Saturday, September 28, 2013

Victory laps: Bruce Ratner celebrates Barclays Center with sycophantic hosts: John Gambling/Fox Business (Did half of Brooklyn attend an event? Nah.)

It's the anniversary of the Barclays Center, and developer Bruce Ratner is doing a couple of victory laps.

First, the 9/25/13 John Gambling Show, hosted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg's favorite interviewer.

Gambling first asked about the Nassau Coliseum. Ratner responded with his keywords: "gorgeous arena... 30 million cars every year... entertainment [for everybody]...  I think it will rival Barclays in both its success and its beauty."

"Speaking of Barclays, it's only been around for one year, and it seems as though it's been around forever," enthused Gambling.

"It's been a remarkable year," responded Ratner, noting that for the first half of the year, the arena led the U.S. in concert/family show revenue and was second in the world to the O2 in London, which has no anchor sports team and thus more open nights.

Would the full reopening of Madison Square Garden, which has been under renovation, have an effect?

No, said Ratner. "It's good healthy competition for both of us."

Well, it might.

"What is New York City real estate like?" asked Gambling.

"It has its ups and down, it's in an upswing," Ratner said. "Residential: there's almost no vacancy in the rental market, the condo market's come back, and the office market's still pretty strong."

That said, he has no plans to build the Atlantic Yards office tower.

"Are you concerned about post-Bloomberg for the city of New York?" Gambling asked.

"Well, I think we all are concerned about post-Bloomberg," Ratner responded. "The mayor's done an excellent job in so many different kinds of ways, ways a lot of us, y'know, almost don't know, whether it be housing or whether it be--even the financial aspects of the city. For 12 years, very few of us have even had to worry about the fact that our city's been in great financial shape, despite a recession, we've never had issues with balanced budgets, and so on. So he's done a great job. I think, y'know, either candidate will get a good job done again. But transition's always difficult. No matter how good we think the next mayor'll be, it's never easy to go through a transition. So all of us have anxiety. Listen, when Giuliani left, and Bloomberg won, we all had anxiety too. So I think that's the nature of elections and change. So hopefully--I'm confident that, whoever it'll be, the city'll still be here, and they'll do a good job. I know both of the candidates and think either will come out fine."

Um, many people, including Nicole Gelinas, might disagree with Bloomberg's budget stewardship.

On Fox Business

On Fox Business yesterday, Barclays Center a win for Brooklyn, host Liz Claman made Gambling and Daily News sycophant Denis Hamill look like pit-bull investigator Seymour Hersh.

"The arena not only blossomed, it's gone crazy, it's unbelievable," said Claman, citing the awards: Sports Facility of the Year, Best New Major Concert Venue, etc.

"Everybody's flocking to this thing, but perhaps people outside New York do not know"--her tone gained an air of petulant disbelief--"what a fight you had to wage against people all around the area of Brooklyn and suddenly they're the ones attending events."

"Absolutely," interjected Ratner.

"It always goes that way," Claman declared. "Does it amaze you?"

"We thought it would do well, I didn't think it would do quite this well," Ratner replied. "It has something for everybody... first, the programming is really important...people who work there... architecture... we love the patrons... the food."

Ratner math

He cited "2000 jobs, people working there right now, 80% from Brooklyn, 35% from housing projects." No one asks how much they work per week and how much they get paid.

How much of the Brooklyn population attended at least one event?

Ratner did some math, citing 2.1 million attendees, and 2.8 million people from Brooklyn. (Actually, it's closer to 2.5 million.) "I'll bet you at least half," he said.

No way. It's unlikely that half of those entering the arena are Brooklynites--after all, 36.9% of weekeday Nets fans and 34.5% of weekend Nets fans go back to Brooklyn. And given that many of those going are season ticket holders--and the arena's rather expensive--there's no way half of the population of Brooklyn has visited the arena

"Lawsuits, protests, pickets, all kinds of things," Claman continued. "They didn't want it here. And in the meantime, this was an area that was kind of down and out."

Love those declarative statements.

The NBA All-Star Game

"So this is a perfect example where this kind of thing can work to the advantage of--and then the big news, you guys get to be part of the NBA All-Star game," she continued. "How'd you land that?

"The answer is both us and the Garden applied for it," Ratner responded, then had a lot of trouble with the term "Solomonic": "So it's kind of one of those salam-ic, solom-type decisions, split it down the middle."

Nassau Coliseum

Discussing the Nassau Coliseum, Ratner said that Jay-Z will perform there before it closes, and presumably after the revamp.

"I bet you, when we get this open, we'll get [Barbra] Streisand," he added, citing the Brooklyn artist who played in the first month of the Barclays Center.

Claman asked how many jobs there'd be in Nassau.

Close to 2000, Rather responded, then added some gibberish: "The employment situation, particularly for a worker who is available to work in an arena, there aren't a lot of jobs around, still, so it's really good."

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