Happy Chinese New Year! "Gung Hay Fat Choy!" Wishing you a prosperous year ahead!
When we call the press, they show up. For weeks, we dribbled out the story of technological innovation regarding modular, so many news outlets took the bait.
I go on Bloomberg TV--that's Bloomberg TV, owned by my good friend, the former mayor--and they suck up to me like a financial guru. (They have a lovely Chinese-American anchor, Betty Liu, who might be a good person to interview a real Chinese capitalist.)
Finally, you couldn't get away with selling green cards to immigrant investors (AY II) without us.
I even had our consultants toss it around. They could see the headlines: "Ratner Ripoff: Helping Chinese Government Profit By Selling U.S. Green Cards!"
That guy Oder published a long article making exactly that point, and also citing various examples where our marketing sounds like a scam.
Oder, I have to admit, made a few good points: maybe we should be more careful about our marketing, but as long as the documents they sign have been lawyered, we're OK.
But his coverage sank like a stone. None of the real estate reporters or Brooklyn reporters or architecture critics would touch it.
So we--and I include MaryAnne Gilmartin and Ashley Cotton--have successfully created our own reality. In Brooklyn, we talk up "affordable housing."
Some say they want some "oversight" or "governance," but if we give them more of that "affordable housing," I'll bet they'll quiet down. (OK, this one guy, Gib Veconi, thinks we're "too big to fail," but that's just too complicated for most people.)
For the immigrant investors, of course, our pitch is all about the high local rents, and the booming Brooklyn market.
Let me get something straight. We don't consider anything we do cheating. We do what we have to do, to survive. (That, by the way, was also used by one of our allies, a deceased gentleman named Darnell Canada. Real estate in Brooklyn is a complex thing, which is why you need us, remember.)
We have the press on our side. Consider: we got the New York Times to publish a big article on our new sculpture. We got the Wall Street Journal to publish another article about our video art.
We placed an article in the Times about our successful transportation plan, and another in the Journal about local spending.
And you know what? No one's published an article about the leaking bass from loud concerts. Nobody cares that we don't pay arena workers benefits.
Similarly, none have written about our failure to hire the Independent Compliance Monitor for the historic Community Benefits Agreement. (This Our Time Press doesn't count.) And when we agreed to pay $300,000 in attorneys' fees, the news was pretty much buried.
As they say in Brooklyn, the cost of doing business.
Last night, the Barclays Center was bathed in a lovely glow as Amnesty International held a fund-raising concert for human rights. Pussy Riot and Madonna were there! Susan Sarandon!
(I know Amnesty might have a few things to say about China if they looked, but the point is: many articles, photos, tweets that imply the arena's a hospitable venue for human rights, zero about how we finagle the finances.)
We've got Jay-Z. (Or, I guess, we're supposed to call him Jay Z.) President Obama likes the Nets. President Bill Clinton came to a game! (OK, Oder got annoyed.)
Power 100 list. Bertha Lewis is #42. (She's a friend, though she may kiss you against your will. Be ready! It doesn't hurt to hire her, though. Just sayin'.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio is #1.
Please remember: we at Forest City Ratner entered early as de Blasio supporters.
The mayor, I suspect, will be very, very good for Atlantic Yards. And we--Forest City and Greenland--are Atlantic Yards.
I'm looking forward to a very prosperous Year of the Horse.