Tuesday, September 06, 2005


The Times gets it wrong: "downtown" and "arena project"

I was so caught up in analyzing the Times's 9/3/05 analysis of The Brooklyn Standard that I neglected to point out that the article, like so many others, got some fundamental facts wrong.

The article cited a proposed $3.5 billion arena project for downtown Brooklyn. It's not "downtown Brooklyn"! As my report (www.dddb.net/times) shows (see item 11.4), even a map the Times has printed shows the site to be in Prospect Heights, across from Fort Greene, bordered by Park Slope.

Also, the term "arena project" may be a shorthand, but the project has had numerous towers (now, at least 17, according to Ratner's Brooklyn Standard) since it was announced in December 2003. [Update: the project description from the ESDC, released in mid-September, says 16 towers + arena.] It's always been a real estate deal. So it can't be a dispute between the "arena's supporters and opponents;" the arena is only about one-tenth the square footage of the entire project. By focusing on the arena as the definition of the project, the Times falls into Ratner's rhetorical trap or, as the Ratner site (www.bball.net) says, "Bring Basketball to Brooklyn." The arena is a lure to get politicians and others on board for the massive development project. The Times shouldn't be playing along.

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