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January 26, 2007

The British Are Coming!

Proposed Nets arena to be named after London-based bank

Brooklyn Downtown Star

Star editor Nik Kovac published a colorful piece on what went on last week, inside and outside the Brooklyn Museum, when "movers and shakers from every corner of Brooklyn and beyond" gathered to announce Bruce Ratner's Barclays Bank naming-rights deal.

Inside, where folks were chowing down on filet mignon:

Straight outta Crown Heights was Borough President Marty Markowitz, who gives a speech like Bishop Loughlin High School's own Mark Jackson used to hand out assists - often and well.

Jackson, the Fort Greene prep star and 1987 NBA rookie of the year, who now broadcasts games for the New Jersey Nets, emceed the event, which featured the NBA's current assist king and 1995 rookie of the year, Jason Kidd, and the most famous emcee ever to be raised in the Marcy Projects - Jay-Z, aka Shawn Carter, the rapper from Bed-Stuy who now owns a piece of just about everything, including those Nets, a team hoping to move into the "Barclays Center" arena in less than three years.

Massachusetts's own New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was there, too, no doubt, and was quick to proclaim everything about the big proposed real estate and subsequent branding agreement to be a good thing.
Later, in response to some pointed media questions about several lawsuits challenging the 22-acre, 16-skycraper development which would include the Barclays Center, Hizzoner scolded: "Oh no, this is something that's going to get done. We don't have a future if this doesn't get done. Everybody's rallying around it. Go out on the street and just look at the faces on the kids."

Outside, "the faces on the kids" were less than cheerful:

In fact, out on the closest street to the gourmet meal - Eastern Parkway - was a phalanx of police officers holding back several sign-wielding protesters, one of whom was the most famous plaintiff in those asked-about lawsuits, Prospect Heights condo owner Daniel Goldstein.

"This is a financial deal between two wealthy corporations," observed the Brooklyn resident. "Why is it being celebrated in the Brooklyn Museum like it's some kind of civic announcement?"

Check out the rest of the article for the pointed questions from a BBC reporter, who tried to understand the marketing significance of the deal, and for Mark Jackson's parting observation.

Posted by lumi at January 26, 2007 8:30 AM