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Beyond anodyne rhetoric from Borough Presidents, follow the money (Adams has much, and much from real estate)

A major feature in the New York Times Metropolitan section, Five Leaders on New York’s Five Boroughs, was supremely anodyne, perhaps inevitably so, given the brevity imposed. (The headline in print was "What Does a Borough President Want?" which should be answered as "to be re-elected," to be put on a path to higher office" and "to enact various changes," not necessarily in that order.)
Consider: The first two paragraphs regarding Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams--unopposed for re-election and already having announced his intention to run for Mayor in 2021--concerned his gym-like office and concerns about diabetes, which for him is not just an issue for the borough but also personal. Then, in full, the following exchanges:
What are Brooklyn’s biggest challenges?
New development. Our young people coming in need to understand that they are not the modern-day Christopher Columbus: They did not discover Brooklyn. Brooklyn was here long before they se…

Triangle parks along Flatbush just past Barclays to get pedestrian makeover

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Transformation of Flatbush Avenue ‘Triangle Parks’ begins next week:
After more than a decade of advocacy and planning, a project to transform three triangular parks along North Flatbush Avenue into pedestrian-friendly islands of green will kick off next week.
The North Flatbush Reconstruction Project will bring new sidewalks, benches, wayfaring signs, solar compactors, infrastructure and greenery to three traffic triangles formed where Flatbush Avenue intersects with Carlton, Sixth and Seventh avenues, not far from Barclays Center. Above right is a rendering of the triangle at Flatbush, Sixth and St. Marks avenues, which is just two blocks from the southeast corner of the arena block. (That blank wall in the back, I believe, would be the nightspot Woodland.)

Below is the full plan, as of 2013, from the New York City Department of Transportation.

Flatbush Avenue Triangle Reconstruction Plan NYC DOT by Norman Oder on Scribd

A Ratner cameo in New Republic essay, Why Lying Is So Easy for Trump

From Ben Adler's New Republic essay Why Lying Is So Easy for Trump: For New York developers, blatant deception isn't just good for business--it's completely legal:
Bait-and-switch tactics are an everyday practice in Trump's industry. The real estate mogul Bruce Ratner dangled star architect Frank Gehry before city officials when seeking approval for the arena that would anchor his enormous Atlantic Yards development in downtown Brooklyn. Once the deal was in place, however, Gehry was booted off the project and a cheaper design was swapped in. And more than four years after the arena opened, local residents are still waiting for the eight acres of parks that Ratner pledged to create. I'd say that it's not "eight acres of parks," but rather "open space," and it's long been known it would take a while. The clear lie--part of what I call the Culture of Cheating--is describing the "park" as already in existence, as in promotional we…

Atlantic Yards CDC meeting rescheduled for next Wednesday, at ESD offices

The Board of Directors of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), recently postponed, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 29, at 3 pm. No agenda has been released.

The change in date means that the meeting can't be held, as scheduled, in Brooklyn at Long Island University, but rather will be held at home court: the offices of parent Empire State Development, 633 Third Avenue, at the 37th Floor Conference Room.

This meeting is open to the public and will be web cast.

Due to building procedures, those attending should RSVP by 5 pm on Tuesday, March 28. RSVP public line (212) 803-3766. RSVP press line (800) 260-7313

This will be the first meeting of AY CDC since 11/14/16, or more than four months.


LICH redevelopment now named River Park

It's going around. Not unlike the way Greenland Forest City Ratner transformed Atlantic Yards into Pacific Park Brooklyn, the unbranded Long Island College Hospital (LICH) project--involving new construction as well as some adaptation--will now be known as River Park, according to Curbed.
A spokesman for Fortis Property Group provided this statement to Curbed:
The name River Park is a natural and fitting evolution for this idyllic location in Cobble Hill. Given the existing park space surrounding and within the site, which Fortis will only enhanced and beautify, and with the serene river adjacent location and spectacular East River views, the name is simply descriptive. Of course, that's exactly what a development with towers of 15, 17, and 28 stories would be called. Just the way a project with 6,430 apartments, an arena, and significant amounts of office and retail space would be called Pacific Park.

Transparency? Waiting for the ESD Board agenda

Update 9:55 am. Now the agenda and board materials are up. Nothing about Atlantic Yards.


So there's a board meeting this morning at 9:30 of Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

Occasionally the project comes up, so it's important to see the agenda to know whether it's worth attending the meeting in Midtown Manhattan, or watching on a webcast.

However, as of 5 pm yesterday, the deadline to RSVP to get into the building ("due to building procedures," which surely would be waived if a VIP really needed to get there, right?), no agenda existed.

With less than an hour before the meeting, there's still no agenda, much less board materials.

Below, the media advisory requiring a day-before RSVP



Do the 35th District fundraising totals indicate a tight race? Not yet.

So, is the 35th District Council Democratic primary race getting tight, as Ede Fox prepares to challenge incumbent Laurie Cumbo? I'd say it's early.

Fox Out Fundraises Cumbo In March 15 Filing Period, according to Stephen Witt of Kings County Politics:
According to the Campaign Finance Board (CFB), Cumbo reported having raised $66,457 while spending $26,732 to net out with $39,725. Fox raised $29,456 and spent $260 to net out with $29,716.
While this looks like Cumbo has an edge, it should be noted that she has been fundraising for some time and her total is a culmination of several filing periods, while this is Fox’s first filing.
If you just look at this filing period, which ran from Jan. 17 to yesterday, Fox outraised Cumbo by more than 2 to 1. Fox raised $29,976, while Cumbo raised only $13,720.
This is not to write off Cumbo, however, as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has an upcoming fundraiser for Cumbo.... "This is not to write off Cumbo"? C'mo…

The irony! 461 Dean modular apartments hyped as "handcrafted locally"

Potential renters in the new 461 Dean apartment tower flanking the Barclays Center can not only snag two months free rent, they also can move to a unit that's been "handcrafted locally in the Brooklyn Navy Yard," according to the Douglas Elliman listing.

Wait--can this 32-story tower really be pitched like a bespoke ottoman or a seasonal beer? After all, 461 Dean, the first residential building in Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), was supposed to revolutionize construction as the world's tallest modular building.

Rather than rely on "handcrafted" work at the building site, as is typical,  apartment sections (aka "mods") were produced at a climate-controlled, process-optimized factory, aimed to be faster and cheaper.

Alas, developer Forest City Ratner ran up against some pesky problems, namely delays, a dispute with then-partner Skanska, and cost overruns. (The former partners blame each other.) The tower took twice as long as planned and scotched…