Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park, and the Culture of Cheating

I offer a framework to analyze and evaluate Atlantic Yards (in August 2014 rebranded as Pacific Park Brooklyn) and the Barclays Center: Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park, and the Culture of Cheating.

Note: this post is post-dated to remain at the top of the page. Please send tips to the email address above, rather than posting a comment here.

model shown to potential immigrant investors in China in 2014,
though not shown publicly in Brooklyn.


  1. Norman,

    If I remember correctly, you've had a longstanding relationship with the Institute for Justice for a while, so you may already be familiar with the interesting online article that William Stern, who used to be the head of the UDC, did for them in 2009. But in case you missed the article, it has some interesting specific criticisms of the involvement of "the New York Times" in the Times Square redevelopment project (which Stern headed early on). (Stern did an earlier, less detailed, version of this article for the "City Journal" in 1999 -- but it has less specific information about the involvement of the "Times" in the Times Square redevelopment project.)

    Here's a link:


    If the link doesn't work, you can find it doing with a search engine using the following key words: William Stern Times Square.

    Enjoyed your "City Journal" article, and agree that it's important to examine the past in order to learn from it.

    Benjamin Hemric
    Wed., 11/28/12, 8:35 pm

  2. Thanks for the comment. Actually, I've had no relationship with the Institute for Justice, other than to attend a few events where they participated.

    I'm familiar with the Stern article, and the passage cited below. That said, I suspect the situation in the newsroom is less blatant, though the editorials on Atlantic Yards--the most recent quoting a Forest City executive but no skeptic--clearly show what the Times believes.

    From the article:
    For example, Jack Rosenthal, then deputy editorial page editor of the paper, was the Times’ point man in representing their interests about the redevelopment. He acted not as a journalist covering a story but as a decision maker, dictating public policy. Rosenthal was speaking for the paper, and the paper was part of the New York Times Corporation. The Times Corp. had decided it should have as much decision power as city or state government with regard to 42nd Street.
    They did so in many ways. One of the primary methods was to use their close relationship with important city officials, such as city planning commissioner Herb Sturz (the city’s point man on the project and my equivalent for the city), who later went to work for the Times after he left city government. An incident that demonstrates Sturz’s relationship with the Times occurred at a city-state meeting to discuss the project. At the meeting, Sturz announced, “Punch [Arthur Sulzberger, former publisher of the Times] wants 1 Times Square down.” At other times it was unvarnished attempts at pressure. In a private meeting, Rosenthal made it very clear to me that the Times wanted Klein to develop the garment wholesale mart and grew increasingly upset at my opposition to the idea.

    1. I suspect the situation in the newsroom is less blatant *today*

  3. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I would like this blog to investigate the Brooklyn Navy Yard/Skanska/Ratner construction contacts. It's come to anon attention that they are supposed to use MWBE's to build housing. Some of the MWBE's they have been using their certification has expired, they are not certified MWBE's and one particular contractor is affiliated with Senator Malcom Smith. The reporting for these MWBE's are alledgly suppose to report back to Empire State Development's MWABE Division. This particular division of ESD should be investigated due to the fact their website of MWBE's are not up to date, there are contractors who have been investigated, indicted and numerous pass throughs to make sure the Gov & ESD who good on paper but they don't look good when it comes to compliance or quality of MWBE's. There is no compliance officer or anyone to verify what contractors are being used by Ratner.

    1. This is an accusation that would be stronger if not anonymous, but... I would note that ESDC does not count firms that are not certified, and Forest City's own numbers use such firms:

      I can be contacted directly via the email address at the top of the page.

  4. I'm curious why you are not being as vigilant about James Dolan and his media arm Newsday, Msg, News12LI and others representing Msg the tax exemption in perpetuity, want operating permit in perpetuity vs Ratner at the Nassau Coliseum for a facility the Dolan's have wanted since Charles Dolan signed an agreement to purchase the club in 1991 before setting for a co-ownership in Msg in 1994.

    1. I've written skeptically about the Dolans and the indefensible Madison Square Garden tax break, and pointed out that his company dominates LI media. That said, my focus is on Atlantic Yards and then, by extension, Forest City's related activities.

  5. Anonymous12:37 AM

    Curious to know since one of our local neighbors called ESD to see who was replacing Arana Hankin and we didn't get a response. We did notice on the ESD website they updated their organizational chart since people seem to be fleeing that shipwreck.

  6. Anonymous11:08 PM

    Please note ESD still has Arana Hankin as the Director of the AY on their website. We called and left a message with Joe Chan since numerous other contacts we were given didn't respond to our inquires at ESD, even left a message with Ken Adams. No response.

    1. Derek Lynch is the manager of community/government relations regarding Atlantic Yards: