A coalition of local officials is demanding an independent security review of the Atlantic Yards mega-project because the state’s development agency can’t be trusted to put the public safety first.
On Wednesday, eight Brooklyn Democrats announced that they had sent a letter to Gov. Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg asking for a security analysis in the wake of developments in Newark, N.J., where local cops decided — at the “eleventh hour,” the lawmakers said — to close off several streets to protect that city’s new glass-walled arena.
The Brooklyn lawmakers said they don’t want to be surprised by potentially major disturbances like street closings of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.
“Atlantic Yards is at least as susceptible to attack as the Newark arena,” said the letter, which was signed by state Sen. Eric Adams (D–Crown Heights), Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D–Park Slope), Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Cobble Hill), Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Prospect Heights), Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Prospect Heights), Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Cobble Hill), state Sen. Velmanette Montgomer (D–Fort Greene) and Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights).
“[The security review] should be strictly independent of the Empire State Development Corporation to avoid any semblance of conflict of interest,” the letter added, referring to the state agency that is the development partner at Atlantic Yards.
In 2005, Brennan and four other Democrats sent a similar letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
This time, a spokesman for the NYPD said that there would be no street closings around the proposed 18,000-seat basketball arena.
“Our counterterrorism experts have examined the Atlantic Yards plans and they have met with those involved with its design and planned construction,” the spokesman, Paul Browne, told the New York Times. “They have been cooperative and receptive to NYPD recommendations, which did not require street closings.”
He declined to offer further details, telling the Times that the NYPD does not discuss “any vulnerabilities we’ve identified.”
Like Browne, Borough President Markowitz thinks the Atlantic Yards opponents are worrying about nothing.
“I said this early on, and am confident that developer Forest City Ratner is taking the proper steps in working closely with the NYPD and other relevant security agencies in ensuring the project adheres to the highest standards of safety.”