Wednesday, March 01, 2006

 

Introducing the Atlantic Yards Report

From today onward, my reportage, analysis, and commentary on the Atlantic Yards project will appear at the Atlantic Yards Report.

This blog, originally dubbed TimesRatnerReport, was conceived to accompany the 9/1/05 publication of my report The New York Times & Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards: High Rises & Low Standards. I thought a blog could help track and comment on the response to my report.

The report has not yet spurred the Public Editor of the New York Times to assess the newspaper's coverage of the Atlantic Yards project. However, I do think my criticisms have contributed to a somewhat better performance by the media, including the Times.

Moreover, the report and the research behind it have served as a base for an evolving blog. While I initially emphasized media analysis and commentary, I now include much more original reporting.

Given the broader focus, the name TimesRatnerReport doesn't fit as well. The blog under that URL will remain intact, and I will link back from the Atlantic Yards Report to old blog entries when necessary. (Why not simply change the name/URL of the old blog? Many original links would be lost.)

I will continue my analysis of the New York Times's coverage, and of media coverage in general. But I also will continue to take a broader view of the biggest development project in the history of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

ESDC: terrorism not part of Environmental Impact Statement

Ok, this isn't new, given that the discussion happened four months ago, but it's news because it hasn't been reported before: The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which in perhaps a month will issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Atlantic Yards plan, will not go beyond its legal mandate to consider terrorism as a separate issue.

On 10/24/05, even before the comment period on the Draft Scope of Analysis had closed, ESDC officials met with Brooklyn elected officials and others in the first session of Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee.

I wasn't there and the recently-posted notes are terse, but here it is:
Will terrorism be taken into consideration as part of the EIS?
No. It is not in the scope of the EIS, but ESDC heard this recommendation at the public hearing.


Thus, the ESDC apparently won't heed the requests of the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods and community boards to consider terrorism, an issue I wrote about before the 10/24/05 notes were posted.

That's not to say that the New York Police Department won't evaluate security issues, as it's been asked to do--though the report hasn't yet been released). But the law governing the EIS--which was written, of course, before the 9/11 attacks raised public consciousness about terrorism--doesn't require the state to do so.

As with the ESDC's close relationship with developers, which is part of its mission, the statute governing the scope of the EIS might deserve another look.

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