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Showing posts from December, 2011

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/coming/missing, who's responsible, + project overview/FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

AY down the memory hole: Times says arena will "undoubtedly transform Downtown Brooklyn"

In a year-ahead front-page article in tomorrow's Metropolitan section, the New York Times offers a three-paragraph summary for Brooklyn, mostly about Atlantic Yards: When the sports arena that anchors the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project finally opens in September, after more than eight years of lawsuits and construction delays, it will undoubtedly transform Downtown Brooklyn.  Downtown Brooklyn? Didn't the Times more than five years ago acknowledge in a mega-correction that Downtown Brooklyn was an inaccurate designation for the project? In a 4/17/11 article about living in Prospect Heights, the Times included Atlantic Yards and the arena site within the bounds of the neighborhood. See graphic at right. (Arguably, the northern and western edges of the arena site, which border wide avenues, might extend Downtown Brooklyn. But walk down Dean Street from the surface parking lot on the southeast block of the site, and enter from Dean Street? That's not Downtown.

Cognitive dissonance: Bruce Ratner, he of the ever-shifting Atlantic Yards vision, salutes DUMBO developer Jed Walentas because he "holds firm to the vision"

In a front-page Real Estate section article tomorrow, headlined DUMBO on His Mind , the New York Times profiles Jed Walentas, son and successor to David Walentas, the wily and wise developer who bought up defunct manufacturing structures for a song and, over decades, alchemized them into residential gold. And who does the Times find to salute Walentas? Bruce Ratner, the president of the Forest City Ratner Companies, which is developing the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, said he had watched Mr. Walentas grow more confident as he took control of the company. “What is really interesting about David and Jed is that they both have a vision for what they want,” he said. He pointed to other large-scale development projects across the city, saying the extent of their success had been dependent on the developer’s vision. “Battery Park City is a great place,” Mr. Ratner said, “but it does not have the same sense of character” as Dumbo. Rockefeller Center, on the other hand, has a definitive

The Atlantic Yards meme gets a boost in 2011, with more coming from a journalist's novel

I wrote in March how a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority used the term Atlantic Yards --a marketing term for a 22-acre project , some of which is still in private hands--for the agency's 8.5 acre Vanderbilt Yard. In April, one of the MTA's watchdogs similarly used the term Atlantic Yards to describe the property the agency marketed. And in a manuscript You'd think that a journalist writing about Atlantic Yards would know better, but not the notorious Stephen Witt , who's written an AY novel called The Street Singer . The Daily News gave it unaccountable publicity earlier this month, but not until AY opponent Patti Hagan gave me the hard copy of the article did I see an excerpt from the manuscript, which included this: "Thaddeus Hoover," I said, suddenly recognizing the name. You're the guy who wants to bring the Nets to Brooklyn and build an arena at the Atlantic Yards." "No, I'm the man who will build the

A traffic light down at Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street; trucks regularly ignore the staging area and use Carlton improperly

As if saying goodbye to 2011, Atlantic Yards Watch reports that the traffic light on the southwest corner of Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street was knocked down December 28, apparently by one of the several trucks that ignore the Pacific Street staging area and improperly use Carlton Avenue, then make a left.

Brooklyn's largest subway hub will be co-named (not re-named) for Barclays arena (timing, name not yet announced)

To clarify a report on (picked up by the Brooklyn Eagle ) that Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station Goes Corporate, Will Now Be Renamed Barclays Terminal , the MTA confirms that it will be a co -naming, not a renaming. Neither a precise name nor timing have been announced, but I doubt the co-naming would occur until the arena opens. The official opening date is 9/28/12, but there should be a soft opening in August. The first-ever sale of station naming rights was announced in 2009, for $200,000 a year over 20 years--a bargain, I'd contend .

A look back at 2011: the arena rises, construction troubles, a reconfigured community response, the modular surprise, an enduring lack of oversight, and the lingering impact of Battle for Brooklyn

Even if the volume was turned down somewhat, it was not a quiet year in Atlantic Yards. When I wrote my "What's next in 2011" post on 1/4/11, I pointed to "Accountability issues, timetable questions, and a reconfigured community response, with BrooklynSpeaks rising, DDDB receding." That was mostly right, though hardly the full story. After all, as I wrote, "I wouldn't be surprised if there's a new Atlantic Yards twist." The surprise in 2010 had been "the astonishing effort" to market Atlantic Yards to immigrant investors seeking green cards. The 2011 surprise was Forest City Ratner's revelation that it was planning to build the long-delayed first tower, and the rest of the project, via untested modular construction. (That's still not firm.) Accompanying that statement was the astonishing admission by developer Bruce Ratner that union-built towers with affordable housing had never been viable. While that contradi

AY down the memory hole: Capital declares Kuntzman's Brooklyn Paper "got massive mileage out of the Atlantic Yards saga"

From Hey Honeys! 'King of Brooklyn' Gersh Kuntzman heads off to academe, to instruct young gumshoes , in Capital (tagline: This is How New York Works), about the Gershification of the Brooklyn Paper: It also meant transforming what was already a well-respected community publication, with its informative re-caps of local board meetings and dutiful coverage of provincial affairs, into the type of scrappy news product that could command the interest and respect not only of its neighborhood constituents, but of those media elites across the river. “What I did,” said Kuntzman, more modestly, “was, I took a very, very strong paper, I cut the story length in half, and I added a kind of tabloid brashness." And nothing was lost? What about AY? Writes Joe Pompeo: Apart from the bottled water wars, some other classics from Kuntzman’s Brooklyn Paper canon, outside its signature beats like bike lanes and local development (it got massive mileage out of the Atlantic Yards saga),

Battle for Brooklyn, "community," and the Occupy Wall Street parallel (the massive NYPD response to protest)

On watching Battle for Brooklyn   yet again, I notice things I didn't emphasize the first time around in my review ,  things that make the movie both more frustrating and more valuable. For example, the term "community" is a slippery concept in multiple ways. The movie portrays tensions over the Community Benefits Agreement, ginned up by developer Forest City Ratner to create the appearance of responsibility to the community. But the "community" of opposition to Atlantic Yards--portrayed, though not sufficiently explained--depends less on those living/working in the project footprint than on those in the surrounding neighborhoods, those who must bear the brunt of the project's impacts. The film has a neat narrative arc, following the path of activist Daniel Goldstein, but it can leave the impression that the fight is over. Yes, the fight to stop the project is over, and the amount of activism diminished, but, community concerns continue, such as over t