Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For Times, arena returns as a sports story, sourced to Ratner, who claims, “Brooklyn has been waiting for this, really, since the Dodgers left"

Atlantic Yards is once again a sports story, and the only sources for the New York Times's New Arena for the Nets Is Sprouting in Brooklyn are developer Bruce Ratner and uber-marketer Brett Yormark.

In response to some not-so-informed comments by former point guard Jason Kidd, who didn't think the arena was happening, and perhaps (as per NLG) a not-so-flattering article telling us Nets tickets are going for pennies, the Times tells us:
After several years of legal wrangling and the economic downturn, the Barclays Center is finally and firmly on the way after ground was broken last year.

“It got delayed so much and there were so many false starts, ‘I think we’re there, I think we’re there,’ and then the economy got bad and this thing happened and that thing happened, so unless you read carefully, you don’t realize how far along it is and that it’s really on its way,” Ratner said.
Well, it's on its way, but exactly how far is not completely clear. A more independent source, a consultant to the bond trustee, has indicated that a meeting on schedule disputes was to happen last month, and that substantial completion had been nudged back from July to August 2012.

Ratner's Dodgers fix

The article continues:
He spoke Tuesday from the 14th floor of a bank building across the street from the construction in Prospect Heights as snow fell and workers pieced together parts of the upper bowl. The arena, which is expected to open in the summer of 2012, will also host boxing, tennis and other events. The Nets will attempt to tap into the Knicks’ stranglehold of New York City and have hired the marketing agency Translation, led by the former recording executive Steve Stoute, to promote the brand.

“I think Brooklyn has been waiting for this, really, since the Dodgers left,” Ratner said.
Ah, but in October 2003, as plans emerged, Ratner told New York magazine something a tad more subtle:
“The Dodgers, the Dodgers, the Dodgers,” Bruce Ratner says, his voice mixed with affection and weariness. He’s talking about the baseball team that once anchored Brooklyn’s major-city aspirations and now anchors Brooklyn in the past. “That’s nice nostalgia, but we have to get beyond that. In a metaphorical way, we have to get over the Dodgers. That’s important. Because that talk represents the way Brooklyn used to be. And how one talks about the New Brooklyn is very important.”
Remember, 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.

The "clogging" opposition


The Times article continues, in response to the Dodgers quote:
The opposition that clogged the arena’s path would probably disagree. Ratner — a development partner of The New York Times in building its current headquarters — once doubted that the arena would be built when the economy collapsed, but regained optimism once the Yankees gained financing for their new stadium.
It's tough to divine what exactly "Brooklyn" wants--especially 53 years later, after such things as cycles of economic decline and renewal, generational change, immigration, technological change.

And it's doubly tough for Ratner, a resident of the Upper East Side, and Yormark, a New Jersey guy, to speak for Brooklyn.

As for the reasons for opposition, to quote NLG's Eric McCLure:
That's us, clogging the path of progress like an oversized dump. Didn't have anything to do with eminent domain abuse, backroom deals, massive subsidies, rigged environmental studies... shall we go on?
Coach Johnson and Clarence Norman

Meanwhile, the hard-hitting Brooklyn Paper reports on an appearance in Crown Heights by Nets coach Avery Johnson, Nets coach is second-to-last in the standings, but standing tall with God.

Vouching for Johnson was not exactly the most credible source:
The talk was organized by the Mighty Men of Valor, a ministry at the church, which is led by the father of former Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman Jr.

“He gave a powerful message and provided a roadmap to success,” said Norman, who was jailed in 2007 for campaign corruption and extortion convictions.

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