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Showing posts from August, 2017

Does the fate of the Islanders' best player rest on a future arena?

The answer is yes, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday, who's been tracking the chances of a new contract for John Tavares.
Everyone I've talked to maintains this is not about $. All about wanting to see how things progress with arena/team before committing. — Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) August 29, 2017
Will be months before state makes a decision - likely 4-6 but that's just a guess. — Randi Marshall (@randimarshall) August 29, 2017
There will be other bidders for the Belmont site and, as I've said, I think another arena would represent a glut, competing with and cannibalizing events from the other area arenas. Which argues against government assistance, direct or indirect.
Far more to do at Belmont - community, environmental review, etc. My guess is timetable here will be longer.— Randi Marshall (@randimarshall) August 29, 2017
The process for the Barclays Center took a lot longer, but that involved eminent domain, lawsuits challenging both eminent domain and the envi…

In the 35th District race, Atlantic Yards barely an issue. But it could be.

Just as Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park hasn't come up in the mayoral race, it plays a subdued, mostly absent role in the race for City Council in the 35th District, where the project is located.

Looking first at candidates' web site, I couldn't find mention of the project on the web site of Democratic challenger Ede Fox, taking on incumbent Laurie Cumbo one-on-one after Cumbo, in 2013, won a multi-candidate Democratic primary.

Fox has been critical of Cumbo's Atlantic Yards stance in the one debate I saw, as I'll write up in a longer round-up of the race before the September 12 primary (and after another debate Sept. 6).

The bigger issue has been the Bedford-Union Armory, and Fox, in a candidate video statement, stated, "Look what's happening to our neighborhoods. Big developers are coming in, luxury towers are going up, and regular families are being squeezed out... I'll always stand up to deep-pocketed developers and big-money special interests."

I…

In mayoral campaign, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park isn't an issue. Affordable housing often aspirational.

In the 2013 mayoral election, Atlantic Yards was an issue. Remember how the lack of affordable housing was raised scornfully by Democratic candidates John Liu and Tom Allon, or how leading candidates Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, and Bill Thompson were slippery when asked about the project.

Or how Republican Joe Lhota, pursuing accountability, slammed Democratic nominee de Blasio, including in a press conference, for failing to get the affordable housing, failing to fulfill his promise to ensure the Community Benefits Agreement was enforced--and for taking campaign contributions from developer Bruce Ratner. (Of course, Lhota's record, including on Madison Square Garden subsidies, was not so pure.)
In two mayoral debates, Atlantic Yards had a significant cameo, with Lhota repeating his charges, and de Blasio responding vaguely, stating, "I am proud of the fact that that development, when it is done, will yield thousands of units of affordable housing for the people of Brookl…

Will Brooklyn's new supertall be "authentic" and help affordability? It's a trophy.

So, on 8/25/17, The Bridge brought us Brooklyn’s First Supertall Skyscraper Begins to Rise, subtitled, "The tower underway at 9 DeKalb will dominate the downtown skyline. Is the borough ready for its 'badass' aesthetic?"

That's a rather limited scope for a question, but not unsurprising given the generally boosterish tone of the article. The thin tower by JDS adjacent to Junior's and the Dime Savings Bank at Flatbush Avenue will rise 1,066 feet, more than double the height of the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank, which is no longer even the borough's tallest.

It would be far slimmer than the existing 600+ feet residential buildings, or the giant two-tower project proposed at 80 Flatbush , near BAM, rising up to 920 feet, or the floated--though not officially proposed--two-tower complex plan for Site 5 of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. From Emily Nonko:
So far, the tall, skinny towers designed by well-known New York architects, filled with condo apartmen…

Behind the green wall, photo shows no action + no "park" around 550 Vanderbilt

The photo below, sent by a reader recently, suggests there's nothing going on behind the green wall encroaching on Dean Street at the southeast block of the project, despite claims it was necessary to protect against the impact of construction.

There are fewer workers' cars parked, though, and that seemed to be the main usage when I examined in in June. As of June, state officials said they'd wait six months--anticipating a possible construction launch--to decide whether to move it.

And there's no park around 550 Vanderbilt, despite the hype. (There's is a small amount of interim open space coming.) That's why they've needed virtual reality to project it, despite a broker saying "Green space surrounds these buildings."

From the latest Construction Update: virtually nothing new happening these next two weeks

According to the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning August 28, there's no new work coming in this period, compared to the previous period.

That said, a close look suggests one minor change at B11 (550 Vanderbilt). The document states "Work on west façade on-going," though that was not in the previous update. Also, the ongoing green space work, last week described as the "Open Space courtyard"--is now simply "Ongoing open space work."

The latest update was circulated Friday at 11:25 am by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. That was more lead time than most Updates, which have typically come after the work has commenced.

Saturday and after-hours work

Saturday work could occur at B14 (535 Carlton), where open space work is ongoing, as well as B12 (615 Dean). Then again, pretty much nothing has been happening at B12. No weekend work is predicted …

Will Prokhorov sell more than a slice of the Nets? Only hearsay, for now.

I missed this when the New York Post published it 7/26/17, Prokhorov may be open to idea of selling controlling stake in the Nets (which came just after owner Mikhail Prokhorov got approval to sell the Nets without selling the right to operate the Barclays Center):
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, while focused on selling a minority stake in the franchise, has warmed recently to the possibility of offering a controlling slice of the team, sources close to the situation said.
The change of heart comes after the initial reaction to the minority stake sale was weak — and with interest in the Houston Rockets sale heating up, one source said.
The Nets believe some of the suitors who look at the Rockets will also take an interest in them, sources said.
“As word gets out about the new Nets process, some of the Rockets interest may spill over,” a source said. Well, such sources can be self-serving, and the Nets' biggest attraction to China--point guard Jeremy Lin--could always be injur…

Atlantic Yards down the memory hole: new book on de Blasio summarizes, mangles affordable housing deal

Atlantic Yards down the memory hole, yet again. (Here was the previous example.)

In an online version of an article coming Sunday, New York Times columnist Sam Roberts describes two new books about Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling them "insightful if slightly premature reckonings": Each author cogently places Mr. de Blasio in context, if from slightly different perspectives (as suggested by their titles): “Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities” by Juan González; and “The Pragmatist: Bill de Blasio’s Quest to Save the Soul of New York” by Joseph P. Viteritti. I'll focus for now on The Pragmatist, the one book that's been officially published, and thus scannable, described by Roberts:
Mr. Viteritti, a professor of public policy at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York, is more circumspect in exploring whether a mayor who values a transcendent agenda over a transactional one has managed to balance progressi…

According to ANHD chart, Brooklyn CB 3 faces far more displacement risks than three other CBs in Atlantic Yards preference area

In May, Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) and New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, the Chair of the Housing Committee, jointly released the latest edition of ANHD’s annual data graphic, 2017 How is Affordable Housing Threatened in Your Neighborhood?

I've truncated it and annotated it below to focus on the four Community Districts where, at least for now, community preferences gives residents a boost in the affordable housing lottery, given that 50% of the below-market units are set aside for those residents.


If you clock to enlarge and look at the far right column, you'll see that, of the four districts, only Brooklyn Community Board 3, Bedford-Stuyvesant, has its risks totaled in red, which indicates the most risks, with a total score of 21.

Community Board 8, which is the northern half of Crown Heights plus Prospect Heights, is in pink, with a total score of 12. By contrast, CB 2 (Brooklyn Heights/Fort Greene) and CB 6 (Park Slope/Carroll…

If Parm's coming to Barclays, that suggests the 40/40 Club isn't doing so well

From Eater yesterday, Massive Parm Will Land in Barclays Center This Fall
Perhaps there’s a reason why the Williamsburg Parm hadn’t reopened after all. On the heels of the official closing, Major Food Group has big Brooklyn news: The restaurant group has joined forces with Barclays Center to open a 200-plus-seat Parm in some of the space that had been The 40/40 Club co-owned by Jay-Z.
The new Parm — located on Suite Level A, up one level from the main entrance — will debut in October in time for the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders season. It’s the only full-service, sit-down spot inside the arena and is open to all ticket holders. While The 40/40 Club as Barclays regulars may know will be different in that it’s a smaller bar adjacent to Parm that will keep the name. While this may well be a coup for Parm, it also suggests that the 40/40 Club--now called
THE 40/40 CLUB & RESTAURANT BY TANDUAY RUM--may not be doing as well as hoped.
The current description: Visit the 40/40 CLUB …

"The voodoo of the Barclays Center": transformation on Atlantic and Nostrand avenues (plus other factors)

In the recent edition of the promotional supplement Brooklyn Tomorrow, Community News Group offered "Atlantic overtures," subtitled, "Buildings from Bklyn Heights to Bed-Stuy are changing the face of the avenue."

From the article:
Two residential buildings at 927 and 1007 Atlantic Ave. in Clinton Hill, where auto repair shops still line the thoroughfare, are under construction and will add another 63 rentals to the neighborhood when finished — a sign of transformations to come, according to locals.
“You’ve got a lot buildings going up since Ratner started Barclays,” said Glen Johnson, who works at Ultimate Auto Repair and Sales, a body shop at 858 Atlantic. “Eventually all these auto shops and dealerships, they’re going to go out of business.” Those sites are between St. James Place and Grand Avenue, and between Grand Avenue and Classon Avenue. (The latter has 20% affordable units.)

Indeed, the auto shops are not long for this area, as has long been predicted. The…

Barclays Center's fifth anniversary gala suggests a circle of awardees

Well, how about that. The arena's loyal partner Billboard reports, in yesterday's Shining a Light on Brooklyn' Gala: Brooklyn's Barclays Center will celebrate its fifth anniversary with the inaugural "Shining a Light on Brooklyn" gala at the historic Liberty Warehouse on Red Hook's Pier 41 on Oct. 12. Proceeds from the event -- which will feature a performance by Leon Bridges and an after-party DJ set by Chromeo -- will benefit the venue's Barclays Center Cares foundation, which supports community programs for children and families through its work with more than 300 schools, food pantries, homeless shelters, health facilities and nonprofits. It's curious that they'll have the event in Red Hook, not at the arena. (Less expensive to keep a smaller venue open late?)

A circle of awardees

But it's even more notable how... circular the event is. Note those being honored, at the official page:
SCOOTER BRAUN
FOUNDER / SB PROJECTS He's on the …

Times hypes 550 Vanderbilt green space, ignores adjacent "raw industrial site"

Ah, the (spoon-fed real-estate) press just can'tget enough of the garden at 550 Vanderbilt. See Hippie Amenities With a High-End Twist, from tomorrow's New York Times Real Estate section, posted yesterday:
Just as Birkenstocks and bee pollen have come back in style, so have crunchy lifestyle concepts, from yoga and meditation to composting and home fermentation. And with veganism, Waldorf schools, doulas and healing crystals shifting from far out to very much in fashion, a growing number of New York luxury buildings have embraced the hallmarks of 1970s hippiedom with a high-end twist. Look for amenities like rooftop gardens, kitchen composters, art and meditation studios, bike shares, infrared saunas, even an adult treehouse.
“Especially in Brooklyn, the concrete jungle is not the atmosphere people are aiming for,” said Ashley Cotton, an executive vice president of Forest City New York, whose recently opened condo in Prospect Heights, 550 Vanderbilt, developed in partnership w…

Next Quality of Life (aka update) meeting rescheduled for Sept. 19

It's not uncommon for the schedule of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park-related meetings to change, and once a previous one has been postponed, the rest get pushed back. And that's exactly what happened.

A message from Empire State Development: the next Quality of Life Meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 19 instead of the previously scheduled September 6 date. This is an opportunity to raise questions about project operations and progress. Sometimes new information emerges.
Atlantic Yards / Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6 pm
Shirley Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217

No RSVP is required, but people can send project-related questions, concerns, or suggested agenda items for the Quality of Life meeting to atlanticyards@esd.ny.gov.

From ESD: "Pacific Park is Brooklyn’s newest neighborhood" (oh)

When the lottery for units at the "100% affordable" 535 Carlton opened a year ago, a lot of people were encouraging applications.

So I guess it shouldn't have been surprising that Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards, alerted people to an upcoming information session.

But I was surprised to see the state reproduce the web page from developer Greenland Forest City Partners, including such nonsense as "Pacific Park is Brooklyn’s newest neighborhood." So I copied it.

Welcome to 535 Carlton, Brooklyn’s Latest Affordable Rentals - ESD Message by AYReport on Scribd



Atlantic Yards down the memory hole: a brief summary in a new book on gentrification

A few recent books I've been reading--including Neil deMause's The Brooklyn Wars: The Stories Behind the Remaking of New York's Most Celebrated Borough and Kay Hymowitz's The New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring a City Back--say interesting (and contradictory) things about Brooklyn, and deserve a longer assessment, along with a third book, Peter Moskowitz's How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood.

Moskowitz's overall arguments are worth engaging, but for now I'd like to address one specific paragraph regarding Atlantic Yards. (deMause's book more extensively addresses Atlantic Yards, if inevitably tilted to the early part of the controversy, while Hymowitz's book goes elsewhere.)

Moskowitz's brief focus on Atlantic Yards is another example of how (inevitably?) complex things get boiled down awkwardly or incorrectly for future consumption. I've seen this in other books, as well. It's unfortunate…

Two books and some advice on "being a better gentrifier"

In an interview headlined Toward Being a Better Gentrifier, CityLab's Brentin Mock interviewed the (out of NYC) academics (two white, one black) who wrote the new book Gentrifier about their experiences. And the interview complicates some easy bromides.

"The problem isn't gentrification: It's that my neighbors are getting locked up, or they are being over-policed, or there aren't any schools, or there’s lead poisoning in the neighborhood, or there aren’t any long-term rentals anymore," says Jason Patch. Those are things to organize about. (Or, I'd suggest, any social action that leads to solidarity and more civic and communal resources.)

"Evictions can happen due to disinvestment in a neighborhood, and [they can also] happen because of over-investment," says John Joe Schlichtman. " Eviction happens because of disconnection from the rest of the city and a neighborhood’s reconnection to the rest of the city. Militarized policing can happen du…

Given lack of walkable land in NY region, a new push for greater density outside NYC

In an April interview, New York magazine critic (and author) Justin Davidson, asked about New York City's future, responded:
The immediate question is how it can cope with an affordability crisis. I wish I knew the answer, but I emphatically don't. I think that the solutions to the question are largely out of local control. I think we're talking about large-scale economic mechanisms and national, international policy. And, perhaps, regional policy, a focus of the Regional Plan Association and other planners. The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: New York, released recently by the George Washington University School of Business's Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis in partnership with Smart Growth America, recently pointed out that "just 2.4% of the total regional land mass in New York is considered 'walkable urban.'" The full report is embedded at bottom.

And that scarce land is far more valuable than the suburbs. According to the announcement:
Despite the…

From the latest Construction Update: median restoration on Atlantic Avenue opposite arena could begin Tuesday

According to the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning August 14, median restoration work on Atlantic Avenue between Fort Greene Place and Sixth Avenue will likely begin during this week.

That's one block, bordering the Barclays Center and also the perimeter of the Atlantic Center mall (but not the Atlantic Terminal mall).

The MPT (maintenance and protection of traffic) will be shifted, according to approved plans (presumably by the Department of Transportation), starting on or about Tuesday 8/15/17 ,to accommodate the median restoration work. However, the traffic flow will still contain three westbound and two eastbound lanes. The time frame to complete the work was not stated.

Also, relocation of the Vanderbilt Yard site access ramp on Pacific Street will begin during this reporting period. Contractor and LIRR access to the site will be via the LIRR Entrance on Atlantic Avenue.

The update was circulated Friday at 10:18 …

Which Brooklyn are we talking of? At least four.

We all hear about "Brooklyn the brand," or casual references to "Brooklyn" in popular culture. Remember, marketing for 550 Vanderbilt claims "Everything you love about Brooklyn."

But that "Brooklyn" is only a piece of the larger borough.

A new effort to reframe how we think about the borough--all the boroughs--comes from the urban-focused artificial intelligence studio Topos, in this Medium post (and described in FastCoDesign):
With the exception of Queens/Brooklyn, all boroughs are separated from one another by water. The implications and limitations of this physical partitioning of land have changed considerably since the initial formation of the boroughs. New York City is now connected by over 2000 bridges and tunnels, the vast majority of which were built after 1898.
...Furthermore, we were interested in going beyond more familiar demographic viewpoints to capture the personality of a place, and what it feels like to actually be there. In a s…