Skip to main content

AY a notable omission in accounts of the Brooklyn blogging boom

Some who attended the Second Annual Brooklyn Blogfest in May complained that there was too much emphasis on Atlantic Yards, given that two of the six featured bloggers (Lumi Rolley of No Land Grab and I) focused on Brooklyn's most controversial project.

It's not an illegitimate criticism; it depends whether you believe such an event should encompass all who come--as did the debut event in 2006--or some of the most prominent. (Next year, I'm sure I'll sit it out.)

But it was curious, though not surprising given the sources, that three recent articles mentioning the Blogfest and the Brooklyn blogging boom, including the cover story in today's New York Times City section, ignored Atlantic Yards, notably this web site and No Land Grab.

Cracker-Barrel 2.0?

The Times article, headlined Cracker-Barrel 2.0, treats the phenomenon as kinda cute, offering the tag line, "If a tree fell in Brooklyn and nobody bothered to blog the news, would it make a sound?" and describing blogs as "these quirky byways of the information highway."

It starts with Louise Crawford of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, moves on to Jon Butler of Brownstoner, Robin Lester of the Clinton Hill Blog, and Robert Guskind of The Gowanus Lounge, then discusses the issue, which Guskind brought up at the Blogfest, of why some neighborhoods lack bloggers.

Reasons provided for the proliferation of blogs:
--"they undeniably give local residents a sense of empowerment"
--"a reflection of the borough’s relatively high ratio of homeowners to renters."
--"Brooklyn’s abundance of charged issues, coupled with its rich culture and long history"

--the extremely low ratio of daily newspaper reporters to borough population
--the poor coverage in the mainstream media of such charged issues, including Atlantic Yards.

I'll repeat Brooklyn College professor Paul Moses's observation about Brooklyn's place in the local mediascape: Nowhere in the country do so many people get so little local coverage.

Dissing AY, again

The Times repeats the canard, promoted by the Web site, that Clinton Hill is the “bloggiest” neighborhood in America, citing especially the "ubiquity" of Brownstoner. As I wrote, a large plurality of the entries listed as "Clinton Hill" that I examined concerned Atlantic Yards and came from No Land Grab. (More criticism.)

Here's the Times's selected list of "a few but by no means all of the Brooklyn blogs": Dope on the Slope; Flatbush Gardener, Big Sky Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights Blog, DumboNYC, Self-Absorbed Boomer, 110 Livingston, Ditmas Park Blog, Brit in Brooklyn, Kensington Blog, and Kinetic Carnival.

It's kind of strange that the Times would omit Atlantic Yards; after all, the newspaper ran an article on the front of the Metro section in April 2006, describing AY as "the first large-scale urban real estate venture in New York City where opposition has coalesced most visibly in the blogosphere." (The account of the Blogfest on the Times blog did mention Atlantic Yards.)


Today's article automatically segregates blogs, noting, "In accordance with the unwritten rules of placeblogging, Ms. Crawford considers her three-year-old blog an “informal portal” with no pretense of objectivity..."

That suggests that the Olympian Times, fully practicing objectivity, provides superior coverage. I've already commented on the issues of objectivity, neutrality, and integrity regarding AY.

Courier-Life coverage

The 5/21/07 Blogfest coverage in the Courier-Life chain, headlined Welcome to the ‘bloggiest’ part of town - Development spurs on Bklyn bloggers, managed to ignore No Land Grab and Atlantic Yards Report, which was not the easiest thing to do, given the theme and the role of Atlantic Yards.

Well, the Courier-Life chain is generally sympathetic to Atlantic Yards, so maybe the omissions shouldn't be surprising.

Marty's tabloid

Now, in the Summer issue of Brooklyn!!! (issue not yet online), the tabloid produced by the office of Borough President Marty Markowitz, an article headlined Blogging the Block takes on the same theme, citing the Blogfest and the Brownstoner blog.

There's no mention of Atlantic Yards, but, again, that shouldn't be surprising, given Markowitz's position as prime Atlantic Yards booster.

The article ends with an invitation that curiously endorses a single blogging platform and just might backfire by creating more governmental watchdogs:
If you are interested in starting your own Brooklyn-based blog, you can visit and get started! All you need is a computer, a ittle free time, and the desire to share your opinions and "Brooklyn attitude" with readers worldwide.

There's an AY-related term that applies to the phenomenon discussed in this article: "brutally weird."


  1. It's nice to see Brooklyn blogging highlighted, but it was a highly surface article on all fronts, so it's not surprising the author didn't get into any of the meat of the topic. Oh, and they didn't mention my blog either ;)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

For Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting Sept. 19, another bare-bones agenda (green wall?)

A message from Empire State Development (ESD) reminds us that the next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting--which aims to update community members on construction and other issues--will be held:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6 pm
Shirley Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217 The typically bare-bones, agenda, below, tells us nothing about the content of the presentation. One thing to look for is any hint of plans to start a new building on the southeast block of the project by the end of the year.

If not, ESD is supposed to re-evaluate a longstanding request from project neighbors to move back a giant wall encroaching on part of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. It's said to enclose construction activity, but, in recent months, has significantly served to protect worker parking.

Also, by the way, if you search for Atlantic Yards on Google or the ESD website, it leads to this page for the Atlantic Ya…