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Why We Protest The Brooklyn Museum’s Celebration of Bruce Ratner:


We don’t question the Museum’s right to raise funds to support itself. We don’t even question the Museum accepting donations from Bruce Ratner. What we do take extreme issue with is honoring and celebrating Bruce Ratner in light of what he has done and proposes to do to Brooklyn’s communities. What does he plan to do? Override all local zoning, demolish a low-rise residential neighborhood and replace it with a sports arena and 16 skyscrapers—the densest project in the United States—smack in the middle of some of the great urban, residential neighborhoods in the country.

In the Brooklyn Museum’s words, Bruce Ratner will be commended, when he is celebrated and honored at tonight’s gala with the museum’s highest honor—the Augustus Graham award—for his “generous support of various activities of the Brooklyn Museum.”

But in celebrating its honoree Bruce Ratner, the Museum conveniently ignores Ratner’s divisive and abusive 4-year old campaign to promote his Atlantic Yards development proposal, and the disastrous effect it would have on Brooklyn’s neighborhoods—the very same neighborhoods which the Museum calls home. While the Museum has stated that their award to Ratner does not suggest support for the Atlantic Yards proposal, by celebrating Bruce Ratner the Museum explicitly ignores the community’s sentiment about the developer and his proposal, and gives tacit support to and acceptance of Ratner’s public actions in pursuit of the project.

Ratner’s Atlantic Yards is now nationally recognized as a poster child for bad development and bad urban planning, yet locally one of Brooklyn’s great institutions has decided to honor and celebrate the promoter of that poster child. To the demonstrators here today and so many others, that is unacceptable.

Ratner’s Atlantic Yards campaign has, and continues to be, a campaign that has run roughshod over the Brooklyn community as well as the broader civic and political fabric of the city, in so many ways including:

> Subverting Democratic Processes

> Eminent Domain Abuse

> Inexcusable Use Of Over $2 Billion In Public Subsidy For A Hugely Profitable Project And A No Bid Deal

> Broken Promises

> Intolerance For Any Public Criticism Or Community Input

> Outmoded Urban Planning Principles

> Utterly Out Of Scale And Character Architecture

> Intentionally Divisive Tactics

> Mass Demolitions (including landmark buildings)

...And On And On.

(You can read a lengthy open letter from Brooklyn resident and Museum member Michael White here).