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Showing posts from August, 2013

Giant sculpture with "gritty vibrancy" arrives at Barclays Center, gets big promotion from Times Arts section (looks like mesa, flames, or gyro?)

Well, you can't blame the New York Times for glomming onto an exclusive, coverage of the new sculpture at the Barclays Center plaza, headlined (on the first Arts page) today, All Eyes on Her: ‘Ona,’ by Ursula von Rydingsvard, Arrives in Brooklyn, complete with an eight-photo slideshow.

After all, the Wall Street Journal got the exclusive preview in August, and it is worth explaining to the public.
But it's curious how the Times finds it easy to prominently cover this uncomplicatedly promotional story while ignoring, say, the impact of the MTV Video Music Awards on Prospect Heights neighbors or parent Forest City Enterprises' self-serving Corporate Social Responsibility report.
Or, as I wrote in April, distracting from the delays in delivering benefits such as subsidized housing or the jobs that were supposed to come with the office tower looming over the arena.
Consider: the sculpture likely cost less than $1 million, the upper end for one of von Rydingsvard's works. …

Isn't that special: anonymous missive from not-invited MTV thanks locals for being "exceptionally kind hosts" for VMAs

Isn't that special: MTV yesterday sent a message (below) to various officials and residents in and around Prospect Heights, Brooklyn:
"We'd like to extend our sincere thanks for playing host to MTV in your beautiful neighborhood over the past week. You were exceptionally kind hosts and we are grateful for your gracious hospitality." As with previous MTV missives regarding the Video Music Awards, the letter was unsigned by a named human being.

Of course, the residents weren't exactly hosts--they didn't invite MTV, but rather had MTV's presence imposed on them, with no public meetings involving MTV and the city's office of broadcast/tv/film.

And MTV somehow didn't acknowledge the reports on Atlantic Yards Watch (excerpted above) about the imposition on the community, including threats from a visitor, a garden trashed, lots of illegal idling/parking, and garbage left behind.


Then again, the Dubai Mini Mart at the corner of Dean Street and Sixth Aven…

What is he, chopped liver? Bill de Blasio's Atlantic Yards problem

Update: see Capital NY's coverage, Bill de Blasio, development pragmatist.

Now that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has vaulted to the top of the mayoral polls, there's been a spike of interest in examining his record.

So I got a couple of queries yesterday about his role boosting but not overseeing Atlantic Yards, about which I've written at length. My analysis is summarized/linked here, and I'm sure others will pursue this further.

But hereare a couple of recent money quotes regarding Atlantic Yards:
"I think government has to hold the developer's feet to the fire to get it done, and on a real timeline." "Government I don't think has done a very good job of following through on that goal, and I think the next mayor has to do that very aggressively." What is de Blasio, chopped liver?

He's government too, and he has avoided every opportunity, for example, to criticize developer Forest City Ratner for failing to hire the Independent Complian…

Forest City Enterprises' first Corporate Social Responsibility Report gets Atlantic Yards wrong, ignores Ridge Hill, omits data on campaign contributions, displacement, government assistance

Forest City Enterprises, parent of Forest City Ratner, on Aug. 27 released Built on Purpose, its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report. According to the press release:
Forest City Enterprises, Inc., (NYSE: FCEA and FCEB) today announced that the company has released its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. Titled "Built on Purpose," the report received an Application Level B in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3.1 Guidelines. GRI is the leading global framework for CSR reporting. Such technical gobbledygook doesn't tell us anything, but the report, according to the press release, "highlights Forest City's many significant accomplishments, including:
More than 30 LEED-certified buildings completed or plannedAssociate contributions totaling more than $630,000 to the United Way in 2012$6 million in energy efficiency savings since 2011Over six megawatts of renewable power capacity installed The document (full report) highl…

In 35th District, Jobs for New York spending provokes "No 2 Cumbo"; video shows candidate saying "blow the whistle" on PAC spending (though she didn't until pushed)

The impact of the Jobs for New York political action committee (PAC) on City Council primary races, including the race to succeed Letitia James in Brooklyn's 35th District, is profound.

For 11 Council candidates, independent spending by the PAC--represents from 88% to 404% of the money the candidates have been able to spend themselves, as The Real Deal reported.

For example, the seven fliers touting 35th District candidate Laurie Cumbo, as reproduced at bottom, represent spending of nearly $80,000, as of Aug. 9. That's 95% of Cumbo's own spending.

Jobs for New York has become the central issue in the 35th District Democratic primary Sept. 10, which is tantamount to election. Each of Cumbo's four rivals last week issued tough criticism at a debate, as described below and in Daily News coverage.

The PAC is funded exclusively by members of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), which, among other things, seeks a development-friendly council. Tenants PAC treasurer Mic…

Prospect Heights verdict on the VMAs pre-show: "block party to end all block parties" or locals "soured to the experience"? (and clean-up unfinished)

So, was the MTV Video Music Awards and pre-show at the intersection of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue "the block party to end all block parties," with surmountable hassles,  according to a report from International Business Times, Living Inside the MTV Awards, from the very exclusive territory of Dean just west of Sixth? (I was with the majority of localseast of Sixth on Dean.)

Or as radio.com reported, in No Sleep For Brooklyn: MTV VMAs Disrupt Neighborhood Surrounding Barclays, were residents "particularly soured to the experience and worried it would set an ugly precedent for future events of this scale"?

Maybe both. A lot of people had mixed feelings--see 13 interviews of Dean Street residents, some pleased, some very frustrated--and for fans there was surely enough of a thrill to make it enjoyable. But Dean Street west of Sixth had much tighter security, so people there were not inundated by visitors nor (I believe) the same level of cheering, screaming extras o…

Brooklyn Paper on Atlantic Yards sale quotes DePlasco: "“The delays were caused primarily by the multiple lawsuits that were brought against the project" (sure)

The Brooklyn Paper, which once upon a time had skeptical/oppositional Atlantic Yards coverage, today offers Atlantic Yards goes public! Ratner puts a major chunk of the project on the chopping block, but vows to keep control, following up on news that broke last week.
The key paragraph: “The delays were caused primarily by the multiple lawsuits that were brought against the project,” said company spokesman Joe DePlasco. My comment:
Sure.

In 2009, Forest City decided to renegotiate settled deals with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to allow a 21-year purchase schedule for the Vanderbilt Yard and Empire State Development Corporation to allow a 25-year buildout. Could the culprit have been Forest City's unrealistic projections?
Said Chuck Ratner, then-CEO of Forest City Enterprises, in 2007, "We’re very good at estimating markets, we’re very good at estimating rents, at estimating lease-ups, and estimating costs. We are terrible, and we’ve been a developer for 50 years, …

The VMAs come to Brooklyn, with the pre-show at Sixth and Dean; limited access for locals, party atmosphere on Flatbush (plus video)

The MTV Video Music Awards came to the Barclays Center last night, with the pre-show red carpet event at the corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue shutting down those streets and requiring residents to go through police checkpoints--and, in some cases, to take a very indirect route to reach the subway or stores.

It was a mixed bag for locals, especially those on Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, the two streets that were shut off--Dean from Flatbush to Carlton Avenue, and Sixth from Bergen Street (more or less) to Atlantic Avenue.

Some enjoyed the pre-show from 8-9 pm, turning their apartments and sidewalks into a party, while others were frustrated by the intrusion of visitors and extras, including the failure of police or security guards to keep people off their stoops.

And here's a mostly enthusiastic take from a couple of reporters living literally across the street from the arena, on Dean Street between Flatbush and Sixth avenues, saying the consensus was "this was the blo…

On Fifth Avenue, a landlord seeking Barclays boost jacks up rent

Well, it's tough to extrapolate from one anecdote, but Crain's concludes that Retailers wilting in Barclays Center's shadow

The Chocolate Room, which has operated its dessert cafe/retail outlet at 86 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope for ten years faces a $13,500 rent, but instead counteroffered $7,000, which suggests the proposed rent is more than double the current rent. The Chocolate Room may move.

Landlords believe the proximity of the arena justifies a rent hike, but The Chocolate Room, like many other retailers, haven't seen a spike in business. That said, there has been a spate of bars closer to the arena, so maybe The Chocolate Room's landlord will end up with a new tenant: a bar.

Before the MTV VMAs: employees go through metal detectors; red carpet at Dean/Sixth; trailers idling on Dean

Some videos shot early this afternoon during the set-up for the MTV Video Music Awards

Employees go through metal detectors on Flatbush Avenue, near Dean Street




Red carpet for pre-show viewed from Sixth Avenue below Dean Street




Red carpet at Dean Street east of Sixth Avenue




Trailers idling mid-block on Dean Street outside residences