August 1, 2012
A whole new arena
Brooklyn's O'Malley curse begins to end in 60 days
NY Daily News
by Denis Hamill
Speaking once more of values, integrity and honesty, the Daily News's answer to Andrea "Mad Dog" Peyser transcribes Bruce Ratner's talking points.
“That’s how many days till the curse of Walter O'Malley starts to lift from Brooklyn,” says Bruce Ratner, the tenacious builder and CEO of Forest City Ratner.
Amazing coincidence! That's exactly when the curse of Bruce Ratner's arena boondoggle will settle on Brooklyn.
Six years ago, I pressed Ratner when he told me a portion of the 18,000 seats would be “affordable” to working Brooklynites. “How much?” I said. “Gimme a dollar amount.”
“Okay, $15," he said.
I printed it.
Since then, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has purchased the majority share of the Nets. He went along with that promise. On Monday, Ratner said, “There will be 2,000 $15 seats at every Brooklyn Nets game, and 50% of Nets tickets will be $55 or less. About 7,000 of Jay-Z’s tickets at each concert sold for $29.50.”
And about 6,800 of those were bought by scalpers, who are reselling them for hundreds of dollars.
“And I am trying like hell to get the Islanders to make Barclays Center their new hockey home,” says Ratner, sweeping his hand across the big arena where workers in cherry-picker buckets installed acoustic panels on the domed ceiling as others installed black seats. “They will play a pre-season game here against the Devils.”
Are they seriously going to try to work every one of Ratner's b.s. lines into this column?
Oh, wait it gets better. Here comes the random construction worker to ask a question of the big boss (who surely knows absolutely nothing about job-site details). Jonah Lehrer just resigned for a lot less contrivance.
As we spoke, a Laborers Local 79 member named William Jackson approached Ratner with a work-related question.
I asked him about working for Ratner. Jackson said he’s been on a half-dozen Forest City Ratner jobs since 2001, including a courthouse on Adams St., Metro Tech and the Barclays Center.
“Ratner kept his word,” he says. “He hired people from the community like me. I live a few blocks from here. This arena put a lot people to work, paid a lot of bills for a lot of families. His people come into the community and train people in entrepreneurship, help them start new businesses. He even throws parties for the construction workers when the job is finished. Nobody does that. I'll be here opening night to root for the home team because I'm already a Nets fan. Now they'll be playing in Brooklyn a few blocks from my house."
[Sniffle, sniffle] Sorry, but we're too choked up to go on. You'll have to click through if you're more hardened and cynical than we.
NoLandGrab: Peyser last week, Hamill this week. Do you think next week's arena tour with Steve Witt is already scheduled?
Posted by eric at August 1, 2012 7:19 PM