Thursday, December 21, 2006

When The Ship Goes Down...

Yeah, I'm about as bitter as Mr. Gowanus Lounge this morning. It's strangely fitting that I'm temporarily in London this morning, reporting in to HQ and preparing for Christmas at the relatives. Because it really is only from afar that one can comprehend just how misguided the Atlantic Yards is, and how badly the politicians that approved it yesterday got it wrong.

I am, and here's the standard opponent caveat here, a filthy dirty yuppie interloper, and an immigrant to boot, who's lived in the borough for a mere six years. I moved there for some very specific reasons, some of those for the hood's qualities, some for the defects that it lacked, and Manhattan has in abundance.

And it's important to mention Brooklyn's relationship with the rest of New York City, because the misrepresentation of this, and the exploitation of people's misunderstanding of it, is at the heart of the project's success.

Brooklyn is, variously, a dormitory settlement (scumbags like me), a dumping ground for corporate welfare schemes for connected Manhattan-dwelling developers (Bruce "Mad Ugly Building Inflicta" Ratner), a proud and noble metropolis in its own right (Marty, high people). But it also has a complex and respectful relationship with the wider city, a fact that the gang of vandals from downtown that approved the project chose to blithely disregard.

I remember reading, but can't be arsed to search for, an article in the times about the growing power of Park Slope liberals in city politics. That's bollocks right there. This nasty little deal was cooked up between Albany, the Manhattan real estate elite, and the morally bankrupt liberal/Democratic establishment in Brooklyn.

Very little in this deal to do with race, except as part of the project's PR strategy. Appropriating state funds for questionable development projects tends to transcend these lines. Same for quality of life. It's almost as if Bloomberg wants all the affluent parents to move to Scarsdale.

But we still have the three big lies. That the area is blighted (it isn't), that the project is going to be a force for economic development (it won't), and that there is no other plan (just because Ratner can't make the project work without all of the thievery doesn't mean a non welfare-baby can't).

The whole thing's depressingly old school. I keep expecting Rick James to strut out from somewhere and set Marty Markowitz' hair on fire with a spare crack pipe.


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