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Foes of Jay Z's Barclays Center Link Up With OWS for Opening Day Protest

The Barclays Center, which is still under construction, is slated to open in September 2012.
The Barclays Center, which is still under construction, is slated to open in September 2012.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Occupy the Barclays Center could be in the works.

The new arena doesn't open its doors for more than three months, but its critics are already busy prepping for an opening day protest — and they've invited members of the Occupy movement to join them in planning the demonstration.

"They can mobilize a lot of people very quickly, and if there's a project that typifies the One Percent, it's Atlantic Yards," said Jo Anne Simon, a founding member of Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of local groups opposed to the Barclays Center and the surrounding Atlantic Yards development.

Brooklyn Speaks, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, and other Atlantic Yards activists will meet Tuesday night to plan a rally for Sept. 28, when Jay-Z will break in the new 18,000-seat arena with a concert. 

"Jay-Z may be playing Barclays Center on September 28, but an arena alone nets nothing for Brooklyn," wrote Brooklyn Speaks on its website.

Brooklyn Speaks members said the September demonstration will highlight how the Atlantic Yards development has failed to deliver on promises such as 2,250 units of affordable housing and 25,000 jobs.

The opening of the arena is the perfect time to remind elected officials, the public and the press about those broken promises, said Brooklyn Speaks member Gib Veconi, especially because press coverage will likely be focused on the headliners who will be playing the arena in the coming months, including Justin Bieber, Barbra Streisand, Journey and Andrea Bocelli.

"The main driver is the need to remind the governor that this project is not about an arena, it's not about entertainment, it's about jobs, affordable housing and public benefits, and those promises seem to be in danger of being forgotten," Veconi said.

As the opening of the new arena has drawn closer, activist groups like Brooklyn Speaks have started to see a renewed interest in Atlantic Yards from the larger community, Simon said.

"The issues about this project are becoming more apparent to more people," Simon said. "The failure to deliver is becoming more obvious. We have some new partnerships that are forming."

The meeting to plan the opening day protest at Barclays Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 19 at Brown Memorial Baptist Church, 484 Washington Ave.