Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A black arts center will get bulldozed for a paler version

The Village Voice writes about the NYC Economic Development Agency's plan to confiscate and destroy an arts center, in order to build an arts center. Amber Waves of Pain: A black arts center will get bulldozed for a paler version focuses on some of the racial dynamics of this controversy:

Todd Triplett and his two partners, Shaun Jenkins and Philip McKenzie, wanted to create a sort of modern-day Cotton Club right in the middle of downtown Brooklyn. And the three African-American businessmen were so in love with the idea of a do-it-yourself cultural revival, they put themselves in serious debt to make it happen....

Then, less than a month before the scheduled opening, a letter from the city arrived. Signed by a man named, ironically enough, Jack Hammer, director of Brooklyn planning, the letter informed them that the city was taking the building in an eminent-domain action.

Why? So Brooklyn could turn the building into condos and . . . a cultural center.

The article goes into some interesting details, especially the questionable role of the Downtown Brookyn Partnership. To read more, click here.