Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bloomberg calls Brooklyn "the quintessential urban success story," touts Barclays Center as legacy

From Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered 12/5/13 at the Association for a Better New York's breakfast at the Brooklyn Marriott:
“Over the past 12 years, Brooklyn has become the quintessential urban success story. Not only is Brooklyn dramatically safer than it was, but almost 40 percent of all the jobs that we’ve created since 2001 have been created here in Brooklyn.
“And the investments we’ve made to revitalize the waterfront and promote arts and culture have helped turn Brooklyn into an international symbol of urban vitality.
“A lot of people deserve credit for Brooklyn’s incredible renaissance – but there’s one person in particular who I would be at fault if I did not mention. He is here with us this morning, and I think we should give him a big round of applause: Mister Brooklyn himself, Marty Markowitz."
More precisely, parts of Brooklyn are an urban success story, while the benefits have hardly been universal.

And at the arena

From Politicker, 12/7/13, Michael Bloomberg Burnishes His Legacy at the Barclays Center:
Replete with a chorus, a celebrity senator and an adoring, well-heeled audience, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s final speech to the Partnership for New York City this morning was a celebration of his legacy, controversy not included. 
Mr. Bloomberg spoke to the influential pro-business group in the lobby of the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, one of the major developments he spurred during his 12 year tenure, extolling how far, in his own eyes, the city had come from when he took office in 2002. It was his second legacy-burnished speech in two days–he made a similar address in front of the Association for a Better New York yesterday. In both, Mr. Bloomberg received lengthy standing ovations.
“The zeitgeist was, everybody was going to leave New York City and nobody was ever going to live downtown again,” Mr. Bloomberg said, noting the business climate after the September 11 attacks. “When they write the history books, not the newspapers, when historians rather than journalists get a chance to analyze what we’ve done, those kinds of things are going to be most important.”
The Barclays Center, however, represents a far more mixed legacy, and the Politicker reporter at least got a mention in:
Repeatedly, Mr. Bloomberg and his allies pointed to the Barclays Center, a glittering basketball arena that drew fire from locals for the tax breaks it reaped and delays in constructing promised affordable housing, as one example of the types of developments that can spur transformative economic growth.
“We also have to think big and start those things now where they’re gonna be there, be delivered for eight to 10 years from now,” he declared. “It’s the big infrastructure things, the big ideas that really make a city what it is … it’s very frustrating when people don’t understand the difference between New York and these other cities. We complain about small things and they are really small when compared to the rest of the world.”
“No matter what you do, not matter what hand God has dealt you, you’re probably better off living in New York City than anywhere else,” Mr. Bloomberg continued, using the example of the city losing its bid for the 2012 Olympics to London to illustrate the point. “We were gonna finance the Olympics with private money. London used billions and billions of dollars in public money … But we avoided having a really big problem because raising that kind of money during the economic downturn would’ve been very hard to do and yet we really built most of the things that we would’ve gotten out of having the Olympics here.”
That of course is simplistic. Barclays Center is not a "big infrastructure thing" the way a subway or light rail line would be. The new subway entrance serves the arena first. The plan to deck over the railyard for development--the main justification for eminent domain--is delayed.

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