Indeed, AY is conspicuously absent from the mayoral press release, which mentions numerous other projects, including redevelopment of the West Side of Manhattan and the West Side yards RFP; the #7 subway line extension; preserving the High Line; re-zoning the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront; re-zoning downtown Brooklyn; negotiating incentives for new stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets; renegotiating the lease with the Port Authority for the land under the airports; awarding the long-delayed contract for street furniture; overseeing the creation of office of Small Business Services; developing Lower Manhattan Vision; designing a new agency to promote and market the city around the world; and rezoning Jamaica Center.
[Update: AY also was conspicuously absent from most of the press coverage, including that in the Times. Interestingly, New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo included AY among "deals yet to be nailed down," though the other examples have not passed public review and AY has done so; perhaps he was factoring in the pending lawsuits that delay AY construction.]
Yaro on Doctoroff
On the Brian Lehrer Show today, Robert Yaro of the Regional Plan Association cited Doctoroff's work on PlaNYC 2030, calling it "the most public process that the city's ever had." (Note that PlaNYC's recommendations for developing over railyards differ significantly from the Atlantic Yards process.)
As for the failure of the West Side Stadium, Yaro suggested that Doctoroff learned from it, and it set the stage for that redevelopment of the West Side.
Collaboration regarding AY?
Host David Cruz asked what qualities are needed in Doctoroff's successor. After citing vision and energy, Yaro declared: The third thing is collaboration. It wasn't always the case at first, but he's learned on the job, and I think is a model for how the city ought to collaborate with neighborhood groups, with different civic groups, all the diverse interests that it takes to get things to happen in New York City.
Well, let's say that Doctoroff certainly learned on the job. He claimed last February to the New York Observer that AY had "an enormous level of community input."
Even Yaro's mainstream RPA, a qualified supporter of Atlantic Yards, testified in August 2006:
Unfortunately, the public review process for the Atlantic Yards project is part of a pattern in which the State and the City enter into an agreement with a single developer prior to a full debate of alternatives... The details of the project were largely devised behind closed doors by the developer, and only minor modifications have been made in response to public criticisms. While the developer has held numerous public meetings and provided information to the community, most of the decisions regarding the site had already been made. As a result, the public has no way of knowing if this project is the best possible one for the site.
Doctoroff: lesson learned
Doctoroff last April was asked about Atlantic Yards on the Brian Lehrer Show, and was a little more candid.
DD: But I think that’s an extreme case, probably. We’ve rezoned the waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, the Hudson Yards on the West Side of Manhattan, where we, significantly, in a negotiation, by the way, with the local community, significantly increased the density, and part of it was to extend the subway over to the area which made taking that kind of density feasible. So we don’t do anything, any more, really, without consulting the community. I think we’ve gotten a lot better at that over the course of the past five years.
On WNYC radio today, Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn said Doctorff learned from that project to include communities in that process: We do hope that his replacement, and Mayor Bloomberg, will start listening and learning from what's going on in Hudson Yards, and fix all that is wrong, and that has resulted from the pitiful process that we've seen with the Atlantic Yards project.
WNYC even acknowledged Doctoroff's acknowledgment on the Brian Lehrer Show that he'd learned from the "extreme case" of Atlantic Yards.
Robert Moses redux?
Cruz asked about the inevitable comparison to Robert Moses.
Yaro: In the sense that he's had a big vision for the city. The difference is that Dan has really worked with people, and has reached out to people, and Moses never did.
Mayor Bloomberg seconded that, telling WNYC radio, "He leaves an extraordinary record of accomplishment and, unlike Robert Moses, he did it by working with communities, not bulldozing them."
Doctoroff last February 1 distinguished the current administration's achievements from the Moses era, asserting that they had been “Making Omelets Without Breaking Eggs.” He got a forceful response from Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx.
And consider the interview in Gothamist with Brian Berger, co-editor of New York Calling, who said "the prevarication and governmental abuses marking the so-called Atlantic Yards project ought to be an insult to every sentient New Yorker."
Impact on AY?
Cruz asked about the impact of this resignation on projects like Atlantic Yards and Hudson Yards.
Yaro: Most of them are on autopilot at this point, so they're moving ahead. Obviously it's going to take a continued strong voice in City Hall and I would imagine that, whoever Dan's successor is, they're going to have to stay on these projects and keep them moving.
Autopilot? Some in Brooklyn, even project supporters like Council Members Bill de Blasio and David Yassky, may differ.