Several hundred walkers participating in the second-annual Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn “walkathon” raised enough to cover plenty of billable hours in the group’s legal battle against the Atlantic Yards mega-development.
Group spokesman Daniel Goldstein said DDDB raised “over $100,000” at the Saturday event, allowing the fight against Bruce Ratner’s proposed 16-tower, arena, residential, hotel and office space complex to move into the courts (see page 1).
DDDB lawyer Jeffrey Baker promised to sue to stop the project on the grounds that it violates state environmental laws and abuses the state’s right to condemn land via eminent domain.
But mostly, the walkathon was festive and satirical. One woman dressed as a bride — a clear reference to Frank Gehry’s wedding-dress design for the 620-foot “Miss Brooklyn” tower proposed for the crowded intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. Others who live in the area of the project wore T-shirts reading, “Blight me.”
Afterwards, Fort Greene folkie John Wesley Harding performed his own songs and a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” (the song that famously begins, “They paved paradise/Put up a parking lot”) with some of the words re-written to reflect the current conflict.
Goldstein said this year’s walkathon raised twice as much as a similar event last year — evidence, he said, that the opposition to Atlantic Yards is growing.
If so, that opposition does not appear to be growing within the relevant state agencies. The Empire State Development Corporation is expected to approve the project next month, and the Public Authorities Control Board — the same three-man panel that killed the West Side stadium last year — is expected to rubber-stamp Atlantic Yards before the end of the year.