Monday, October 01, 2007

At the Atlantic Antic, the AY/Nets juggernaut and some pesky locals

Forest City Ratner was out in force yesterday at the Atlantic Antic street fair, with two booths promoting Atlantic Yards and the Nets, and an additional booth promoting the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center.

The two AY/Nets booths draw a steady crowd of people shooting hoops in exchange for prizes, getting some swag (keychains), new Atlantic Yards fliers, and signing up for raffles. (Not everybody wanted souvenirs.) The Nets' drumline made its usual appearance.

While Atlantic Yards obviously would be about much more than a sports team, there's not that much concrete, as of yet, to present.

Mixed message?

While the keychains still avoid using the name "Brooklyn Nets," indicating that a name change is under consideration, the fliers do proclaim "Brooklyn Nets."

There was another inconsistency of message; the van promoting "Bring It to Brooklyn" had New Jersey license plates. Another van, promoting the Nets' Sly Fox mascot, was sponsored by a New Jersey auto mall.

(Leave it to the relentless marketers behind the Nets to find a sponsor for the van. They're probably already thinking about a corporate sponsor for the waterless urinals promised for the Barclays Center arena.)

Critical views

You had to walk somewhat to the east of the Forest City Ratner AY/Nets booths to find some countervailing views. Smaller crowds gathered at the dual tables sponsored by the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB).

There wasn't any swag--t-shirts were for sale--but there was an opportunity for some dialogue, to sign petitions, to learn more about the alternative UNITY plan (below) for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, should Forest City Ratner's plan fail or be built only partially.

There was a reminder about the failure of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to appoint a promised ombudsperson for nearly five months. And DDDB promoted its third annual walkathon to raise money for ongoing legal challenges in federal and state courts.

What about the malls?

Even less trafficked, at least when I walked by, was the Forest City Ratner booth devoted to the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls, in an inopportune location near Fourth Avenue, the eastern border of the street fair.

Unlike in previous years, there were no mall-branded pencils or coffee mugs to be had, just Nets keychains, Marriott Hotel maps, and the latest Atlantic Yards flier. (Is there nothing more to promote about the malls?)

Maybe it was coincidence, maybe not, but the flier I picked up from a Nets' table featured Vince Carter on the back; at the table touting the malls (below), the flier featured a smiling child on the back cover.

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