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April 9, 2007

Lexicon: "Pulling" vs. "Doing" a Ratner

"Pulling a Ratner" appeared in the headline of a column in this weekend's Brooklyn Paper by Matt Lysiak about a local battle over the fate of the building owned by Bay Ridge United Methodist Church.

ARatner.gifLysiak's obsession with Ratner is nothing compared to the hard-core addiction of the bevy of Atlantic Yards bloggers (ahem), but he goes for it again in an article about smuggling raw milk across state lines:

Turns out the process of smuggling contraband milk into Brooklyn is more complicated than the spider-web of tax-dollar subsidies channeled to Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project.

This weekend we stumbled across another reference to "Mr. Ratner" in a story about eminent domain in The NY Times:

And like Mr. Ratner, the library’s representatives have raised the possibility of using eminent domain...

We've noticed that while the Atlantic Yards controversy keeps simmering, the name Ratner is becoming synonymous with: * eminent domain abuse, * greedy overdevelopers, * public-private partnerships gone wild, * co-opting of "community" "benefits" agreements, * heavy-handed abuse of state power, and * sixties-style super-duper-block city "planning."

Before the emerging lexicon of "Ratner" gets out of hand, we must emphasize that "pulling a Ratner" should not be confused with "doing a Ratner."

According to Wikipedia:

Doing a Ratner is a British business phrase referring to a chief executive or a senior person of a company who criticises the company's products or disparages the customers, frequently with disastrous results for both the person and the company.

An example of "doing a Ratner" is Chuck Ratner's startling admission last month:

We’re very good at estimating markets, we’re very good at estimating rents, at estimating lease-ups, and estimating costs. We are terrible, and we’ve been a developer for 50 years, on these big multi-use, public private urban developments to be able to predict when it will go from idea to reality.

Chuck Ratner's "Ratner" resulted in a press release strenuously disavowing everything Chuck said that might explain why everyone is saying that Atlantic Yards will take decades to build, that is, everyone except for Bruce Ratner.

Posted by lumi at April 9, 2007 8:52 AM