Skip to main content

In rebuttal to Markowitz, CM James and DDDB's Carponter appear on Channel 7

Complementing the Up Close with Diana Williams interview yesterday with Borough President Marty Markowitz was an interview with Council Member Letitia James and Candace Carponter of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.

Markowitz vs. critics

Markowitz, the host stated, says naysayers just don't want change.

"This really is a textbook case on how not to do megadevelopment," declared James, who noted that the project was not approved by any local elected officials. She said most construction jobs went to people outside of Brooklyn... was not approved by any community board.

She said the number of local jobs was minimal, with most construction workers outside Brooklyn (true) and maybe outside New York City (not quite).

"The promise of 10,000 jobs... we even heard Marty say some were in steel mills in other states," Williams said.

Actually, that was 10,000 office jobs. Apples and oranges.

Carponter said numbers were "inflated to get approval... it was a major land grab for the developer... this is very, very valuable property... condos were selling on the edge of railyard for $650-700,000... The railyards were not pretty, but everything around it was developing organically."

Well, not everything was developing, because there was manufacturing zoning that needed to be changed--and it was, for some buildings--on a wholesale level.

The arena

Do you not like the arena, asked Williams.

"The arena is not very attractive," declared James. "It looks like 10,000 rusted toasters." She then segued to the issue of traffic: "We have been working... with regard to mitigation.. the community is bracing itself... because the developer did not provide any parking at all.... Individuals will be hunting for parking spaces."

Well, they will, but the issue isn't so much the lack of parking spaces, but how to deter driving, such as via residential permit parking.

"You've got a subway station," Williams countered.

"But the promise was [an arena-goer would] get a discount if you took the subway," James responded. "They reneged on that, as well." (Forest City said it couldn't work.)

What's next?

What about the future development, asked Williams, pointing to the start of the first tower in December.

Carponter noted that has been delayed repeatedly.

"I hear you saying this is not moving fast enough," Williams said.

"This project does not meet the needs of the residents of Brooklyn," James responded. "I knocked on hundreds if not thousands of doors... when you have public land, you should fill public need... and the need is not for basketball...

"We heard a guy who's really excited to have basketball," Williams said, citing one interviewee.

"Sure," said James, pivoting. "This is not about basketball per se.. this about responsible development, and using a public good for a public need."

"What is it do you want to see?"

Carponter pointed out that a court "has ruled the second phase can't go forward... we were lied to about duration... So the second phase can't go forward until we can determine whether that [plan] makes any sense in terms of the negative impacts." This was one of the first references I've seen to the cloud hanging over the project.

Who's to blame?

"Do you take any of the blame for delaying the project?" Williams asked.

"No, because the project from the time it was approved, 2010, they are still talking about a 25-year window, it has nothing to do with our litigation," Carponter said. The numbers never worked... Ratner has said they would need more subsidies." She pointed out that the first building would have nine affordable units for families at Brooklyn's median income.

A misleading reference

"The issue's not whether we ought to be blamed," James responded. "The issue is really about standing up and advocating for your community... against the abuse of  all is right.. This woman I know, and I'll always remember her, lived in footprint, she was a Holocaust survivor. She wanted to die in her home. She was 89 years old. She should've been allowed to die in her home and not suffer under the stress of being subject to eminent domain for a basketball arena."

Hold on: wouldn't we have heard such a dramatic story?

I checked with two people who should know, and was told there was an elderly Holocaust survivor who was stressed by eminent domain, but she was a commercial tenant, not a residential one. And there was an elderly woman in the footprint Victoria Harmon, who didn't want to move, and did end up dying at home.

Going to the arena

Would you ever set foot into that arena, asked Williams.

James said, "I was invited [to the opening], and I respectfully declined. I want to hold true to my principles." She then segued into campaign mode, saying she wanted to "make sure we can address the poverty we continue to see in the city of New York and provide jobs..." I suspect she may have to leave herself an out to visit the building.

"I'll never go there," Carponter said. "And it's heartbreaking to me, I understand its important to a lot of people in Brooklyn. For me, what's more important... to allow the project to go forward the way it's designed at this point is just wrong... What we hope is they allow more developers to come in... so whatever gets built gets built a little more organically, a little less high rise, more open space... certainly lots more affordable housing."

Of course there's a tension there too, because Forest City Ratner argues that only by building big can they build the subsidized housing.


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…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in February 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed--but not yet approved--shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won…

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).


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…