Borough President Marty Markowitz, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov were in attendance, or at least their faces were. Men with oversized masks of the three wore them as they criticized the new arena.
The main criticism at the mock ribbon cutting was that of the lack of full-time jobs and affordable housing that developer Forest City Ratner promised when the project was seeking approval.
“At the time of the Atlantic Yards’ approval in 2006, in return for an estimated $2.1 billion in taxpayer subsidies, access to the power of eminent domain, the purchase of public land below its market value, and an override of the city’s zoning regulations,” read a statement being handed out at the event, “FCRC committed to provide within ten years 2,250 units of affordable housing, 10,000 permanent jobs and 8 acres of open space, and a thriving mixed-use 15-tower development.”
Protestors criticized the slogan of the Atlantic Yards, “Jobs, Housing & Hoops.”
“The hype and hoopla around the opening cannot mask the fact that the jobs and housing that were once touted as the justification for the project have at best been relegated to the distant future, and at worst may never be realized as the public was led to believe,” continued the statement.