Friday, October 24, 2008

B'stoner: Ratner > Goldstein > Marty > Tish?

Brownstoner's list of the 50 most powerful people in Brooklyn real estate places Bruce Ratner at #1, not unexpectedly nor undeservedly, but somehow puts Daniel Goldstein, the most committed activist against the Atlantic Yards project, at #10, while Borough President Marty Markowitz comes in at #11, City Council Member Letitia James is #23, Brooklyn Democratic kingpin Vito Lopez is #31, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership's Joe Chan is #32, and ACORN's Bertha Lewis is #38.

C'mon--is Goldstein more powerful than the BP, et al.? "The hardest part is the order," says Mr. Brownstoner himself. "It's kind of a silly exercise to actually rank these folks."

The AY response

Indeed, Goldstein and the Atlantic Yards opposition--toward which I am aligned, given my consistent scrutiny and criticism of the project, but hardly in lockstep--have managed a vigorous, daily fight, notably using the Internet and going to court.

Such a watershed strategy in the development wars deserves notice. Still, it's hard to argue that outweighs the power of public officials with budgets to exercise clout in multiple areas.

A project as big as Atlantic Yards--in terms of sheer size, public commitment, and p.r. effort--and impacting well-settled neighborhoods like Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Park Slope would inevitably have spurred a response.

Then again, had specific people like Goldstein not committed themselves, the response would not have been as tenacious. Indeed, trained as a graphic designer, the remarkably persistent spokesman now provides an AY rapid-response more typical of a political campaign (though he's occasionally been hair-trigger).

By way of comparison, the Yankee Stadium deal arguably deserved as much of a response, but there are fewer people in the South Bronx who could take time out for activism.

What about the media?

Btw the media, myself included, are #9, which is of course debatable; while I do think the media can be powerful, I'll write separately about some serious flaws in media coverage.

1 comment:

  1. A project promising "Jobs, Housing & Hoops." Brooklyn's most politically connected real estate developer. The backing of the Governor, the Mayor, the Borough President and many other elected officials. The world's most famous architect. "The most sophisticated political campaign the city has seen in a very long time, better than any professional politician has mounted to win elective office, complete with gag orders and aggressive polling" (Chris Smith, New York Magazine).

    One can argue that Daniel Goldstein, as the embodiment of Brooklyn community advocacy, having kept Atlantic Yards at bay for almost five years, is underrated at #10.

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