal of Two Trees Management.

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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