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Brooklyn Paper Editor Kuntzman: "Once [arena is] built, you kind of have to focus on the positives"

On the John Gambling Show last Friday, the host, after interviewing Bruce Ratner, interviewed Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Gersh Kuntzman.

One issue was Atlantic Yards and Kuntzman, who's a smart fellow, sounded dismayingly like the editor of the Pyongyang Paper.

AY and change

JG: What do you think is going to change... when Bruce Ratner gets that development over the Atlantic Yards done?

It's not "over the Atlantic Yards."

GK: Any project of that size is going to be controversial... It's going to change a lot of things, but some things people worry about more than anything, people worry about the traffic that a large arena might bring. I mean, look, this is New York City, and there's going to be traffic from things.

He's skating over things a bit, given the disruptive congestion.

It's going to change a lot of things. For one thing, you're going to have a professional major league team here in Brooklyn, and you're going to have a venue where The Who can play, Bruce Springsteen can play, we've actually never had that, not at least in decades. That's something a lot of people are excited about.

Resentment over?

GK: There obviously was a lot of local resentment on the ground, y'know, people who actually physically live in the area. But, y'know, unfortunately, a lot of people have moved on and we're talking about just the venue itself, and it's going to be a really big deal.

Well, the most prominent project opponent, Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, has moved out of the project footprint, but there's are still a lot of neighbors who have not moved on. That's why the state had to override local zoning to put a basketball arena within 200 feet of a residential area.

Once it's built

JG: New Yorkers... everybody, it's a human condition, is resistant to change, because we like what we know and we're worried about things we don't know. But I think, like so much in New York, after that thing is built, and I know all of the sort of grunts and groans that have taken place... I think Brooklynites are going to go, 'Wow, this is great, why didn't they do it sooner?'

Only if they ignore the surface parking that could linger for more than a decade and a project that could take 25 years to complete.

GK: Well, the sooner thing, definitely... You're absolutely right about the fact that people typically resist change. I would argue that New Yorkers do it less than other people. The only real constant in New York City is change. And I think that's one of the things that makes New York great.

Focusing on the positives

GK: As far as Atlantic Yards goes, I do believe that once it is actually built, people will have to start seeing its advantages rather than focusing on the more balanced picture: 'well, do the positives outweigh the negatives?'

Once it's built, you kind of have to focus on the positives. And there will be some positives to it. You've got a basketball team that potentially could put Brooklyn on some people's maps. You have a venue where you can have the Ringling Brothers Circus, we haven't had that in decades.

Gambling remarked that there's a circus in Coney Island this year and, I'll add, it's Ringling Brothers.

Celebrating the positives?

Does Kuntzman really think that, once the arena--not the project--is built, it's time for celebration of the positives rather than an evaluation of a "more balanced picture"?

Won't Joe DePlasco and Ellen Pinchuk be paid handsomely for the former?

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