Sunday, December 22, 2013

In discussions of the Bloomberg legacy, the Barclays Center comes up (erroneously) big

A Reuters retrospective, variously titled Michael Bloomberg Leaves Outsized New York Legacy (The Forward) or From crime to cigarettes, Bloomberg leaves his mark on New York (Yahoo), contains this paragraph:
The former Wall Street executive and founder of a media company that bears his name leaves a city with lower crime rates, more parks, and new urban landmarks such as the Barclays Center, an indoor arena built over a Brooklyn train yard.
Of course the arena was not "built over a Brooklyn train yard." About half of it was built below grade at the site of perhaps one-quarter of a train yard, the functions of which were moved to the east. And a deck for vertical development to cure the "blight" of the below-grade yard--while allowing the storage and cleaning of rail cars to continue--has yet to be built.

But that's way too complicated, right?

In the Daily News

A Daily News editorial today, headlined Prince of N.Y.: Bloomberg's legacy is a city that remains capital of the world., includes this passage:
Rest assured that no one who heard Bloomberg speak on Jan. 1, 2002, envisioned that on Dec. 20, 2012, he would make the maiden run on an extension of the No. 7 subway line at the conclusion of a third and final term.
....Or that Brooklyn would become the hottest and hippest place in all of urban America, complete with its own new arena and pro basketball team.
That was happening, of course, before the arena even opened. A caption reads:
Brooklyn's Barclays Center stands as a symbol of the borough's new image.
There you have it--the end justifies the means. Thing is, the Daily News editorial page isn't too comfortable with complications, writing, for example:
Bloomberg further boosted their futures by rezoning more than one-third of the city to spur development. Boomtowns have opened in areas ranging from Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg to Long Island City and Lower Manhattan.
Except the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning was justified to spur office jobs, not new housing and, had housing been the goal, surely there would have been more discussion about the fairness of offering property owners free money--increased development rights, accompanied by tax breaks--without requiring below-market housing in return.

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