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March 7, 2007

SCORE ONE FOR GOOD GUYS

B'KLYN ARENA FINALLY RISING AMID THE RUIN

NY Post

Some columnists use facts, some rely upon their tremendous intellect, and others bring you Bruce Ratner!

BruceRatner-NYP0703.jpgColumnist Andrea Peyser might be as shrill as a "freakin'" blogger, but today she has the inside scoop on what it's like to pal around with the Brucester:

Three long and frustrating years have passed since I walked with developer Bruce Ratner along Brooklyn's horrendously blighted Atlantic Yards...

NoLandGrab: Um Andrea, "Atlantic Yards" is currently a blueprint with state approval — you were walking along Vanderbilt Yards and probably didn't even get around to visiting with some of the nice folks who still live in the footprint, whose homes hardly constitute "ruin."

Bruce Ratner is kind of creepy when he loads up the charm:

"I don't get angry much," he said with a sly smile. "But I've done my share of screaming. You get angry, you say things," he said, turning red.

NoLandGrab: We're pretty sure that Ratner's mad at us, furious at Norman Oder and goes ballistic when someone mentions Dan Goldstein.

Don't miss this prevarication (fancy word for "liar, liar, pants on fire"):

"We're going to have parks here!" he enthused.

The "park" is in fact privately owned, publicly accessible open space, which will be closed after 8PM during the basketball season.

"To some people, I'm the devil," he said.

Does being the eminent-domain-abuse poster boy make you "the devil?"

As we walked further, to a spot where ground has yet to be broken, we passed an enormous, dead rat. We saw a bunch of discarded bags sticking out of the snow, frighteningly marked "Biohazard." And, yes, one hypodermic syringe.

Today, Norman Oder asked, "who's responsible?" (link) and linked his article about how the MTA and City of NY have allowed the railyard and the adjacent sidewalk to fill up with garbage only to have the State of NY call it "blight!"

Peyser also offers this incredible story as told by the granddaddy himself:

There were moments over the last three years that it seemed Ratner might throw in the towel.

Like when The New York Times reported that the project would be badly delayed because Ratner had failed to file enough financial data with the state. His executive vice president, Bruce Bender, got the brunt of the boss' fury.

"I called him up at 6 a.m., screaming," said Ratner. "I made him call everyone in Albany to find out if the article was wrong." It was.

This financial data has yet to be released to the public and local politicians. It's not even clear if a full financial disclosure was EVER submitted to the MTA or the Empire State Development Corporation, because both public authorities have only released one and three pages respectively of financial gibberish.

Peyser's closing betrays how little she knows about her new pal Bruce:

Welcome to Brooklyn, Mr. Ratner. And good luck.

Mr. Ratner is already the largest private-property owner in Brooklyn. He owns the two malls across the street from the footprint of the Atlantic Yards plan and is the developer of Metrotech.

What Peyser doesn't know can't hurt her, but it's killing us.

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Posted by lumi at March 7, 2007 7:48 AM