Skip to main content

"Road to Brooklyn" focuses on borough generalizations; Washington Post explores whether Nets = return of Dodgers

In less than six minutes, the fifth episode in the Road To Brooklyn mini-series on Jay-Z's YouTube channel takes on the borough at large, with some predictable quotes from Borough President Marty Markowitz and generalizations--not-so-easy to make for such a sprawling place--from a cast of mostly younger and entertainment industry-affiliated interviewees.

"If you're from Brooklyn, you can't just say Brooklyn, you have to shout it," asserts actor Malcolm Barrett.

Oh, sure.

"We have more character and characters in Brooklyn  than anywhere else in America," declares Markowitz. "We can charm you off your feet and be in your face at the same time."

"Brooklyn is like its own world," asserts one young guy in a baseball cap.

"We are now considered the coolest city on the planet," declares Markowitz, not mentioning that the designation comes from GQ and refers to the artisanal food scene. He's not the first to make that pivot in selling the Brooklyn brand; so too has Forest City Ratner.

"Brooklyn has equity," says clothing designer Seth Braunstein (apparently the guy behind Brooklyn Rock, a new streetwear shop near the Barclays Center). "People come here to do something fresh."

"I always joke that people from Brooklyn say they're from Brooklyn at least three times a day," says model Damaris Lewis, who founded the Heels to Hoops blog.
It's local pride, and I think everyone shoudl have it

"What it really is about Brooklyn is there really is a community here," says radio host and former hip-hop exec Combat Jack, who has longstanding ties to Jay-Z.

"There's so much to be said for the character of this place," says DJ/record producer Tommie Sunshine. "And there's so much culture in Brooklyn. And people in Brooklyn are a little more dug in."

Of course, such observations could lead to the impression that those resistant to Atlantic Yards might be honoring Brooklyn.

Hip-hop artist Telli Ninjasonik declares, "Brooklyn is Brooklyn, man. It's beautiful. Ain't no place in the world like Brooklyn." Oh.

Enter the Nets

Then the music changes and the piece pivots. "The Brooklyn Nets have probably more pressure than any team in the NBA right now because of the city they're in," says DJ Clark Kent, another Jay-Z associate.

Lewis says, "I love the fact that I'm going to be able to say that there's a team in Brooklyn."

"They're going to bring their best game and their heart and soul to this Brooklyn arena, because that's all we know, because you're not just playing for a team, you're playing for a borough, a borough that's a city, a borough that's a country, a borough that's a way of life," declares Telli Ninjasonik.

Markowitz says he's confident the Nets will match the Brooklyn energy.

Advance the Nets

"The Nets coming back to Brooklyn, it is a rebirth," says Combat Jack.

The rest of the piece shows the Nets' Experience Van visiting Fort Hamilton and other places in the borough, with one visitor declaring he's ready to buy season tickets with his son.

"They better do more than just win games and play basketball to win over the hearts of Brooklyn," says Telli.

"Spread some of that money around," says Director X, a music video director who's worked with Jay-Z.

"They should reach out to programs that deal with young people," says street artist Lee Quinones.

So, with triumphant music, we see guard Deron Williams joining kids on a Take Your Child to School Day.

"We have 150 people in our front office that are committed to giving back and being part of the fabric of this community," says team/arena CEO and uber-marketer Brett Yormark

"You can already tell that Brooklyn is going to be very supportive of us, very supportive of the franchise," states Williams, dutifully. "And we're going to try to give back to them." (In Williamsburg, with less dutiful coverage, the reception was a little tougher.)


"Brooklynites don't hold back, we'll tell 'em," says Markowitz, asserting that the Nets will hear from fans whether they do well or poorly.

In the Washington Post

A Washington Post Sports section article 11/23/12, headlined Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Nets return professional sports to historic borough, queries Andy Rosen of Junior's, Yormark, author Roger Kahn, and public historian Julie Golia:
“It was the unifying force,” Kahn said. “Italians, Jewish, everyone gathered around the Dodgers. Think of a great oak tree falling and when it’s down, there’s a lonesome place against the sky.”
“I think that’s one of the real tensions of the Nets coming in,” Golia said. “Will the Nets have that ability to draw together the diverse population the way the Dodgers did?”
The article, however, moves back to hoops:
Nets games feel like those in any other NBA city. Maybe there’s a bit more Jay-Z played on the public-address system. And because the famous hip-hop star is a minority owner of the team, there’s also a 40/40 Club in the arena and a Rocawear store outside. He also helped design the team’s distinctive black and white uniforms. But the presentation is similar to what fans would find elsewhere, even if Brooklynites are still processing the in-game experience.

“The chemistry between our crowds and our players, we still have a ways to go,” Nets Coach Avery Johnson said. “We’re not Miami or the Lakers where we’ve been in the building for a long time. We’re still learning. It’s still a feel-out process.”
In the comments

Note a few comments:
  • Nothing about Ratner's eminent domain thievery?
  • Anyway, this article is so banal and glosses over many details to tell Yormark's sales pitch. How about a few sources who actually live nearby, new and old, for their perspectives?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.