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

On New York YIMBY, photos of B4/B15 construction progress, without recognition that a pause is coming

So, is New York YIMBY journalism or pro-development public relations?

It's a mixture of both--but it's enough "journalism" to show up in Google News results.

(Its self-description: "New York YIMBY says 'Yes In My Backyard' to new development in the Five Boroughs, and covers the region’s evolving architecture, construction, and real estate from a pro-growth perspective.")

But when they simply ignore reality, well, ideology (and advertising?) apparently trump all.

Pumping Pacific Park

A staffer--no later than last week, I'll bet--took photos of the two Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers rising, for a couple of upbeat updates:37 Sixth Avenue’s Superstructure Begins Ascent In Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, published 4/1/20 and 18 Sixth Avenue’s Podium Floors Rise Behind Barclays Center In Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, published 4/2/20.

Such updates have their incremental value, but I had already reported on 3/31/20 that work at the sites was winding down, and had it officially confirmed the next day, before the second YIMBY article appeared.

Ignoring reality

And I posted a comment on the first YIMBY article shortly after it was published. That comment was not published.

However, they did publish comments both asking whether the sites were included in the state construction moratorium and saying they were exempted--and responses from YIMBY founder Nikolai Fedak defending their practices:
We update on sites with a 3-month + gap in between so no matter any pause, the updates are still relevant. Also, we are continuing as normal because all other news has turned into 24/7 apocalypse coverage, and I believe YIMBY has a duty to convey a sense of normalcy amidst the panic / etc.
And as Jim points out, many of the sites we are reporting on are still continuing as normal. If you want to read doom and gloom all day long please go somewhere else!
And also, after a comment pointing out that the relatively small amount of affordable housing was a loophole allowing a building to be designated as "essential construction," Fedak responded:
Most journalists and electeds are selfish human beings whose only interest is in inflicting as much economic pain and panic to as many people as possible for their own personal gain.

It's complicated

As I reported, it's actually complicated, because construction at those sites was not required to stop, but the developer and associated parties decided to suspend it.

YIMBY should've checked, and maybe even tried to assess the implications, as I did. They didn't.


  1. For me the whole argument about percentage of affordable housing being a possible determinant for essential v non-essential never made sense. There are 100% affordable projects that deliver a small number of units and large 30/70 or 20/80 projects that deliver a relatively larger number of affordable units. If what makes something "essential" is the fact that it will deliver affordable housing, absolute numbers rather than percentage breakdowns would seem to be a better measure. I would guess that in absolute terms of number of affordable units, these are probably some of the larger projects in the city. (This is in no way attempting to say whether or not they should have continued or paused work - personal opinion is that taking a pause is probably a good (health) idea for the workers on those sites and their families.)

    1. Not an unreasonable point... Then again, the larger the project, the more workers overall, and that should presumably be balanced against both 1) the raw numbers of affordable units and 2) the number of workers involved.

      Perhaps there's a ratio: number of overall workers per affordable unit created.

      If--to speculate--10 workers are working to create 20 affordable units in a 100% affordable building, that's .5 workers/unit, but 60 workers to create 40 units in a 30% affordable building, that's 1.5 workers/unit. (Yes, I recognize that those more knowledgeable about construction might have better estimates.)

  2. I'll admit I know nothing about construction, but it seems to me that the determinant for number of workers is the size of the floor plate (like smaller floor plates seem to have less workers up there with the rebar and cement). But then we get to density of workers on that floor plate - so maybe it is always the same density of workers! Looks like we would need to become calculus teachers to work out the right formula! Pause is probably the easier (health) decision.


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