Time Takes Toll on Loyal Opposition to Atlantic Yards

A decade of relentless, and exhausting, opposition by those "who saw democracy being trampled in the interest of a developer whose methodology they found offensive," has taken its toll on the ranks of opponents to Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project.
November 27, 2012, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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N. R. Kleinfield profiles the diminishing ranks of activists dedicated to opposing the monumental Atlantic Yards project, as a "long, losing battle" has caused some of the project's most dedicated opponents to "hang up [their keyboards]." With the Barclays Center arena, the project's anchor, now completed, but much of the $4.9 billion project unfinished, many of those who invested dozens of hours a week to fighting the project are going back to their normal rhythms.

"Facing symptoms of exhaustion, many are trying to reclaim their lives," says Kleinfield. "Some sought peace by resettling dozens of blocks or thousands of miles away. But many others, especially those living in the shadow of the arena, wonder if they ever can disentangle themselves from a confrontation without an obvious endpoint."

"The first person to raise alarms was Patti Hagan, 69, who lives two blocks from the arena. She had a falling out with other opposition leaders (“excommunicated,” as she put it). She used to spend 40 hours a week raging against the development, and now estimates she puts in maybe two."

"She is restoring a brownstone, writing and going to jazz concerts again."

Not all, however, have given up the fight. "Norman Oder, a journalist writing a book on the project, remains its most indefatigable chronicler with his long-standing blog, Atlantic Yards Report, for which, he said, he has no expiration date." Others plan to keep protesting in their small way, by vowing to never set foot in the new arena.

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Published on Sunday, November 25, 2012 in The New York Times
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