Monday, November 16, 2009

No answers to tough questions for NYC EDC's Pinsky on sweet deals on stadiums

Last week, Seth Pinsky, the president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC), answered questions from readers of the New York Times's CityRoom blog about citywide entrepreneurship.

Given the circumscribed topic, it's unsurprising that, in his answers (Round 1, Round 2), Pinksy bypassed hard questions on development issues. Still, it's notable--and further evidence for Mayor Mike Bloomberg's tougher-than-predicted re-election bid--how much anger there is about the city's willingness to push stadium deals. (The state, of course, is in charge of Atlantic Yards, with the city's agreement and Pinsky's support.)

Among the questions

Here's the first question:
Dear Mr. Pinsky,

When you create these deals for rich developers, how do you respond when people point out that they don’t end up benefiting the public? Do you say “nah nah nah I can’t hear you?” Or do you cover your eyes and ears?

Sincerely,
Not a Rich Developer
Here's another:
How do your development projects fit into PlaNYC? The city has been pushing sustainability by encouraging transit, walking, and bicycling. However, several large scale EDC projects, Gateway Center Mall and East River Plaza, seem to encourage the opposite by building massive parking garages and including entrances which seem to discourage people from walking to those sites.
And another:
I was wondering if your office is doing a fiscal impact assessment of the new Yankees’ and Mets’ Stadiums. These were significant public investments, and their impacts (if any) should be studied and reported.
Here's one after-the-fact question:
Speaking of softballs, Mr. Pinsky, why is it that EDC is always jumping through hoops for developers but the Bronx has yet to get the park you promised where the old Yankee stadium (still) stands?

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