Skip to main content

As DNC2016 decision awaits, a promotional push; Ratner "lives, breathes and promotes Brooklyn"

As the count-down begins to a decision by the Democratic National Committee to choose among Brooklyn/New York, Philadelphia, and Columbus, the hype continues--and a Philadelphia labor spat became fodder for New York.

Jackie Robinson’s widow has joined the city’s campaign to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, where the legendary athlete integrated major league baseball with the Dodgers in 1947.
“New York and Brooklyn both are very special places in my heart. Jack and I had wonderful experiences in both places,” Rachel Robinson said.
...New York is competing with Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, to host the 2016 Democratic convention, and has played up not only the city’s financial clout but its diversity as a positive backdrop for the nomination of the party’s next presidential standardbearer.“Brooklyn has been in the forefront of some of the changes we’re looking to see in the society,” Mrs. Robinson told the News.
“The general feeling in Brooklyn will be that people will be proud to have the convention there," declared Robinson.

I'm not sure she should be opining about the mood of latter-day Brooklynites. After all, as the Daily News put it, she "now splits her time between Manhattan and Connecticut as she oversees the Jackie Robinson Foundation."

In the Post

Yesterday, the New York Post's superannuated Cindy Adams presented Bruce Ratner lives, breathes and promotes Brooklyn, which was mostly some cleaned-up stream of consciousness, albeit with a headline that overplayed Manhattan resident Ratner's commitment:
Bruce Ratner loves Brooklyn. Breathes Brooklyn. Built Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Next to Canarsie, he rates Hawaii a used-car lot. His little 18,003-seat Barclays is up maybe for the Democratic National Convention hoo-ha.
“Imagine going somewhere else?” boomed Bruce who, in Brooklyn, needed no telephone although I was in Manhattan.
“Come to Brooklyn, you got a taste of Brooklyn. Everybody wants in on Brooklyn. Hottest spot in the world in music, art, dance, culture, education, food, people, celebrities. Clinton was here. Duke and Duchess were here. BeyoncĂ© and Jay Z, Streisand all here . . .
“Food. We got 55 restaurants with their own special vendors. We’ll create menu items from every state represented. Other places got lousy junky fries and greasy hot dogs. We have Michelin star chefs. Fish taco sandwiches. Stuffed brisket sausages, stuffed chicken sausages. Me, I’m a brisket sausage-r. We got Redhook Lobster Pound, Williamsburg Pizza. Best in country. Reasonable prices.
“And nobody beats our 2,000 polite employees. Disney trained. Our No. 1 comment is how polite they are. There’s pride in our arena. Willingness to help. They say, ‘Have a nice day . . . get home safe.’ Eighty percent are local, maybe a 15- to 20-minute bus or subway ride or walk.
“The DNC’s considering Columbus? Middle of nowhere? Gum’s on their floor, not concrete. Here there’s value. You get ‘Brooklyn’ on your souvenirs. Want them to say ‘Columbus’? What’s Columbus?! Not a Michelin place in the whole state.
“We’re tops in technology. Most advanced in the US. You can use any phone carrier. Take any selfie. Call any place. We handle 15,000 people downloading videos.
“New York City’s got 105,000 hotel rooms. Philly — 45,000. Columbus 25,000. Even Philadelphia they’re considering? It closes at 10 o’clock. I mean, please.”
Reasonable prices? C'mon. The arena prices are ridiculous. Some of the food is good, some mediocre. (Yeah, I tried the pizza.)

It's interesting to note that Ratner was focusing on the arena, not on the purported benefits to neighboring businesses and the borough at large.

And while Brooklyn is certainly hot in several ways, Ratner should temper the hype. Some celebrities visit the arena, but that doesn't make it the "hottest spot in the world."

A Philly dip, Brooklyn bounce?

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
It didn't take long for Brooklyn's convention machine to try to capitalize on the Convention Center's court order against union carpenters who allegedly harassed attendees and vandalized vehicles at the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show over the weekend.
"Antiunion," said one New York union official involved in helping Brooklyn in its bid to beat Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
...If Philadelphia lands the convention, union carpenters stand to gain a lot of work at the Wells Fargo Center, where the main events will be held. Other events would be at the Convention Center.
The Hill follows up:
“As we’ve said from the beginning of this process, New York has an unmatched ability to stage large-scale, high-profile events,” said Laura Santucci, who is heading up New York’s bid, in a statement. “From our strong relationships with the City’s trade unions to our infrastructure to the NYPD’s unrivaled security expertise, there is no better place to hold the 2016 Democratic National Convention.”
An official with the New York Hotel Trades Council, which is working with the city to woo the convention, slammed the convention center’s actions as “anti-union.”
"With Columbus lacking sufficient hotel rooms and now Philadelphia filing for an anti-union restraining order against the blue collar workers who would work at the DNC, it's time to pick Brooklyn,” said Josh Gold, the union’s political director, in a statement.
"New York's claim that Columbus doesn't have enough hotel rooms is entirely false," said Meredith Tucker, spokesperson for Columbus 2016. "In fact, Columbus has over 26,000 hotel rooms where delegates can afford to stay close to the convention sites."
Hillary in Brooklyn?

Capitol's Playbook reports:
--“Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn options are limited,” by Capital’s Dana Rubinstein: “In recent days, people who pay close attention to the undeclared presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton have been wondering about her real estate plans, which could, reportedly, involve setting up shop in Brooklyn or Queens. … But it would be hard enough for Brooklyn and Queens to accommodate a 50,000-square-foot tenant. A 100,000-square-foot requirement would further narrow Clinton's options in two boroughs that have, for decades, sent commuters to offices in Manhattan, rather than developing office space themselves.
Rubinstein's article points out that office space offered by Forest City Ratner may be too pricey, and Brooklyn offers a mixed bag of symbolism:
"Brooklyn has the advantage and the disadvantage of having cachet,” said Seth Pinsky, a real estate executive and the former president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation. “The advantage is that you can attract a lot of young, talented people and it links you to a new, very highly desirable urbanism. At the same time, there are also a lot of stereotypes—good and bad—that come with both of those and it's unclear whether she wants to be associated with those as she's campaigning for president."


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 (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, 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 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.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

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…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …