Eminent Domain . . . . Or Get The Hell Out . . . .
Eminent Domain or kicking people out. Call it what you want but it is what it is. I too must admit I was definitely caught in the hype of the Barclay’s Arena coming to Brooklyn. And you know once they said Hov was going to be there I had to be apart of the action. I mean yes who needs more traffic at one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn, but there was much excitement about Brooklyn finally having something major to call their own. As I started my journey to the brand new arena last Monday, I felt like a kid again. Once out the train station the bright lights were beaming everywhere, thousands of people came out just to see Jay. The concert ended up being awesome and the feeling was epic, being born and raised in Brooklyn.
In the next days I remembered how my father ragged on me for even going to the concert to support Jay-Z. If you know my father in his voice “Those stinking bums: Jay-Z, Ratner, Bloomberg all of them. Kicking all those damn people out their homes. That whole arena should burn down, well not with people in it”. As funny as it sounds there is some truth in what he’s saying. Bruce Ratner a real estate developer decided he wanted his hands on one of the most influential pieces of property. At 22 acres of land the Atlantic yards at Atlantic Ave. and Flatbush Ave. was sure to be one of the smartest investments ever.
However there would soon be a problem. See, only one part of the yard was vacant. The other was occupied with warehouses, tenements and brownstones. Realizing that it would take years to buy out all the landlords and owners Ratner decided it be best to coincide with New York State to try to get a ruling for “eminent domain“. That’s when the government can knock on your door and say, “Hey I want and I need your shit, so here’s some hush money but you need to be out of here as soon as possible. Oh and you have no choice. Thanks”. Yeah kind of messed up right but in essence that’s how it goes. Ratner knew he needed a political shelter in order to pull a move like this. Ratner decided to buy the New Jersey Nets as a security blanket for getting the arena. By buying the Nets, what other greater proposition would this be for New York City to generate revenue.
With the likes of Jay-Z investing in the Nets and Mayor Bloomberg jumping on board, it was set in stone. For about the last 10 years up until the day of the grand opening, thousands have lost their homes and many others who have been out protesting and fighting the different lawsuits and financial issues surrounding the project. Unfortunately the arena is up and the battle has been lost.
I myself am not a believer in eminent domain and I don’t care if it’s for the greater good of the community. I mean yes you may be providing more jobs for people of the community but who is really profiting of the displacement of others? And even if you received financial compensation, how fair is it that the government can determine the value of your home, memories and now displace you without helping you find another place to live. In a recession at that? So as much as I laugh at my dad I kind of get his point. I told him he can go in on Ratner and Bloomberg, but he has to chill on my man Hov!
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