"So why Brooklyn?" Ratner asked rhetorically. "Brooklyn, I think growing up for me, I grew up in the 50s, you had the Brooklyn Dodgers, everybody great that I knew of, whether it be Jackie Gleason, or Walt Whitman, who I read about in college and high school, everybody seemed to come from Brooklyn."
"I got to travel all over the city, I fell in love with Brooklyn: the transportation, the parks, the museums, just everything, the brownstones," Ratner added. "And so, very early on, I said, in 1984-85, this is a place I want to develop, because I believe in this place, I believe this place will come back. So that's really what it was."
Ratner as victim?
It states that he "Went through eight years of litigation before getting approval for the Barclays Center."
There are other ways to put that, including:
- "Harnessed the nation's most powerful eminent domain laws to acquire property for the arena project."
- "Leveraged political connections, p.r. spending, lobbying, campaign contributions to get an inside track and a discount price on public land."
Or: "The only way you can really not go to war was to go to grad school, so I applied to law school. I had no interest in the law."
You can draw a (jagged) line from that mindset to the New York Times's description last year of Ratner's "reputation for promising anything to get a deal, only to renegotiate relentlessly for more favorable terms."
And that's part of the Culture of Cheating I've described regarding Ratner's Atlantic Yards project.