The Occupy Brooklyn movement marched on the Atlantic Yards Project Saturday as part of a “March to Evict Corporate Greed.”
About 100 people participated, including Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.
"There is no greater monument to crony capitalism in all of Brooklyn than the Atlantic Yards Project," he said as the group paused in front of the Atlantic Center Mall in the shadow of the rising Barclays Center.
Michael White of DDDB, who also writes the blog Noticing New York, said that not only has the state trampled on the rights of Prospect Heights residents by using eminent domain to build the Atlantic Yards Project, but that the courts “colluded with crony capitalism by reinforcing the special protections for the 1 percent by skewing the laws.”
Another message of the march was to focus on how the 1 percent are harming people in their own neighborhoods.
Vandra Thorburn, who lives on the border of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill on Classon Avenue, said she came today because she considers herself a 99 Percenter.
"I want to see money going into the neighborhood and not into huge buildings that are half empty," she said.
Twentysomethings joined with baby-boomer activists for the march, which was enlivened by a full brass band. Like last month’s rally, Saturday’s march included music from a brass band. Police officers walked with the protesters, but the march was peaceful and, as far as we could tell, there were no arrests.
After rallying near Brooklyn Borough Hall in the morning, at about 2:30 p.m., marchers walked down Flatbush Avenue to the Atlantic Center. They then walked back to the shuttered shell of Albee Square Mall, another real estate speculation that protesters said hurt the community; 227 Duffield Street, a house that used to be on the Underground Railroad and has been preserved, but has had its foundation weakened due to work next door on an upscale hotel; the corner of Willoughby and Bridge streets, where businesses closed after a developer bought the block to build a mall that never happened; and Metrotech, which is owned by Forest City Ratner, the same developer that owns Atlantic Yards. See a map of the walk here.
The march was part of Occupy Brooklyn's second Occupy Wall Street happening, which .
One of the organizers of the protest, Lucy Koteen of Fort Greene, said she wants to "stop the access that the 1 percent's lobbyists have to politicians, which gives them an unfair advantage over the vast majority of people."
March organizers say the purpose of the stops is to bring attention to how downtown Brooklyn has moved from small mom-and-pop stores and homes to massive developments that have pushed out longtime residents.
But not everyone in yesterday’s march was focused on development.
Akosua Albritton of Prospect Heights said she came because she wants to “awaken the general Brooklynite to the fact that we have the ability to change the world into something that is livable and that has integrity.”
One woman from Downtown Brooklyn, who declined to give her name because she is unemployed, said she was laid off from her job fundraising for a nonprofit six weeks ago and though she has sent out hundreds of resumes, she’s only had two interviews so far. For her, one of the biggest issues is health insurance, and she hopes it can be made cheaper for everyone, in part, by cutting out hospital fraud. She said making congress pay the same rates as private citizens—she pays several hundred dollars a month for hers and has a friend that pays $1,300—would go a long way to improving the situation.
Kathleen Stansell, 25, a dancer who lives in Park Slope, said the main message she wanted to convey today is "love."
"As silly as some people may think that sounds," she said, "if you do everything with love and compassion you can get a lot done."