Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If Walter O'Malley sold out Brooklyn (as per new arena advertisement), who's the hero now: Ratner? Prokhorov? Barclays?

According to an advertisement on page 2 of the Spring 2010 issue of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's promotional publication Brooklyn!!, the Atlantic Yards arena (aka Barclays Center) is being promoted as repairing the losses felt when the baseball Dodgers left in 1957.

But things are a tad different these days, as I explained in an FAQ today, excerpted below.

And one question raised by the advertisement: if Walter O'Malley sold out Brooklyn, who's Brooklyn's benefactor?

Is it Forest City Ratner, led by Bruce Ratner, described by history professor Fred Siegel as "the master of subsidy.... He never builds without someone else taking the risk""

Is it Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's richest man, able to buy 80% of the Nets and 45% of the arena in a good deal, after Forest City Ratner did the heavy lifting?

Is it Barclays Capital, buying naming rights from Forest City Ratner, after the state gave them away as "part of the financing of the project"?

Could it be that there are no heroes--and that thanking "Brooklyn" is kind of meaningless?

(Note that the issue is online, but without advertising. My scanner couldn't capture the ad completely.

From the FAQ

Is the Atlantic Yards site is the same place Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley wanted to build a replacement for Ebbets Field?

O'Malley didn't want to build over (and around) the Vanderbilt Yard, but rather across the street, north of Atlantic Avenue, on land now occupied by Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls.

Is Brooklyn still suffering from the lingering wounds caused by the Dodgers' 1957 departure for Los Angeles?

For Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and some others of his ilk, yes. However, Michael D'Antonio's book Forever Blue, excerpted in Sports Illustrated, corrected the record:
Was it true? Had O'Malley crushed Brooklyn's spirit? The answer is no. In 1963, after the Dodgers vanquished the Yankees in the World Series, a New York Times editorial titled Joy in Flatbush declared, "At last the wounds have healed." In 1969, when the New York Mets won the World Series, Brooklyn honored them with a rally at Borough Hall. The victory made the Dodgers seem like ancient history.
Is pro basketball in the 21st century much like pro baseball in the 1950s in terms of the players' and teams' relationship to the community?

Not really. Back in November, 2005, Scott Turner of Fans for Fair Play savaged the relevance of Dodgers nostalgia in the context of the Atlantic Yards saga, contrasting owners, their devotion to sports, their commitment to local fans, the players, ticket costs, and commitment to local businesses, among other things.

No comments:

Post a Comment