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July 7, 2008

"Song of Brooklyn" a flawed oral history, ends with... AY

Atlantic Yards Report

No joke, Bruce Ratner gets nearly the last word in Marc Eliot’s "Song of Brooklyn." Norman Oder is critical of the "oral history" of Brooklyn's reliance on printed (not oral) material, and put off when misty-eyed nostalgia is favored over a truer examination of Brooklyn's diversity.

SongofBrooklyn.jpg

Then we get to... Atlantic Yards, and a mangled analysis of tax revenue and timeline. We get secondhand quotes from Markowitz, from Daniel Goldstein (called "Goldman" in the book) of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), from DDDB supporter actress Rosie Perez, and New York magazine writer Chris Smith, from his August 2006 feature article.

A New York Observer article by Mark Lotto offers another quote--again, not really oral history--about how every generation bitches about the one that came next. And the final quote comes from Bruce Ratner; it appeared originally in the first edition of the egregious Brooklyn Tomorrow:

“We are fortunate that we have the resources and the vision to leave behind a city that is greater than the one we inherited... Brooklyn, in many ways, is a model for the change our city is experiencing. Twenty years ago, when Forest City Ratner opened in the downtown area, we were called foolish. Many thought the area, long in disarray, could not be developed and would not attract jobs. Today Brooklyn is celebrated as a world-class destination, the home to diversity in all of its glory, with great food, parks and cultural attractions. We are proud to be part of both our borough’s past and its future."

I strongly doubt Bruce Ratner ever spoke those words aloud.

Eliot’s conclusion: “And that may be the prevailing sentiment.”

A reader has to wonder how he reached that conclusion: Did he toss a coin?

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Posted by lumi at July 7, 2008 4:28 AM