« Millman to MTA: Hearings a “Sham”; Restore Agent at High Street | Main | Atlantic Yards Demo 7/14-16/2010 »

July 17, 2010

Atlantic Yards Report Saturday Morning Trio

Atlantic Yards Report

Photos of demolitions on Dean Street, and a curious instance of preservation; what next?

Here's a set of photos, via Raulistic (aka Raul Rothblatt), of demolition on Dean Street from Wednesday through Friday.

And, with some annotation added by Brownstoner, note how a handsome old door disappeared, perhaps to be re-sold or to grace some demolition worker's own project. That must not have been completely kosher, because the door was temporarily replaced with an out-of-context substitute.

Check out this blog entry to see that the pictures don't lie.

Markowitz's summer concert strategy/legacy gets gentle treatment in the Times; what about FCR sponsorships and disproportionate capital spending

In an article yesterday headlined Bringing Fun to Brooklyn, a New York Times music reporter offered rather gentle treatment of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's signature public accomplishment:

MARTY MARKOWITZ’S duties as the Brooklyn borough president include appointing community board members and overseeing a budget for capital projects. But one morning this week his platform was all about fun, which he advocated with all the vigor of a contested campaign issue.

“People have a right to have fun in this city,” Mr. Markowitz said in an interview in his office, his voice rising to a level of bombast well known to his constituents. “What are we going to do, become puritans? As long as we’re not inconveniencing in any dramatic way, we have to stay fun here.”

The Times goes on to encapsulate the history of Markowitz' summer concerts, but Norman Oder points out there's more than mere "fun" going on.

That skates over that fact that corporate and foundation contributions, such as from Forest City Ratner and its foundation, mean Markowitz might be indebted to big developers like Forest City Ratner. Also, as the New York Post has pointed out, Markowitz's separate charity, Best of Brooklyn, has a record of issuing no-bid contracts.

Also covered is the plan by Markowitz to stick a neighborhood with an amphitheater, whether it wants it or not.

But not everyone in Brooklyn is a fan of the concerts, or of Mr. Markowitz’s plan for their future. At Asser Levy Park, where the series was to open on Thursday night with a concert by Neil Sedaka and Brenda Lee, Mr. Markowitz’s proposal for a sleek $64 million amphitheater has drawn community opposition.

...

Mr. Markowitz, 65, said the amphitheater plan — designed by the international firm Grimshaw Architects — would also fix the park’s chronic drainage problems and is a necessary improvement. Most of its cost, he said, has already been allocated through the capital budget that Mr. Markowitz controls.

...

Most of its cost has already been allocated? As I reported in May 2009, some $24.6 million, more than a third of Markowitz's capital budget last year, was directed to the $64 million amphitheater.

In other words, despite the lead of the article, Markowitz's capital budget is about fun, and about his legacy.

By contrast, as City Hall reported, former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrión directed much of his capital money toward creating affordable housing.

On the LeBron James saga and a strategic, unsuccessful media leak by the Nets

It's just another day at Atlantic Yards: Dreams of greatness (Starchitect! Affordable Housing! Public Space!) followed by lowered expectations. Here is an inside look of how the Nets failed to get LeBron James on the Nets' roster.

Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports, offers a long recap of the LeBron James saga, headlined Inside look at LeBron’s free-agent coup.

As Wojnarowski tells it, after the 2008 Olympics, James always wanted to go to the Miami Heat, to be joined by fellow stars, but was at least intrigued by the meeting with the Nets:

The New Jersey Nets – with owner Mikhail Prokhorov and minority partner Jay-Z – were the first team to make a formal presentation to James at the offices of his LRMR marketing company in downtown Cleveland on July 1. This was the meeting that most intrigued James, because he had never been in the room with Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire and new Nets owner. This was a self-made global tycoon, different than the rest of the owners, and this surely intrigued James.

...

As it started to get back to Jay-Z that the Nets were trailing to the Heat and Bulls, a Nets official close to ownership – against the wishes of several peers – hatched a plan to leak the notes of a Prokhorov staff meeting to a media outlet. The leaked notes indicated that Prokhorov believed James’ brand would be diminished as part of a three-star team in Miami. What’s more, the notes also indicated what great respect Prokhorov had for Maverick Carter.

(Emphases added)

Prokhorov is self-made? I thought he made money, as 60 Minutes reported, "in a process that even Prokhorov's business partner admitted wasn't perfect, and probably not even legal under Western standards."

...

So, where did those notes go? Wojnarowski doesn't say, but the trail points to ESPN writer Chris Broussard, who wrote July 6, in the headline Prokhorov sounds off to inner circle:

In this historic summer of NBA uncertainty, one thing is clear to Mikhail Prokhorov: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will play for the Miami Heat next season.

Another of Prokhorov's beliefs is that if LeBron James joins Wade and Bosh in Miami, The King could win "two or three titles" but "diminish the LeBron brand" because he'd be winning with such a power-packed lineup.

..ESPN.com has obtained notes from the [Prokhorov conference call] from a league source, and they provide interesting insight into the perceptions of the NBA's newest, most fascinating owner -- who, above all, left his first foray into NBA free agency optimistic his Nets soon would be the home of James.

...

On the conference call, he categorized the options he believes James has before him:

• The "hometown angle" of remaining with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

• The choice to play with Wade and Bosh in Miami, where James would have a "very high chance to win two or three titles" but where he could also "diminish the LeBron brand."

• Joining the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers or New York Knicks. These teams, according to Prokhorov, are similar from a basketball standpoint and he believes none of the three clubs has a clear-cut strategy for winning championships.

• Becoming a member of the Nets, who would give James the best opportunity to build a dynasty, become a champion and emerge as a global icon.

To assure James of winning, Prokhorov said the Nets would pursue a trade for Chris Paul. He admits it could "take a year for the young roster to grow" but that after adding the right pieces around James, the Nets could win the NBA title two years from now.

Best opportunity to build a dynasty?

That plan didn't exactly work out, though media outlets like the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, as NLG points out, seem to think the team is on Plan B.

Posted by steve at July 17, 2010 8:42 AM