Guest Blog: John Chromczak

This past Saturday, May 3rd, I attended the Atlantic Yards “Time Out” rally sponsored by, the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, and Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. There were scores of local residents, several community leaders, and a handful of elected officials who came together to ask Gov. Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg to demand a “time out” on any further construction or demolition on the Forest City Ratner project.

Although the 25th Senate District doesn’t include Atlantic Yards, the neighborhoods that I hope to represent in Albany (Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights) will be affected by the construction and development of the stadium and commercial/residential space. Issues that need to be more thoroughly addressed include: increased traffic congestion, increasingly unaffordable housing and the potential environmental impact on communities, from Brooklyn Heights to the Gowanus Canal.

For me, the rally this past weekend was a chance for Brooklyn to send a message to Albany that those of us who live here need to have a louder, stronger voice in how our communities are developed. The Atlantic Yards project is a rare opportunity for us to determine how our city (and specifically western Brooklyn) is going to look, live, and play for the next century. We need to ensure that ALL of those impacted by such a large development project have a chance to protect their communities, while ensuring economic stability for our city at the same time. Let’s not waste this chance by pitting the fears of residents against the job opportunities the project will support. It’s time we take a breath…a “time out”….and come together to ensure that whatever happens to the Atlantic Yards site truly benefits all of Brooklyn.

John Chromczak is the Republican candidate for the 25th District NY State Senate seat this September.  John was born in 1970 in upstate Utica, New York. He attended local schools and graduated from the State University of New York College at Potsdam where he studied music performance and biology. He currently works at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center as a medical technologist specializing in red cell and bleeding disorders. He’s a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier parish in Chelsea. John lives in lower Manhattan with his partner Andre and their dog Bono.

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  • Publius

    Though it’s a bit late in the process, it’s good to see electeds and elected wannabes finally waking up to realize that the ever dwindling Ratner boondoggle is a crime of mamouth proportions against the people of Brooklyn.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars of your tax money, people, given to a private developer for private gain. That money is now gone to pay off condo owners so that Ratner could demolish their buildings and claim that the area is “blighted” to further pursue his eminent domain scam. And now we’re going to be left with empty lots where housing used to stand.

    And now with the credit markets seizing up, it’s clear that much of Atlantic Yards is not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. A front page article in the Brooklyn Paper this week says that Ratner is in talks to sell the “Brooklyn” Nets back to Jersey. Therefore no stadium!

    That sound you’re hearing is your tax money being diverted into private developer’s pockets and is now unrecoverable.

    It’s an outrage and I call on our elected officials to begin a full investigation into the public and private interests who enabled this outrage and hold those responsible to full account.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    I want the Nets in Brooklyn. In walking Distance. We lost the Dodgers because of the failure to develop this same piece of land 50 years ago.

  • nabeguy

    We lost the Dodgers because Moses wouldn’t let them develop that site due to it’s central location over a mass-transit hub that included the LIRR. The idea of people choosing subway and train cars over his beloved highways was too much for him to bear.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    The fact remains, we lost the Dodgers, who are reported now to have played more games in LA than in Brooklyn. The transit argument would appear to support the Nets moving there, not argue against it.

    Those who oopose all development should live a few years in Detroit, below 8 Mile.

  • Publius

    The sad fact about the Atlantic Yards debacle is that Prospect Heights has been developing quite nicely over the past 5-7 years. My sister lives on Dean off Vanderbilt and I’m there once a week.

    Lots of new restaurants, shops, housing have gone up and it continues. It’s a vibrant neighborhood with more nightlife than the Heights, and a combination of new construction (Newswalk, little condos, renovations of existing housing stock).

    Ratner tried to make the argument that the neighborhood was blighted (!), to exploit the recent US Supreme Court eminent domain abomoniation (Kelo v. The City of New London) that says that private developers can take private land if they can improve “blighted” areas in the “interests” of a municipality. (I won’t even go into what a catastrophy this extremely 5-4 decision has been for the notion of private property rights in America).

    Anyhoo, so we have a neighborhood that’s naturally improving itself with the rising tide of NYC’s fortunes over the past decade, and then in saunters RATner, who, using tens of millions of dollars of YOUR taxpayer money gets gimmes to buy off condo owners, and then demolish their buildings–CREATING the blight that enables RATner to further exploit his eminent domain abomination.

    Shocking. This is an epic battle of greed, incompetence, and a period in NYC history where some developers ran ramshackle over the interests of the people who live here.

    Now it appears that after Ratner have received tens of millions of YOUR tax money, that all his promises are vanishing one by one. What a suprise!

    All that lower and middle income housing–gone. All the commercial space–mostly gone. And now the “Brooklyn” Nets, probably will never happen, and with that the stadium. Poof.

    Lesson learned–responsible development that takes into account the interests of the people who are directly and indirectly affected by such development must be primary–not the greed and false promises of fat cat developers.

  • NahRight

    If the crybabies didn’t cry so much we’d have the Nets, Jay-Z and a vibrant Atlantic Yards. It was the people who caused this abortion.

  • Publius

    You’re entitled to your delusion.