The service, I was told, included some harsh criticism of Forest City Ratner, to the dismay of some FCR employees, who, to their credit, paid their respects to the staffer who served as James's most recent liaison regarding Atlantic Yards.
Perhaps the most forceful criticism came from Schellie Hagan, an activist from Clinton Hill (and with sister Patti Hagan, a stalwart of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition), whose tribute began:
Alfred and I were the oddest friends. We weren't at all alike and really didn't have much in common. In the first place he was conflict averse...so where did that leave us? We both hated Ratner, but thousands of people hate Ratner and I'm not friends with thousands of people. We both loved New York City, the parts Ratner and his pals haven't wrecked yet. But millions of people love New York City and I don't love millions of people. I loved Alfred. There's no explaining some things.Actually, as Hagan's words further indicated, Chiodo wasn't a hater. Indeed, Hagan told me she took some poetic license, amplifying Chiodo's dismay over Atlantic Yards, based on his training as an urban planner (and, surely, his work for project opponent James).
As I recall, Chiodo tried to reconcile some very different interests, though, as in other endeavors--as Hagan's tribute indicates--that wasn't easy.
The tribute, in full
I didn't plan to reprint Hagan's remembrance, but it's so winningly detailed and beguilingly tender it deserves a full read, conjuring up a friendship, a personality, and a life sadly cut short. (Information on donations is here.)