« Opponents slam plan to build Atlantic Yards arena near busy intersection | Main | Officials redouble call for AY security study, warn that street closings would unleash a “tsunami” »

November 30, 2007

Atlantic Yards Security Issue Also About Trust

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Reporter Sarah Ryley provides some details from Forest City Ratner's campaign to convince reporters and the public that they have the security and terrorism angle all covered.

BruceWeTrust.gif However, for the public, without the benefit of a third-party analysis, it's also an issue of trust.

A spokesman for Forest City sent along an affidavit from its independent security consultant, Jeffrey Venter of Ducibella Venter & Santore, briefly describing 3,300 hours of work on a security plan for the project, including five meetings with the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau. Aside from that, it’s been said that the company began considering security issues as early as 2003, and continues to do so today. In contrast, the Newark arena apparently underwent little-to-no security review, given that police decided to shut down streets only two weeks before it was scheduled to open. Since security is found not just in distance from the street, but also in structure, that leads one to wonder what other vulnerabilities afflict the Newark arena.

NYPD spokesman John Kelly said, “The department has met numerous times with the builders, who have been very cooperative and have done everything we have asked.” He also said the department doesn’t foresee any street or land closures, sidewalk widening around the arena or the instillation of bollards. And Bruce Bender of Forest City was more pointed in his response, in a prepared statement: “We do not play around with public safety and neither should politicians who have no experience or background in security issues. Our security plan has been vetted and approved by the NYPD and the best anti-terrorism experts in the city. At some point, a base level of common sense needs to be followed and those people who do not have any security experience need to let the NYPD and the security experts do their jobs.”
“Part of our distrust is based upon our four years of experience with this project,” said [NYC Councilwoman] James. “They’ve misrepresented the truth, [the project has been] shrouded in secrecy, and there’s been a lot of misinformation. My distrust is based on my frame of reference.” For those who haven’t been following the project for the past four years, the battles have been ugly, to an epic scale (in the urban planning world, at least, no fatalities so far). And James is accurate that Ratner and the state Development Corporation have not exactly been forthcoming about many details regarding the project, including the amount of taxpayer money that would be used.


Posted by lumi at November 30, 2007 6:52 AM