Saturday, January 17, 2009

NYTimes Styles section counts AY stall among symbols of city's lag

An article in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, headlined When the Action Moves On, tries to capture the zeitgeist in which New York, capital of money and fashion, is slipping, while the focus turns to Washington.

Some excerpts:
The result is that some New Yorkers feel that the city is losing, along with many jobs, its swagger and its sense of pre-eminence, which is no small matter in a town where many feel like it takes an outsize swagger to survive.

...The swift reversal of fortune feels even more painful for having come on the heels of one of the most colorful epochs in the city’s history, marked by a skyrocketing economy and an expanding global profile, by championship sports teams and hit television shows that sold the world a vision of life in New York as the Emerald City.


AY as symbol

As with stories in this section, a string of factoids is strung together without much analysis:
A few years back, when everyone seemed flush, even those who never received a seven-figure bonus enjoyed the ride because success is infectious...

Todd Rosenberg, an animator who lives in Brooklyn, said that he finds himself sharing in the psychic pain of the city when neighborhood businesses go into their death throes...

Also being shed are some of those colorful and slightly absurd microindustries — de-cluttering consultants, aroma therapy for pets — that sprouted in recent years by catering to the well-heeled...

Massive development projects like Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards, with its planned Frank Gehry-designed sports arena and 60-story skyscraper, appear stalled. There’s no sign the New Jersey Nets will be moving to the borough any time soon.

“I think the city that never sleeps definitely needs a nap,” Michael J. Petruzzello, a prominent Washington public relations consultant, said in an e-mail message. “Washington, not Wall Street, is where all the action is right now. We have the money, power and the celebrities. We own all of the banks and financial giants. The Obamas are the hottest power couple on the planet.”

(Emphasis added)

OK, but the real estate industry, though connected to Wall Street and its cascading wealth, is a product of other factors, like the push from the mayoral administration, and Atlantic Yards is stalled not merely because of economics but because it prompted serious resistance. And demolitions for Atlantic Yards, as part of a project ostensibly to remove blight, have created blight where there was none before.

While I don't doubt a new local sports team could gain a following, especially with p.r. and press support, I haven't seen signs many Brooklynites are hankering for the Nets; the few times I've watched their games on TVs in local sports bars close to the AY site the response has been indifferent.

Oh, and the Times writer should've checked with someone in the Metro section. That 60-story skyscraper, at last notice, was to be 511 feet, though it's on indefinite hold until an anchor tenant could be found. And the market for office jobs was bogus from the start.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't this typical of the Times, especially in their Sunday Style or Sunday Real Estate section, to glorify the wealth that many New Yorkers gained in the past few years, or to glorify the aggrandizement of the development industry, and then claim this as proof that the city is successful. It is a vision that avoids the strains that this development placed on many working people whose income did not increase, or the discomfort the new buildings put on people who were harassed or inconvenienced by the excessive growth.

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