The New York Times reports that some creative folks in Brooklyn have produced a musical comedy about the Goldstein v. Pataki controversy, a.k.a. the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards redevelopment project in which the courts have permitted the taking and displacememt of a Brooklyn neighborhood in order to facilitate the plans of Bruce Ratner, a mega-developer. It’s called In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards. The inspiration for this musical was the eminent domain case in which the state agency (ESDC) took an entire Brooklyn neighborhood by eminent domain, displaced its occupants, and turned the land over to good ol’ Bruce so he can build a new stadium for the Nets so they can move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
The plans for the project also include a whole bunch of high rises — all for Ratner’s private gain. That’s what is called “public use” in America, at least if you listen to the New York state and federal courts, and to the New York Times which has a conflict of interest because the midtown Manhattan building in which its operations are housed sits on land that was taken by eminent domain from its rightful owners, razed, and then turned over to — guess who? The selfsame Bruce Ratner who built a high rise buiding housing the Times. Surprise, surprise! What a coincidence. As for us, we call this sort of stuff kleptocracy.
But, like it or not, In the Footprint appears to be a real musical comedy, compleat with a New York Times review (see Charles Isherwood, A Brooklyn Civics Lesson, Offered in Word and Song, N.Y. Times, Nov. 23, 2010). Go to http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/theater/reviews/24footprint.html?pagewanted=print
We won’t attempt to summarize Isherwood’s review because it’s more about the production and the acting than about the story, and no matter how well or how poorly acted, the story stinks. Besides, we haven’t seen this production (and it’s unlikely that we will journey to Brooklyn to take it in), so what’s the point? Better you should read it for yourself.
We bring it to your attention, because — like the man said about Mount Everest — it’s there, and this wretched instance of abuse of government power indulged in for the benefit of a local giga-millionnaire may as well be memorialized in song. We doubt that this performance rises to the lofty heights of social satire like that old British vaudeville song, “They’re Movin’ Father’s Grave to Build a Sewer,” that was nicely performed by the Clancy Brothers and is still available on a CD, should you wish to hear it — and we recomment that you do.