Skip to main content

The Times finally reports (two years late) on poll results opposing Brooklyn arena

It's the third poll regarding Atlantic Yards that the New York Times had failed to report. In an article today about the mayor's defense of eminent domain, headlined Bloomberg Says Power to Seize Private Land Is Vital to Cities, the New York Times offers these curious paragraphs:
In New York, for example, the proposed use of eminent domain by the developer Forest City Ratner to bring a basketball arena and a swath of residential, office and commercial towers to the Atlantic Terminal area touched off fierce opposition, especially in surrounding neighborhoods.
The concept, though, proved unpopular elsewhere as well. A New York Times poll in April 2004 found that only 18 percent of city residents favored the construction of a new basketball arena in Brooklyn it if it required the demolition of homes and businesses. (Forest City Ratner is the development partner of The New York Times Company in building its new Midtown headquarters, a project that itself involved government condemnation of private property.)


No report at the time

Did the Times report this in April 2004? The main report on the poll, a 4/23/04 article headlined Mayor's Rating Up; Poll Sees Deep Split On School Policies focused on Bloomberg's treatment of the schools. One paragraph stated:
The respondents to the poll showed strong support for his other initiatives. When asked if they liked the idea of New York playing host to the Summer Olympics in 2012, a goal Mr. Bloomberg has actively pursued, 71 percent said yes. Almost half said they would like to see a new sports stadium built on the West Side of Manhattan (although far fewer, 21 percent, liked the idea of taxpayers picking up some of the tab for that stadium).

There was no mention of the Atlantic Yards project. A graphic chart included questions about Bloomberg's overall job performance, the city's economy, education, the smoking ban, and a sports stadium on the West Side.

Clicking to the results

The online version of the article offers Complete Results, where the arena questions can be found:

58. Do you think favor or oppose building a new arena in Brooklyn for the Nets? (Favor/Oppose/DK or NA)

4/16-21 45 42 14
Whites474112
Blacks434313
Hispanic414416


59. IF FAVOR, ASK: What if new arena requires the demolition of the local homes and businesses? Then do you favor or oppose building a new arena in Brooklyn? (Favor/Oppose/DK or NA)

4/16-21 18 25 4
Whites23225
Blacks18282
Hispanic15243


Part of a pattern

Did this represent an unwillingness to report bad news about the Atlantic Yards project? (The parent New York Times Company is partnering with Forest City Ratner, developer of the Brooklyn project, in the new Times Tower, but the newspaper's policy is that the parent company's business interests do not affect newsroom decisions.)

Or was it simply an indifference to news about Brooklyn, compounded by space constraints? It's hard to be sure, but if the Times thought the Brooklyn arena question was worth asking, then the results should be worth reporting.

It's worth a look by outsiders, including the Public Editor. After all, as noted in Chapter 5 of my report, the Times reported on a 4/1/04 Quinnipiac University poll, but only the results regarding the proposed West Side Stadium, while five other newspapers also reported the poll results regarding the proposed Brooklyn arena.

Another Times poll ignored

Also, in a 6/29/05 article Big Issues Lift Mayor's Rating to a New High, based on results of a poll the Times conducted with CBS News, the Times reported on negative attitudes to sports facilities, but did not report in print on the results regarding the proposed Brooklyn arena. Only those clicking to full poll results would learn that the ambivalent but negative attitudes toward a proposed arena became far more negative if the project would cost $200 million in public funds.

But the article didn't mention Brooklyn:
Mr. Bloomberg's drive for new sports stadiums was singled out the most by voters when they were asked about the worst feature of his administration. Nearly half of those surveyed approved of plans to build a new stadium for the Mets and the Olympic Games in Queens, but that support dropped to about a quarter when they were told the stadium could cost as much as $180 million in public money.

So why couldn't they mention the results from the poll regarding the Brooklyn arena? Interestingly, the full poll results contrast overall attitudes toward the arena from those surveyed in June 2005 (37% favor, 45% oppose, 17% don't know) to those surveyed in April 2004 (45% favor, 42% oppose, 14% don't know). Now we know where those April 2004 results come from.

The Times's own disclosure

Today's article does disclose that the Times Tower project "itself involved government condemnation of private property." The Times has been inconsistent in disclosing its own benefit from eminent domain, but perhaps this signals an increased commitment to disclosure.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…