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July 16, 2009

It came from the Blogosphere...

The Architect's Newspaper Blog, The Rumble in Aspen

Matt Chaban picks up on the story of Frank Gehry's great-and-powerful-Oz dismissal of a serious and legitimate question from Project for Public Spaces' Fred Kent.

How we found out about this was through the all-things-Ratner-Gehry-and-Times-related Atlantic Yards Report. Never one not to parse everything related to the above three–and our hats off to him for doing so–Norman Oder discovered the one contentious conversation of the otherwise lovely affair, when Gehry called no less eminent urban thinker Fred Kent of the Project for Public Spaces “a pompous man.” Wow.

NoLandGrab: Gehry, who claims urban planning bona fides, should've known who Fred Kent was; if he truly didn't, that tells one pretty much all one needs to know about the legitimacy of those bona fides.

Noticing New York, The Jane Jacobs Way for Coney Island

Atlantic Yards merits a couple of mentions in this piece about Jane Jacobs, Coney Island, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and "Bloombergian" development.

The city picked Monday to dedicate and rename a portion of Hudson Street where she lived “Jane Jacobs Way.” This produced the odd spectacle of politicians, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn praising community activists and protestors who fight what used to be thought of as Robert Moses-style development, development that is oblivious to communities, their input and their wisdom about their own neighborhoods. These days that style of development is more apt to be thought of as Bloombergian. The event also produced protesters, mainly “an army Janes,” protesters who were dressed up as Jane Jacobs and asking that the city plan for Coney Island be fixed. We were one of that group; we wore Jane Jacobs glasses but not a wig.

Our Streets — Our Stories (Dean Street Block Association), Meeting Monday, July 20th at 7:30

Important Meeting:

Learn what you can do for the upcoming public hearings on Atlantic Yards

When: Monday, July 20th at 7:30-9:00

Where: 535 Dean Street #313 (Newswalk)

Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, Breakfast-of-Candidates: Comptroller Bill C. Thompson (Running for Mayor)

Louise Crawford interviews Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.

Atlantic Yards?

" I did initially support it. I have real concerns now. I will continue to re-evaluate it, meet with individuals, have a conversation. I plan to sit down to talk and evaluate," he said.

My reaction: You lived in Prospect Heights and initially supported the Atlantic Yards???? Yikes. And why aren't you more outraged now? Many Brooklyn Democrats are.

Atlantic Yards Report, Mayoral candidate Thompson tepid on Atlantic Yards: "I plan to sit down to talk and evaluate"

My reaction: Thompson has had ample time to evaluate. In May 2008, he was pretty vague about AY.

For example, Thompson is supposed to be a watchdog over city funds, and it was Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) appointees of Mayor Mike Bloomberg who led the defense of the MTA's sweetheart deal last month with Forest City Ratner. Thompson said nothing.

Expect long-shot candidates Democrat Tony Avella and the Green Party's Reverend Billy Talen to make a lot more noise about AY.

mole333's blog (The Daily Gotham), Ratner Puts a Downpayment on Brad Lander

Blogger David Michaelson's post about a contribution from Forest City Ratner's Richard Greenspan (he's Chuck Ratner's son-in-law and a Park Slope resident) to City Council candidate Brad Lander was met with criticism from a number of parts, since the contribution was quickly returned. But Michaelson believes people are missing the point, as he explains in this update to the original post:

To those who point out that he is returning this money. That is all well and good. But my point isn't really altered by that, though maybe I wasn't clear. In fact as you go through his filings, many, many developers donate. Some gets returned (the most blatant ones). But Greenspan, as well as many others, are seeing Brad as their candidate to buy...and that has to raise a red flag to people. Greenspan and the Ratners must see Brad as on their side the same way Vito is clearly on their side.

NLG: Actually, the money was returned the day it was received, about a year ago, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board web site.

Hildy Johnson's Blog (Room Eight), Forest City Lander

The pseudonymous "Hildy Johnson" jumps on the bandwagon.

In fairness, I should note that Lander returned this money.

But the point isn’t that Lander took the money. The point is that they were so eager to give it to him. Greenspan and the Ratners see Lander is on their side.

And they didn’t get rich by being stupid.

NLG: Actually, "fairness" would probably be something else entirely. While we'd prefer that Mr. Lander were an outright opponent of Atlantic Yards rather than just a critic, and we expect to endorse one of his rivals, we don't believe mole333 and "Hildy Johnson" are being entirely fair.

the transport politic, Regional Rail for New York City – Part I

Atlantic Yards gets a mention (they mean the Vanderbilt Yard) in this interesting piece about improving the New York-area rail system.

An extra stop at Sunnyside could come with air rights over the adjacent Sunnyside Yards, which one hopes the MTA would sell more competently than it has Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn.

Posted by eric at July 16, 2009 9:45 AM