Friday, September 21, 2012

Daily News, in (predictable) cheerleading editorial, reveals it will sponsor Daily News Plaza outside Barclays Center

In the midst of yet another cheerleading editorial for the Barclays Center, the New York Daily News today reveals that the plaza outside the arena will be called the Daily News Plaza. (It was earlier supposed to be the ADT Plaza.)

Who knows the actual business arrangement, but if there's been good reason to believe the Daily News--especially the editorials--has been compromised regarding coverage of Atlantic Yards, this provides more fodder.

(It has also periodically provided relatively more coverage than its rivals, such as mention yesterday of today's arena protests, though that's not saying much.)

The editorial

The editorial, headlined Brooklyn arena is a landmark in the borough's rebirth: Hip hop star and Brooklyn native Jay Z will launch the handsome new venue with a concert series, begins:
Nine years in the making, a world-class sports and entertainment arena known as the Barclays Center is officially open at the heart of Brooklyn. How sweet it is!
The venue’s handsome presence at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves. is testament to New York’s vitality, to the dramatically rising spirit of the city’s most populous borough and to the perseverance of developer Bruce Ratner.
Now, New York has two baseball stadiums still in their infancy, a refurbished Madison Square Garden and a home for the pro basketball Brooklyn Nets — all built without the heavy public subsidies other cities have laid out to play host to teams.
A testament to the private-public partnership, as well. Yes, the direct public subsidies are less than in other cities, but the indirect help is significant, including tax breaks, eminent domain, and the gift of naming rights. Fact is, sponsorship dollars can go farther there.

Brooklyn's back?

The Daily News state:
Once an independent city, and the nation’s third-largest, at that, Brooklyn gets to strut the big-time stuff that the borough has always had but that somehow seemed lost with the departure of the Dodgers and the sadder tides of urban history.
And the Barclays Center is the perfect symbol of a remarkable resurgence of a borough that many consider the definition of hip and whose downtown commercial heart has become a jobs factory.
Doesn't the second paragraph contradict the first? Wasn't Brooklyn already back?

The design

The Daily News declares definitively:
The building is a knockout, at once spacious and intimate and designed with great sightlines.
The scoreboard will be visible from outside, as will the practice court, so passersby can check on a game or watch the players shoot around.
Oh, and we are thrilled to say, right in front, at the apex of the juncture of Atlantic and Flatbush, spread between a spanking new subway entrance and the arena doors, men, women and children of all ages will be welcomed to the enjoyment by the Daily News Plaza. Our pleasure, indeed.
The transformation

The editorial concludes:
To visit will be to appreciate that the building transformed land that had been vacant for decades and made productive use of space over a Long Island Rail Road trainyard trench that been a neighborhood blight for even longer.
As time passes, this will be forgotten, as will the complaints of locals who decried Ratner’s plans for the center, as well as his proposals for housing construction on a larger adjacent site, as corrupt assaults on their lifestyles.
Shortsighted in the extreme, the opponents attacked the entire development, called Atlantic Yards, in state and federal court actions that were designed to delay and thus to destroy.
They were only too ready, in pursuit of their small interests, to deny affordable housing to thousands of New Yorkers. To withhold thousands of jobs from construction workers. To deprive thousands of people who live in the surrounding area, including in public housing projects, of the union employment they now hold.
Although Ratner won each of roughly 30 court decisions, the legal actions slowed him down enough to imperil the project in the economic turndown. To his great credit, he stuck to it and found creative ways to win the game in the end.--
My comment:
Oh, come now. Ratner was the guy who said the long-promised ten-year timetable was “never supposed to be the time we were supposed to build them in.” Except that was also used to calculate all the project benefits
Ratner was the guy who announced plans to use modular construction to cut way down on wages for union workers.
The key piece of public property is the Vanderbilt Yard. The arena--about half of it--sits over only the westernmost segment of the railyard, less than one-third of the total. Forest City Ratner hasn't even paid for development rights over the rest of the railyard. It renegotiated terms with the MTA in 2009 so it had 22 years to pay for development rights. So much for transforming the "trench."

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