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February 21, 2010

Sunday AY Report: Another Look at Jane Jacobs, Jay-Z In Shady Deals, Woods Snows Zimbalist

In the Times today, another round on Jane Jacobs and gentrification; did she prefer preservation or ways to foster thriving cities?

Yesterday's article/Sharon Zukin book promotion in the New York Times "A Contrarian’s Lament in a Blitz of Gentrification" contained a misreading of the proposed Atlantic Yards Project.

Now, Norman Oder notes how some are trying to lay blame for the gentrification of New York at the feet of Jane Jacobs. He finds that critics' thinking of Jacobs as being naive is misplaced.

You are urged to read the entire post, as this discussion of Jane Jacobs is worth the time of anytime interested in urban issues. One aspect of the Atlantic Yards fight is raised in discussing "authenticy" as a neighborhood quality.

Zukin suggests there's a role for "authenticity," a topic that pervades the book and deserves a longer discussion than I can muster at this point:

Authenticity must be used to reshape the rights of ownership. Claiming authenticity can suggest a right to the city, a human right, that is cultivated by longtime residence, use, and habit,. Just as icons... derive their meaning from the rituals in which they are embedded, so do neighborhoods, buildings, and streets.

Maybe, but authenticity has been used on both sides of the Atlantic Yards fight. Proponents have claimed they deserve a piece of the pie after all their years in Brooklyn. Opponents can argue that they helped create the situation where it became cost-effective to finally build over the Vanderbilt Yard.

In the Aqueduct video casino deal, a role for Jay-Z

The parallels aren't direct, of course, but isn't it curious that entertainer and entrepreneur Jay-Z, a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets (whose prominence in news coverage far exceeds his tiny stake), is also reported (by the Post) to have a piece of the controversial Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) deal for a video casino in Queens?

And isn't it curious that the Post, which has played up the role of consultant Darryl Greene (convicted of mail fraud) in the deal--now he's out--hasn't pointed out that Greene and Jay-Z are also part of the Atlantic Yards project?

On Tiger Woods, columnist Lupica offers skepticism; sports economist Zimbalist sees candor

New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica on golf star Tiger Woods's tightly scripted apology:

There is no way of knowing how much of this was real and honest from Tiger Woods because there never is with celebrities in trouble, who will say anything, tell any lie, to get themselves out of trouble.

Sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, in the Boston Herald:

“It sounded completely genuine to me,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College. “The content was open and candid. He said all the right things.

Hm, let's see: should we trust Lupica or Zimbalist in analysis of jobs and housing planned for Atlantic Yards?

Posted by steve at February 21, 2010 8:45 AM