Sections

Occupy Wall Street finally gets a Brooklyn accent

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Photo gallery

1/5
Off they go: Protesters hit several sites, including a subidized bank, a failed mall and Atlantic Yards in a blitz of rallies on Saturday.
2/5
In the Metrotech Complex, these protesters apparently called for more farming (we’re kidding!).
3/5
Here’s Bette Druck of Park Slope, calling it what it was (for a day, at least).
4/5
This protester was especially upset about corporate subsidies.
5/5
David Suker of the Bronx shows that print is not dead!

The Occupy Wall Street movement finally took on a Brooklyn accent on Saturday, with protesters decrying “crony capitalism” at several controversial sites — rallying most heatedly at a spot that many call the ultimate symbol of corporate control of democracy, the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment.

Occupy Brooklyn protesters started their march at the JP Morgan Chase complex in Downtown’s Metrotech Center, complaining that the bank got a sweetheart tax subsidy deal, but the main target of the anger was Bruce Ratner’s heavily subsidized Atlantic Yards project, which was approved by a secretive state panel in late 2006 without going through the city’s normal public review process.

“There is no greater monument to crony capitalism in all of Brooklyn than Atlantic Yards,” Daniel Goldstein, the founder of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, yelled when the march stopped across the street from skeletal, half-built Barclays Center, the under-construction, 19,000-seat basketball arena.

Goldstein and others — who lost their years-long battle with Ratner and the state — continue to complain that the developer used his connections in government to buy the air rights for his proposed mega-development from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for far less than it was worth, then button-holed the same politicians to greenlight massive subsidies for the project — which is currently stalled because of the slack economy.

For a movement that’s been criticized for a lack of specific and tangible ideas, Occupy Brooklyn’s marchers came fully armed with hard facts about the economic injustice they believe is rife in the borough. Subsidies and sweetheart deals were the main theme of the day.

At the JP Morgan building, Occupy Brooklyn protesters claimed that the bank had received $237 million in tax breaks after promising to create 5,000 local jobs.

Only 1,800 were created, protesters said, though the bank says it is close to 2,500 — the number of jobs it is now required to create under a 2004 rewritten tax deal.

“Banks laid off tons of workers — and still got to keep all that money,” yelled a protester as the group stopped in front of the bank. “That ain’t right!”

At a stop in front of the former Albee Square Mall on Fulton Street, one protester got on the “human mic” and blasted another developer, Joe Sitt, who bought the mall in 2001 and flipped it only a few years later.

“He bought this property for $20 million and then sold it for $120 million,” the lead-chanter said, overestimating Sitt’s eventual big windfall by $20 million. “It was the city that allowed this property to be so valuable through [the controversial Downtown Brooklyn Plan] re-zoning and … more than 100 jobs and 30 businesses were evicted with no relocation assistance.”

The new developers of the project, a 70-story proposed tower called CityPoint, also got a $20-million federal subsidy channeled through the city, though the project is currently stalled.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/from_where_isit.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Norman Oder says:
"Goldstein and others — who lost their years-long battle with Ratner and the state — continue to complain..."

It's just a "complaint"?

Maybe they "point out," or "argue," or "contend." But "complain" is dismissive language. Did Eli Rosenberg, who never covered any of this, come up with that word?

Norman Oder
Atlantic Yards Report
Nov. 14, 2011, 11:12 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
At least we do know that OWS has the back of DDDB especially when they put up a flier of what the AY project was really about. Also, they saw through what Jay-Z was trying to do recently. OWS knows that Jay-Z is no real ally to them especially when he tried to make a profit at their expense, made the shirts from cheap labor in Mexico, and more importantly is part of the project, though he barely owns anything. It is no lie that Ratner is a prime example of crony capitalism. If Ratner or Jay-Z think that they can get OWS on their side, they have to be kidding themselves, because they should know by know that they are against them.
Nov. 14, 2011, 8:55 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
#OWS = children who never grew up, studied economics, and/or lived in Europe. What stupid asses they are!
Nov. 14, 2011, 10:19 pm
Prop Joe from Da Hood Yo' says:
Goldstein is a RAT, if ya know what I mean
Nov. 15, 2011, 1:34 pm
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
@Steven Rosenberg: they only a$$hole comment is yours....
Nov. 15, 2011, 1:36 pm
Richard Grayson from Williamsburg says:
Thanks, InTheSlope, for your comment.
Nov. 15, 2011, 3:21 pm
Gerry from Brooklyn Heights says:
These freaks just got thrown out of Zucotti Park by the NYPD a court ordered them OUT today -- go home shower have diner and get on with life.
Nov. 15, 2011, 5:06 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Prop Joe, that is completely false about Goldstein. If he was really a sell out, then why didn't he take the first offer he had and ran? He stayed in his place for seven years before finally leaving. The money he got was hardly anything when you compare it to what Ratner's CEOs' make and especially chump change to the public money that was used to fund the very project. Keep in mind that he signed no gag order, so he can still actively fight the project, just as himself, which is what many individuals like me do at hearings. The only people who saw him as a sell out are those who have fanatical support for the project. BTW, he is not living in a luxury condo right now, and don't bring up that dispute with his neighbor, which was nothing to insult him as always when in reality, he was actually working with the zonning board to get the maxium height for his property, which is not rezoning anything. One other thing, what if this was your property and you were told that you had to sell whether you wanted to or not to the developer by the government? Would you be fighting tooth and nail to keep your property, or would you just sell to avoid trouble? I would love to see the answer to that. We are all Daniel Goldsteins after this.
Nov. 15, 2011, 7:29 pm
Lee from Sheepshead Bay says:
How about occupying a job? These damn neo-Marxists need to stop whining and get on with their lives. If they're New Yorkers who can't make it here, then move!

Honestly, I'm feed up with these park slugs who gripe ad nauseum and want society to provide for their needs. Hell no! I had to hustle to get into the middle class, so should they. I was promised nothing and expected less. Now I'm supposed to hand it over to them? For what again?!?
Nov. 16, 2011, 12:51 pm
benti from brooklyn heights says:
If these young people did there homework, they would leave occupy wall street/atlantic yards, oakland etc and stay on message by going to Wash DC & every State Capital where the real crimes & corruption that take place every day without any punishment...you really want change ... change the moral & ethical health of our government by throwing them all out with 1. term limits 2. flat tax 3. balance budget amendment. Remember, fat cats wether they are hollywood stars, energy executives, bankers or whoever can only get away with what they do because of our elected officials...yes the very same people we put into office year in and year out. GO MARCH ON THE HALLS OF CONGRESS & THE WHITE HOUSE if you really value free speech, do it fast and stop blaming others for your misfortune. No one owes you anything including your happiness.
Nov. 16, 2011, 2 pm
Dan from Windsor Terrace says:
According to Crains, Brooklyn Papers, and other news reports, Sitt purchased the Albee property for $24 million and sold it for $125 million. Therefore, the speaker (me) did not overestimate his windfall by $20 million, but actually underestimated it by $1 million.

The city directly rewarded Sitt for speculating and lined his pockets by renegotiating the terms of the lease. This is city owned land--why not recapture some of the value by allowing the displaced businesses to return at reasonable rents, mandating more affordable housing, etc
Nov. 16, 2011, 2:40 pm
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
@benti from brooklyn heights: homework? you need to do some.... the "others" that you are talking about are the bastards like Enron that created fake power shortages to jack up the prices & rip people off? It's billionaire wanna be's like you that make it possible for all of the 1%-er's to keep what they're doing! The founding fathers designed the US as a Republic to be governed by the people NOT the 'funders''!! A few are intervening in our government because of money & WE the 99% are suffering, so you are missing the point of OWS.... we need to operate as an Representative Democracy to "dependent on the people alone!" Not to those 1%'ers who can corrupt the system with money!! So stop blaming OWS for doing what the James Madison planned for us to do.... read about it here:

Quoted from the Federalist No. 52 ~ Publius (James Madison) February 8, 1788 "that the federal legislature will not only be restrained by its dependence on its people, as other legislative bodies are, but that it will be, moreover, watched and controlled by the several collateral legislatures, which other legislative bodies are not. And in the third place, no comparison can be made between the means that will be possessed by the more permanent branches of the federal government for seducing, if they should be disposed to seduce, the House of Representatives from their duty to the people, and the means of influence over the popular branch possessed by the other branches of the government above cited. With less power, therefore, to abuse, the federal representatives can be less tempted on one side, and will be doubly watched on the other."
Nov. 16, 2011, 5:17 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

This week’s featured advertisers