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August 25, 2006

Marty tweaks his tack?

The NY Times, A Little Change of Tune From Atlantic Yards’ Biggest Fan

To hear Mr. Markowitz tell it, the Atlantic Yards, comprising high-rise housing, a sports arena and retail space, is Junior’s Cheesecake, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, a bag of chips and then some. He has always acknowledged that it might need a little fine-tuning, but he has saved his exclamation points for words of praise. At a news conference on Wednesday, for example, he said, “Brooklyn is a world-class city, and we deserve the Atlantic Yards!”

But a few hours later, at a public hearing on the 22-acre project’s environmental impact, Mr. Markowitz shouted a slightly different tune.

For the first time, he urged that the project’s centerpiece, a tower dubbed Miss Brooklyn, rise no higher than the nearby Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, the clock-faced icon that has defined Brooklyn’s skyline since 1929. “The Williamsburgh Savings Bank should remain Brooklyn’s tallest building!” he thundered.

Two views on Marty's move:

Assemblyman Roger Green, who has called for the project to be downsized, said of Mr. Markowitz, “In the context of negotiating with Ratner and the state, I think he’s calibrating his remarks to get to a compromise.”

Eric McClure, a co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors, a civic group, said the operative verb to describe Mr. Markowitz’s remarks was “grandstanding” rather than “calibrating.”

Mr. Markowitz, Mr. McClure said, was reaching for some political cover so that he could say he stood up to the developers, an assertion that might be useful if he runs for higher office when his term expires in 2009.


The 620-foot-high "Miss Brooklyn" tower planned for the gateway to Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project might not wind up being the borough's tallest building after all.

Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said yesterday the developer would consider suggestions by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz during a contentious public hearing Wednesday, including that the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank building in Fort Greene remain the borough's biggest building.

Anonymous commentary on Brownstoner has another less politic take on Marty's tweaked position:

We are being played like the proverbial stradivarius. This is classic "foot in the door" sales technique - make a ridiculous, inflamatory statement to get in the door and then any compromise from that level makes it look as though you have made a major concession. It's no coincidence that Marty makes this statement in the most publicised forum on this topic.

Posted by lumi at August 25, 2006 9:52 AM