Sunday, April 27, 2008

Flashback: in 2005, the Times reported project completion by 2011

Remember this front-page New York Times article?


The article was flawed for all sorts of reasons, notably the claim that the arena was instantly gaining a skyline. (See the skyline announced in December 2003 here.) Instead, revised designs were being released, exclusively to the Times.

But a second look shows the real whopper below.

Well, 2008-9 for the arena is of course way off. At the time, it was highly unlikely though not completely implausible, assuming a smooth environmental review process and no lawsuits.

2011: a fantasy

But could the entire project have been completed by 2011? That's ridiculous, given that the developer claimed when Atlantic Yards was announced in 2003 that it would take ten years to build.


(That statement was in a Project Overview handed out to the press; however, a different Times reporter covered that press conference and the timetable was not cited in the Times's 12/11/03 coverage.)

Ten years, of course, was the "anticipated" time frame in the General Project Plan approved in 2006 by the Empire State Development Corporation, with Phase 1 completed by 2010. Of course, we now know (though the Times hasn't reported it), that the developer has 6+ years to build the arena, 12+ years for Phase 1, and an indeterminate time for Phase 2.

Correction needed

Maybe the Times quoted Stuckey accurately, but he was blowing smoke. Or maybe the Times misquoted him in some way

Either way, the Times should both correct the record and ensure that those perusing the newspaper archive understand that 2011 was never a plausible target.

Tougher on the Times?

A reader asked me if I was harder on the Times than other journalistic outlets that make factual errors in their AY coverage. The answer is yes. The Times is the "Paper of Record," or at least is/was perceived to be, and it's where researchers typically search. In the case of Atlantic Yards, the Times certainly shouldn't be the only source consulted.

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