Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Atlantic Lots and today's media roundup

The Municipal Art Society's (MAS) exclusive release of its Atlantic Lots renderings to the New York Post yesterday was followed up by a new Atlantic Lots web site and slideshow (screenshots below, based on aerial photos by Jonathan Barkey) showing how the current footprint might turn into long-term parking lots.

Curiously enough, that received little media follow-up, just as developer Forest City Ratner's press release and image gallery, released following an exclusive to the New York Daily News, also received little follow-up.

To its credit, the Daily News, as I noted, did report criticism of the new design for the flagship tower.

Where's the Times?

The New York Times ignored the AY story completely. Baffling.

The New York Post, having had its MAS exclusive, ignored the new Ratner renderings. WNYC ran a story that mentioned the new timetable, the new renderings, and the MAS renderings.

The MAS renderings were mentioned in a story in Metro, which quoted not the usual suspects Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) or City Council Member Letitia James but Julia Vitullo-Martin of the Manhattan Institute, who warned "The problem smacks of traditional 1950s, 1960s urban renewal,” and Brad Lander of the Pratt Center for Community Development, who cited the problem of parking lots.

Both appeared on a panel last Wednesday at the New School, where they criticized current AY plans. Interestingly enough, City Comptroller William Thompson's quote at the panel, “I’m not sure what that project is any longer,” hasn't received greater circulation beyond this blog.

The Sun on the Newark option

The New York Sun, far more shorthanded, also ignored the statements from the developer and from MAS but ran a thoughtful analysis in its sports pages by Evan Weiner, who explained how a move of the Nets to Newark was "a good backup plan" complicated by revenue-sharing issues.

Nevertheless, Weiner concluded:
Ratner would be getting all of the revenues generated in a Brooklyn arena and might eventually want to pursue an NHL presence in the building as well. But the Brooklyn building is still years away from opening, and Ratner will still be losing money at the Meadowlands, which means the possibility of moving to Newark is definitely real. The longer the Brooklyn building is delayed, the possibility of the Nets staying west of the Hudson increases. But to get to Newark from East Rutherford is going to require a lot of creative accounting to make the business of the New Jersey Nets work.


DDDB's criticism

Maybe it's media fatigue. Nonetheless, DDDB issued a press release, quoting board member and community planner Ron Shiffman,
"The new design from Frank Gehry is no better than the last--in reality it has gone from the absurd to the ridiculous aesthetically and programmatically."

DDDB's Goldstein said of Bruce Ratner, "So when he says he ‘anticipates’ it will be completed in 2018, it's simply not credible."

I'll repeat what I wrote on Sunday, in response to Ratner's Daily News column, which, by the way, was quickly circulated in an e-newsletter (bottom) by the developer, which also touted the counter-protest on Saturday without mentioning how the developer orchestrated it.

Ratner wrote:
We anticipate finishing all of Atlantic Yards by 2018.

Note the use of the weasel word "anticipate," rather than something more firm. Remember, Chuck Ratner told investment analysts last year, "As you know, in our business, these things take a very long time, most often, frankly, longer than we anticipate."

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