Atlantic Yards In Trouble? Bruce, Say It Ain't So!
April 2, 2008: A slew of articles have appeared recently which indicate that the grand plan as we know it, Atlantic Yards, is a sham -- Bruce Ratner's smoke screen (or smoke dream) for a massive free land grab. This is essentially what the opposition have been saying all along. But rather than break out the champagne and party hats, the anti-Yards groups remain cautiously optimistic that Ratner's house of cards will soon completely crumble (just like the buildings he is unfortunately continuing to tear down in the project's "footprint" in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn).

Before all this madness started Prospect Heights was a thriving neighborhhod, home to small businesses, artists' studios, repair shops, expensive condominiums and real low income housing. The area happened to border the old Vanderbilt Yards, a working MTA rail yard. Now it is fast becoming an urban wasteland. The big concern is that with the project's demise, instead of the Gehry-designed city-of-the-future, all the area's remaining residents will be left with will be real bonafide urban blight and destruction: acres and acres of empty lots, cyclone fences, garbage, rats and parking lots.

The folks that actually believed the Yards hype (remember "Jobs, Hoops and Housing"?) now blame the Yards' opponents for the project's flameout, while Bruce Ratner blames the economy. According to the NY Times, nearly all the long-heralded "Community Benefits" are also disappearing up in smoke. ACORN, the low income housing organization and the sole legitimate "community group" not created by Ratner who endorsed the project, is still refusing to face the reality of the AY meltdown and their obvious betrayal by the Ratner company.

Abby Weissman 2008
Speaking of betrayal, less than three years ago, now-NY Governor Paterson stood side-by-side at City Hall with representatives from his Harlem constituency and Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn to declare his strong opposition to the city's use of eminent domain. Without the use of eminent domain Ratner can't even build the arena. We now hope Paterson's memory of that day is as good as his memories of his various motel sexcapades and his credit card charges. To make sure he remembers his anti-eminent domain position, send him an email here.

For some interesting reading following are a sampling of the latest Atlantic Yards news:

More than $20B in developments dead or at risk of never seeing light of day
NY DAILY NEWS, March 31, 2008
"The boom is going bust...More than $20 billion worth of high-profile developments across the city - many designed by world-renowned architects and touted by top officials - are dead or at risk of never getting off the drawing board... The crumbling economy has forced developers to scale back their grand visions and has endangered projects that range from architectural marvels like Frank Gehry's Atlantic Yards towers in Brooklyn to crucial pieces of thecity's infrastructure, like Manhattan's Moynihan rail hub in midtown..."
Read the entire article.
Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: Atlantic Yards as Interpretive Dance
Posted by Julie Bolcer
The Village Voice, March 26, 2008
"Already confusing because of its opaque public costs and shady financing, this week the perplexing Atlantic Yards proposal for downtown Brooklyn revealed another bizarre element: an evolving completion timeline...The latest knot was uncombed on Monday by the meticulous blogger Norman Oder, author of the must-read Atlantic Yards Report. He was the first to post that the Empire State Development Corporation had only recently uploaded to its Atlantic Yards Web site a behemoth-sized State Funding Agreement between New York and developer Forest City Ratner that was signed in September 2007. The agreement, uploaded in 37 parts as a scan of the original 400-plus page document, appeared on the Web site on Friday, the same day that The New York Times ran a front-page story describing the financial problems facing the $4 billion, 22-acre project in the slumping economy..."
Read the entire article
Slow Economy Likely to Stall Atlantic Yards
New York Times, March 21, 2008
"The slowing economy, weighed down by a widening credit crisis, is likely to delay the signature office tower and three residential buildings at the heart of the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, the developer said.... "
Read the entire article.
What Will Be Left of Gehry's Vision for Brooklyn?
New York Times, March 21, 2008
"The growing possibility that much of the multibillion-dollar Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn will be scrapped because of a lack of financing may be a bitter pill for its developer, Forest City Ratner. But it’s also a painful setback for urban planning in New York..."
Read the entire article.
Atlantic Yards Dead
By Gersh Kuntzman
The Brooklyn Paper, March 29, 2008
"Bruce Ratner’s controversial Atlantic Yards project — which envisioned 16 skyscrapers, eight acres of open space, more than 2,250 units of below-market-rate housing, new top-of-the-line office space and a publicly financed basketball arena — now consists of little more than the arena and two scaled-back residential buildings, the developer told the New York Times last week..."
Read the entire article.
Visions of parking lots at stalled Atlantic Yards site
By Amy Zimmer
The NY Metro, March 29, 2008
"PROSPECT HEIGHTS. What’s next for Atlantic Yards? How about a giant parking lot? At least, that’s what some Brooklynites fear is coming in light of developer Bruce Ratner’s announcement that the recessionary climate has stalled parts of the $4 billion project..."
Read the entire article.
Commercial Projects Stalling: Add Ratner’s Atlantic Yards to the List
By Emily Friedlander
The Wall Street Journal
, March 21, 2008
"In today’s Journal, Michael Corkery looks at how the mortgage mess is affecting small home builders. One builder Mr. Corkery focuses on has drained his personal savings of $2 million to keep his company going. The NY Times reports on fallout in the commercial sector: Bruce Ratner’s ambitious and controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, N.Y., is now imperiled..."
Read the entire article.
State: Ratner has no deadline for construction.
By Dana Rubinstein
The Brooklyn Paper, March 29, 2008
"Bruce Ratner has not been given a deadline to complete the bulk of the Atlantic Yards project — including the 11 buildings that contain the vast majority of the promised 2,250 units of affordable housing and seven acres of open space, newly released documents show, prompting critics of the controversial project to blast it as a “bait and switch.” “Forest City Ratner has already gotten $40 million from the city, yet we may not see the first affordable housing apartment for 13 years,” said a seemingly frustrated Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights)...."
Read the entire article.
Profit and Public Good Clash in Grand Plans
New York Times, March 27, 2008
"The bitter battles over reconstruction plans for ground zero. The unraveling of the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn. And now this. Given current economic realities, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s selection on Wednesday of a team led by Tishman Speyer to develop the West Side railyards seems like a wishful fantasy. Yet even if the project takes decades to realize, it is a damning indictment of large-scale development in New York. Like the ground zero and Atlantic Yards fiascos, its overblown scale and reliance on tired urban planning formulas should force a serious reappraisal of the public-private partnerships that shape development in the city today..."
Read the entire article.
For more news, use this custom Google News search.
Get the latest Atlantic Yards news daily by reading the following websites:
To All Block Residents:
Join Our Mailing List
The opinions and concepts expressed on this website are those of the individual author(s) and are not the official viewpoint of the organization. Reader corrections and feedback are appreciated.
All contents copyright 2008, the South Oxford Street Block Association. All rights reserved.
Contact the Block Association for more information:
Website design and hosting provided by
For more information on web design, web hosting and graphic design contact Abby.