Monday, September 02, 2013

The power of a Times photo: misleading arena shot helps German newspaper salute Bloomberg years

Thanks to Google Translate, we can read this 9/1/13 article in Die Welt, a major German newspaper.

The headline and deck translated (via Google Translate) are "The man who invented the new New York for one dollar: Three terms as the billionaire Michael Bloomberg was mayor of the city - for a token salary. He ruled like a prince and changed New York more than any before him."

And yes, there's an Atlantic Yards mention. An excerpt:
One can already say: He has the face of the city changed more than any other mayor before him - with the exception of Fiorella LaGuardia, the New York City during the worst years of the 20th Century (1934-1945) reigned. Those difference, the Bloomberg means in the life of this city, you can see at a glance. The "New York Times" recently published three pairs of before-and-after pictures of to make the difference clear.
...Before: the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, an unsightly conglomeration of railway tracks - now rises above the "Barclays Center", a smart multi-purpose arena.
A misleading photo

Except the Times's photo was ambiguous, and misleading.

As I wrote last month, on the front page of the first section was a teaser, which included the Barclays Center as the emblematic piece of construction in Brooklyn. The caption stated:
BROOKLYN The Atlantic Yards at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in 2006, now the site of the Barclays Center.
There was never a place called Atlantic Yards; rather it's the brand name for a 22-acre site, of which a small fraction is pictured. Developer Forest City Ratner does not even control chunks of the site, namely the majority of the railyard.

Nor is the Vanderbilt Yard--again shown only in part--called Atlantic Yards. The caption would better have read: "A portion of the Atlantic Yards site..."

Also, there was much not built, which suggests a more ambiguous legacy. None of the towers promised as part of Atlantic Yards will be finished during Bloomberg's tenure. Nor is there any building on the railyard, which requires an expensive deck.

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