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June 8, 2008

Bruce Ratner's Brooklyn Day a dud


NY Daily News
Michael O'Keeffe

Bruce Ratner's Brooklyn Day was billed as a celebration, but Thursday's pep rally to whip up support for the Nets owner's controversial Atlantic Yards project seemed more like a goal-line stand than a party.

The speakers at the rally sounded like Hillary Clinton in the waning weeks of her failed presidential campaign: angry and frustrated, stunned at the prospect of defeat when they once expected a slam dunk.
The quality of the crowd at Columbus Park was easier to gauge than the quantity; nobody, it seemed, had come to Brooklyn Day because they believed Atlantic Yards was crucial to New York's future. The youth basketball groups came because Ratner has sponsored their tournaments. The workers from Borough Hall and the nearby courthouses came for the free sandwiches Forest City Ratner passed out. The kids - was it coincidence or conspiracy that Ratner scheduled the event on a day public schools were closed - came for the free key chains and autographs of former Nets who retired from the NBA long before they were even born. The unions came because Ratner has promised to hire organized labor.

"I gave up my lunch break for a free hot dog and to support my union," one suspiciously red-eyed construction worker said.

"Got any weed?" his buddy asked.

NoLandGrab: Perhaps if they had advertised magic brownies they could have attracted a larger, if not more energetic crowd.

Atlantic Yards Report was happy a print reporter actually showed up:

New York Daily News sports columnist Michael O'Keeffe was in the audience at Borough Hall on Thursday and--like any sports reporter trained to tell the story of the game in front of him, not the press release--told it like it was.
I've been suggesting for nearly two years that columnists should cover Atlantic Yards. That means actually showing up.

Posted by amy at June 8, 2008 11:41 AM