Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Observer's Power 150: many Atlantic Yards connections, with Prokhorov somehow well ahead of Ratner

The New York Observer has issued its "purely subjective" ranking of the city's Power 150, and it's worth a look to see how many intersections there are with Atlantic Yards.

In the top 50, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is #1, while Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ranks #9, and Kathryn Wylde, CEO, Partnership for New York City, snags the #11 spot. Wylde testified for Atlantic Yards, while Department of City Planning Director Amanda Burden, at #30, played a peripheral role.

At #38 comes Mikhail Prokhorov, pictured with a Nets logo in the background; he "embodies a new Russian elite swarming the city." Well, billionaires embody things slightly differently than the rest of the world, but it's hard to think Prokhorov has more local juice than a developer like Bruce Ratner who's built relationships over decades.

Prokhorov's billboard partner, Jay-Z, ranks #46, cited for remaining "a relevant musician while commanding a growing empire worth almost half a billion dollars."

And Bob Diamond, President of Barclays, is #47, not for the arena naming rights deal, which is unmentioned, but because next year he will run the firm.

The second 50 includes Knicks (and Cablevision) owners the Dolans at #52 (not an AY link, just a comparison).

NBA Commissioner David Stern ranks #79 and is credited for having "built 28 new arenas," which kind of scants the ability of team owners to extract local subsidies.

In the third 50, Bruce Ratner is #109:
Real estate developer; minority owner, New Jersey Nets

The saga over the Atlantic Yards, Mr. Ratner's baby, is fit for a long Russian novel, but this year he won his battle against landowners. Construction is under way at the multibillion-dollar arena and residential center. Now if he can only get the Nets to move to Brooklyn.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is #141, "always there to praise or admonish every New York politician's decision." Or to pinch-hit at a groundbreaking.

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