No, the project wouldn't just "cover a vast sunken railyard;" the latter would make up less than 40 percent of the 22-acre site. No, Bruce Ratner didn't inherit his family’s business, but rather gained entree thanks to family ties. No, local opposition hasn't had significant effect on project revisions, many of which were long in the cards.
City Council Member Letitia James is quoted as saying, “There is an overwhelming need for affordable housing, not an arena that will only bring low-wage jobs."
That's a bit confusing--I don't know what was left out of the interview--because, of course, the project is billed as bringing affordable housing, though the arena is the priority in Phase One. James is saying there should be housing and not an arena; officials approved the project telling us there would be both. There are questions, however, about timing for the housing, whether there'd be money to pay for it, and whether it's the right bang for the buck.
The article offers a dollop of news:
The original Atlantic Yards plan also called for gardens on the roof of the arena. But that would have required fire escapes running outside the entire height of the building. [Architect Frank] Gehry is back at the drawing board and should have a new roof designed within six months, says [spokesman Bruce] Bender.
That doesn't sound very swift, given that a Phase One redesign was due last fall.