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Last Arena Cases Go To Court

There was little hope for critics Friday in what are likely the last public hearings on their six-year-long battle to stop Barclays Center and the rest of Atlantic Yards.

Judge Abraham Gerges, the same judge who ruled in favor of the arena condemnation--and oversaw Daniel Goldstein's $3 million settlement, is being asked to rule that the plan for project be sent back to state authorities for new approvals.  Critics argue that so many changes have been made to the plan that it needs a new hearing and new approval. In addition, Gerges is hearing a landowner's request to have the Empire State Development Corp. pay for air rights above one of his condemned properties.

Even Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report, who has championed the critics' cause, doesn't hold out much hope for the cases, noting among other things that Gerges seemed distracted and impatient during the critics' presentation. Moreover, construction is well underway.