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A Times editorial skewers some development puffery, on Long Island

The New York Times, in today's Long Island section, offers a skeptical editorial regarding Charles Wang's Lighthouse development anchored around a rebuilt Nassau Coliseum. The headline is Back to the Lighthouse:
Go to www.lighthouseli.com, pore over the glossy images and watch the video, and you may be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Wang is proposing the mildest, most inoffensive 5.5 million-square-foot development imaginable.

The Lighthouse on Long Island is shown as a bucolic, sunlit oasis where people shop, stroll, ice-skate, go to Islanders games, nuzzle their children, get massages and jog with their golden retrievers.


The Times's criticism of the vague plans for transit and affordable housing may well be on target. But the newspaper, in its editorials regarding Atlantic Yards, has chosen to see the positive, rather than apply similar skepticism. Remember this 8/6/06 endorsement:
After watching the project evolve for the past few years, we feel — with a few caveats — that it deserves to go forward. The opportunities it presents, and the nearly 7,000 apartment units it will provide a housing-starved city, outweigh the problems it would entail. These advantages have been repeated endlessly by Mr. Ratner, who is also The Times’s partner in building its new Manhattan headquarters. More than 2,200 of the apartment units would have rents targeted to low-, moderate- and middle-income families. The Nets basketball team would bring major league sports back to Brooklyn. The buildings designed by Frank Gehry would add a sense of excitement to the entire area. And, when finished in 2016, the project will add substantially to city and state tax revenues.


Beyond my criticisms of that endorsement, consider also the Times's failure to analyze developer Forest City Ratner's series of promotional fliers.

To borrow some phrases from today's editorial, if you pore over the glossy images, you may be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Ratner is proposing the mildest, most inoffensive 8 million-square-foot development imaginable.

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