Sunday, May 18, 2014

Muddying Atlantic Yards (more than once) in the city's Olympics saga

Ah, Atlantic Yards down the memory hole, more than once...

In today's Daily News, columnist Linda Stasi slams the idea of another Olympics bid:
Dear Gov. Cuomo,
I’m writing to applaud your announcement last week that you’re considering a bid to bring the 2024 Olympics to New York City under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg’s failed Olympic point man, Daniel Doctoroff.
...Doctoroff has been quoted in the New York Times, among other outlets, stating that Bloomberg’s bid for the 2012 Olympics actually helped New York so much it’s nearly incalculable.
For instance? Well, he believes it was the catalyst for the new Yankee Stadium, as well as for the development of the Atlantic Yards (including Barclays Center) and, yes, the High Line.
Well, so what if Yankee Stadium planning began well before Doctoroff and Bloomy were in office? And who cares that Bruce Ratner had already bought the Nets with a plan to move the team to a new facility in Brooklyn before the Olympics bid was in play?
Actually, that recent New York Times coverage was pretty ambiguous, not attributing the decision to build Atlantic Yards as related to the Olympics or Doctoroff:
Much has changed since Doctoroff submitted the 562-page Olympic bid book in 2004. Most notably, voting members of the International Olympic Committee have expressed more confidence in U.S.O.C. leadership.
The landscape of New York’s sports facilities has evolved. The Mets and the Yankees play in new stadiums. Barclays Center, considered a potential gymnastics venue for the 2012 bid, is now home to the Nets. Madison Square Garden, the proposed home for Olympic basketball, has had a series of renovations. And the capacity of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. — the new home of the Giants and the Jets — is about 80,000, big enough to host the opening and closing ceremonies.
An attempt to shoehorn the Olympics in

That said, in 2011, Mitchell Moss, an advisor to Mike Bloomberg's 2001 mayoral campaign, and a defender of Bloomberg and Doctoroff, wrote a report that strained to attach the Atlantic Yards arena and plan to the Olympics legacy, though that's not backed up by evidence.

Rather, as portrayed in New York magazine in 2006, the Olympics controversy provided media cover for Atlantic Yards:
While there was no public hint of Ratner’s interest in either the Nets or the Brooklyn rail-yards site until late July 2003, the developer had been meeting with Bloomberg nearly a year before that, according to Dan Doctoroff, the city’s economic-­development czar. Bloomberg, a political novice but a billionaire businessman, had been elected largely on the hope he’d rescue the city’s economy. Doctoroff was orchestrating the campaign for the 2012 Olympics and to build a West Side stadium for the Jets, controversies that provided invaluable media cover for Atlantic Yards, percolating in the background. “We did not require a lot of convincing as to the conceptual merits of Bruce’s plan,” Doctoroff says. “We’ve been involved in it from almost day one. I was advising Bruce on his purchase of the Nets. Clearly, he was going to use it as a centerpiece for a significant development over the yards. The mayor was always very intrigued by the design. He’s in favor of big statements. What you’ve got now is an opportunity to have an independent economy in Brooklyn.”
http://nymag.com/news/features/18862/index1.html
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