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July 17, 2006

Celebrity War Over Ratner in Brooklyn

Power Plays, The Village Voice political blog
By Neil DeMause

The Brooklyn celebrity war has been joined. Bruce Ratner, the would-be bringer of the Nets to Brooklyn and builder of Manhattan-style apartment towers on Atlantic Avenue, got the jump in 2003, when he hauled up Jay-Z to make an awkward speech the day Ratner unveiled his project. Yesterday, it was the opposition's turn, as the group Develop Don't Destroy rallied at Grand Army Plaza behind the likes of Steve Buscemi and Rosie Perez, plus the star attraction, the Clapton of kid-rock, Dan Zanes, whose name merited its own extra-large type size on the promo posters.

Ratner-VVPP.jpg

All of which sounds silly--should someone's opinion about urban development count more just because he once saved the earth from a big rock?--except that as the ur-nebbishy Ratner (pictured) knew in sending his hip-hop investor before the cameras, when you're engaged in a media battle, glitz matters. If nothing else, the Park Sloperati command a bigger audience, whether it's local music hero Toshi Reagon plugging the rally from the Prospect Park bandshell last week, or Jonathan Lethem getting a soapbox at Slate for his open letter to project architect Frank Gehry--himself hired by Ratner in part for his own glitz value.

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Posted by lumi at July 17, 2006 10:27 PM