Barclays Center Arena blocks – before and after

August 4, 2010

Animated GIF image of Google Maps downloaded on August 18, 2009 and August 4, 2010. To view the animation in a new browser window, click on the image above.
This is the site of the Barclays Center Arena of Atlantic Yards.  The Barclays Center would sit on the blocks bounded by Atlantic Avenue, 6th Avenue, Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue. Atlantic Avenue runs roughly east-west across the top of the frame.  Flatbush Avenue runs diagonally, roughly northwest-southeast from the upper left corner. Dean Street is the street running roughly east-west across the bottom of the frame. The two streets running roughly north-south are 5th and 6th Avenues, with 6th Avenue on the right (east).  Notice that the block of 5th Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues has been “demapped” for the arena in the later image.  Pacific Street, which runs roughly east-west through the middle of the frame, has also been “demapped” between Flatbush and 6th Avenues.

636 Pacific Street – Last Days

May 7, 2010

636 Pacific Street, near 6th Avenue
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, New York

I shot this video from the former apartment of Dan Goldstein and his family.  They were the last residents of the building, and one the last families to be living in the footprint.

I shot this on May 4, 2010, one of their last days in their home.

I shot this on May 6, 2010, their last night in their home.

See more photos of 636 Pacific Street.

Some background from Atlantic Yards Report.

Freddy’s Last Night, Really

May 2, 2010

Freddy's Bar & Backroom


coverage from Atlantic Yards Report

coverage from No Land Grab

Freddy’s Last Night

May 1, 2010

Donald O'Finn, Freddy's Manager

Freddy’s website

watch a slideshow

coverage from Atlantic Yards Report

coverage from No Land Grab

Freddy’s- Last Days

April 30, 2010

Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, a neighborhood watering hole for decades, and more recently, a center of Atlantic Yards opposition, will close its 485 Dean Street location for good tonight. Although the bar will relocate several blocks away into Park Slope, I don’t think it will ever be the same.

Freddy’s website
More about Freddy’s on Atlantic Yards Report
And more from Atlantic Yards Report

I shot this time lapse video on April 29, 2010 just before sunset. In the hour I stood watch over my camera, as it recorded buildings in their last days, some seized via eminent domain and all soon to be demolished for a basketball arena, I was treated to local history lessons from some who were born on the block and have lived in the neighborhood their entire lives. Stories from a time when the neighborhood would not have been considered “a great piece of real estate,” in the words of Forest City Ratner CEO Chuck Ratner.

  • Stories about the social club at 487 Dean Street, across 6th Avenue from Freddy’s, where kids waited in line to play Donkey Kong, the hot, new video game. That building has been demolished.
  • Stories from a man who rented the apartment directly above Freddy’s, as well as several other apartments in the footprint, some of which have already been demolished.
  • Stories about fresh-baked treats from Pechter’s Bakery, which used to operate in the now demolished Ward Bread Bakery.
  • Stories about the Chunky candy factory, about the Fort Greene Meat Market at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
  • Stories about playing stick ball behind the 78th Precinct building, probably using Spaldeens (those famous pink rubber balls), which used to be manufactured at the Spalding Building (the large brick building on the right in the video).
  • Stories about other local spots in the hood like The Hut and Winner’s Circle, now long gone.

So, this is your last chance to enjoy a pint or three at Freddy’s and take a glimpse back into a small corner of Brooklyn history before it’s gone.  See you tonight.

Hong Kong v. Brooklyn

March 29, 2010

Wing Lee Street [map], the last intact block of 1950s “tong lau” architecture in Hong Kong, and now surrounded by high rise buildings, is threatened with “redevelopment.” (Good background articles: HK Magazine’s “There Goes The Neighborhood” and CNN Go’s “The pros and cons of preserving photogenic Wing Lee Street)

In 2003, Hong Kong’s Urban Renewal Authority (URA) revealed plans where Wing Lee Street would be demolished. Those plans, which have sparked community opposition, are being reconsidered due to Wing Lee Street’s sudden popularity, which is owed to the success of the local film “Echoes of the Rainbow” or “Sui yuet san tau.” The film was shot on Wing Street and has won the Crystal Bear award at the Berlinale Film Festival.  The filmmakers thought themselves lucky when they found the architectural time capsule. Other filmmakers have resorted to reconstructing old Hong Kong neighborhoods in cities as far away as Shanghai, at great expense.

Wing Lee Street is now a popular site for photographers and others who want to see one of the few remaining pieces of old Hong Kong. (See hundreds of photos by others on Flickr and my photos) The redevelopment plans are being revised to possibly save all of the houses. Ironically, the husband and wife team of director Alex Law and producer Mabel Cheung were able to complete Echoes of the Rainbow with funding from the Hong Kong government’s Film Development Fund.

I find myself wondering: if an award-winning movie had featured some of the now-demolished and soon-to-be-demolished buildings within the Atlantic Yards footprint, would we be looking forward to a neighborhood blighted with “temporary surface parking lots” surrounding a money-losing (for the taxpayer) arena?

Atlantic Yards Groundbreaking Ceremonies – March 11th

March 9, 2010

UPDATE: See coverage of the official groundbreaking ceremony on Atlantic Yards Report.

(Un)fortunately, I won’t be there to witness the lies first hand, but all the Atlantic Yards perpetrators will be wielding their golden shovels this coming Thursday, March 11th, at 1:30pm for the ceremonial Barclays Center & Atlantic Yards groundbreaking.  I expect Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s Groundbreaking Ceremony (to bury the soul of Brooklyn) to be a much more interesting event, and I am sorry that I’ll miss that.  Read the dueling press releases below.

First up, Forest City Ratner & accomplices:



Ceremonial Groundbreaking to Celebrate the Next Phase of Construction

On Atlantic Yards and Sports and Entertainment Arena in Brooklyn

(BROOKLYN, NY) – March 8, 2010 – Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, Barclays PLC President Robert E. Diamond, Jr., NETS investor and cultural icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Brett Yormark, among others, will be on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 5th and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn (12:30 PM press set up, 1:30 PM ceremony).

While work has been ongoing at the site since last fall, and with the temporary rail yard completed last December, the March 11 groundbreaking ceremony will mark the next phase of construction on the 18,000-seat world-class sports and entertainment arena. The Barclays Center will host more than 200 events annually, including professional and collegiate sports, concerts, family shows, NETS Basketball, and much more. The first phase of Atlantic Yards will also include three residential buildings, with the first starting later this year.

WHAT: Ceremonial groundbreaking for Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards.

WHO: Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, Barclays PLC President Robert E. Diamond, Jr., NETS investor and cultural icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Brett Yormark, among others.

WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2010. Ceremony to start at 1:30 PM.


WHERE: Intersection of 5th and Atlantic Avenues, Brooklyn

Next, Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn:

March 11: Two Groundbreakings to Protest Ratner’s Boondoggle Ceremony
Many of us are angry, no…mad, and lots have already said, “I’ll be there.”

This is the moment to express your anger and outrage:

Take off work or take a long lunch to express all of your anger and outrage about the abusive, destructive, and corrupt Atlantic Yards project…

Thursday March 11 at 12:30pm
DDDB Joins Bloomberg, Markowitz, Pataki, Spitzer, Paterson, Schumer, Cuomo, Prokhorov and Ratner’s Groundbreaking to Bury the Soul of Brooklyn
Featuring Markowitz’s Proclamation Marking the Events of the Day

Exact location (in the project footprint, probably in front of Freddy’s Bar on Dean and 6th) yet to be determined…stay tuned.

Thursday, March 11. Reportedly 1:30pm
Join us to Protest the Barclays/Ratner Boondoggle Ceremonial Groundbreaking
Exact location (in the project footprint) yet to be determined…stay tuned.


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