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Protest rally is set for arena site on Sunday

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It’ll be a “Rally at the Railyards” Sunday, March 28, for opponents of developer Bruce Ratner’s plan to build a basketball arena, office towers and apartment buildings in Prospect Heights.

Hosted by the anti-arena-plan neighborhood group Develop Don’t Destroy, and its attorney, former New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Norman Siegel, the 2 pm rally will feature a slew of guest speakers and entertainers.

Thousands are expected to attend the rally, which will be organized on Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. That street, which would be de-mapped under Ratner’s “Atlantic Yards” development plan, lies adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road storage yards over which some of the development would be built. The entire “Atlantic Yards” development site is bounded by Atlantic Avenue (north), Dean Street (south), Vanderbilt Avenue (east) and Flatbush Avenue (west).

Opponents of the plan are largely comprised of residents and officials who are against the plan’s reliance on the state to condemn private property — causing the eviction of between 400 and 800 residents — for use by Ratner.

Scheduled speakers include Siegel, Councilwoman Letitia James, state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, Rep. Major Owens and a host of arena plan opponents.

There will also be musical acts, including Owens’ son, Chris Owens, an arena opponent and potential candidate for his father’s congressional seat, as well rapper MC Enemy, ’70s punks The Spunk Lads and The Cohen Brothers gospel quartet.


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