Nets Coming Late to Atlantic Yards and Suit Coming Soon

Two new developments in the Atlantic Yards saga. Atlantic Yards Report reveals that the Nets have three more years at the Meadowlands’ Izod Center, not two, meaning the 2010 opening date Bruce Ratner has been promoting may be nothing more than a pipe dream; we might be looking at 2012 for the team’s debut. Besides the team’s schedule, there’s the issue of construction. Ratner tells some outlets that groundbreaking won’t begin until January; to others, he says November.

As construction remains stalled at the site, a lawsuit goes forward. Nine property owners and tenants filed a petition against the Empire State Development Corporation in the Appellate Division Second Department of New York State Supreme Court. They’ve got five beefs: The seizure of their property violates the public use clause contained in the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution; violates the due process clause contained in the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution; violates the equal protection clause contained in the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution; violates the low-income and current resident requirements of the New York Constitution; and violates the “public use, benefit or purpose” requirement contained in New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL). They expect to hear the case in January of 09, apparently long before a single building will rise on the site. Check out the press release below.
AY Arena Might Open 2011 [AY Report]
Goldstein et al. v. Empire State Development Corporation [DDDB]
Appeal Over Atlantic Yards Suit Filed [Brownstoner]
Supreme Court Won’t Hear AY Eminent Domain Case [Brownstoner]
Photo by threecee.


For Immediate Release: August 4, 2008

Nine Property Owners and Tenants File Atlantic Yards Eminent Domain Challenge in New York State Court

Petitioners Seek to Prevent New York State’s
Seizure of Their Homes and Businesses by Eminent Domain

BROOKLYN, NY— Late Friday nine property owners and tenants—with homes and businesses New York State wants to seize for developer Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project—filed a petition with the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court seeking an order rejecting the Empire State Development Corporation’s (ESDC) findings and determination to seize their homes and businesses by eminent domain.

The court argument will likely be in January 2009.

“New York Courts have a proud history of interpreting the New York Constitution as providing greater protections for individual rights than the federal constitution. This case presents an opportunity to continue that tradition by declaring that the New York Constitution prohibits the government from seizing private homes simply to turn them over to a developer who covets them for a massive luxury condominium project,” said lead attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP. “We are confident that the court will see this for what it is: government officials bending to the will of Bruce Ratner, allowing him to wield the power of eminent domain for his personal financial benefit.”

Facing the seizure of their homes and businesses, the petitioners have alleged five claims against the ESDC— the condemning authority utilized by Forest City Ratner to take the petitioners’ properties and give them to Forest City Ratner. The five claims are that the ESDC’s determination to forcibly seize the properties should be rejected because:

1. It violates the public use clause contained in the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution.
ESDC’s claims of public benefit are a pretext to justify a private taking.

2. It violates the due process clause contained in the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution.
The public process was a sham. The outcome was predetermined in a back room deal between Ratner, Pataki and Bloomberg.

3. It violates the equal protection clause contained in the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution.
By singling out the petitioners, for unequal, adverse, treatment, and selecting Ratner as the recipient of irrational largess, the ESDC violated the petitioners’ right to equal protection under the law.

4. It violates the low-income and current resident requirements of the New York Constitution.
The New York State Constitution provides that no loan or subsidy shall be made to aid any project unless the project contains a plan for the remediation of blight and the “occupancy of any such project shall be restricted to persons of low income as defined by law and preference shall be given to persons who live or shall have lived in such area or areas.”
The Atlantic Yards project is not “restricted to persons of low income” and no preference has been given to “persons who live or shall have lived in such area.”

5. It violates the “public use, benefit or purpose” requirement contained in New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL).

ESDC’s determination that petitioners’ homes and businesses will serve a “public use, benefit or purpose” has no basis in fact or law.

The petition to the Court for the case, Goldstein et al. v. Empire State Development Corporation, can be downloaded at:

Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn—in its effort to defend the homes and businesses of community members and advocate for their rights—organized the eminent domain lawsuit, and raises the funds for the lawsuit.

DEVELOP DON’T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them
DDDB is 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual donors from the community.


0 Comment

  • “As construction stalls at the site,” I hope you are paying attention. Atlantic Yards is DEAD. The Newark Nets will be paying here… Prudential Center :: Newark, NJ Arena.

    BTW Hey Lisa, not bad but lets see how you do this week. RIP Gabby

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end..

  • What a friggin’ mess. We’re going to be stuck with these barren lots for years now.

  • they’ve been barren for years, and Ratner has no one but himself to blame for what’s happening. Only a fool would think residents would simply lie down and play dead when he decided he would ask for eminent domain. And the scale of his development- completely out of whack.

    The sadder part is that area was slowly building itself up. Not as far or as fast as some wanted, but I still don’t believe that a humongous outsized development packed on top of an already stretched transit and traffic hub is either economically or ecologically the way to go. I can’t wait to hear the screaming on that one, but NYC needs a more intelligent plan for development and growth that isn’t driven by greed and overreach.

    Suffice it to say there were other plans that made much more sense and they were turned down in favor of the AY monstrosity that taxpayers will be getting stiffed for. And has anyone noticed any rabid Nets fans roaming the streets panting for their team? Building AY just for the sake of an arena is one of the wasteful, selfish and idiotic ideas I’ve ever heard. Ask Ratner if he would build without an arena? Because I happen to think our money could be better spent on other things.

  • Amen. Let the Nets play in NJ and maybe we can get an organic development in place to take place when the market turns up again (if real estate is historically in 11 year cycles — we have time).

  • Said it once and I’ll say it again – $2 billion of taxpayer money over going to Ratner over the next ten years in order to get $1 billion back in tax revenues over the next 30.

    Anyone doesn’t like the barren lots, I’ve got a suggestion – invest your own damn money developing them.

  • “our” money, bxgirl? Not when it’s been turned over to the Rats ;).

    NY will never have intelligently planned development until there’s enough power behind it, which translates to money, and the individual developers have plenty of that.

    Why couldn’t AY be split up into smaller parcels that the many smaller developers could bite off, with overall design guidelines that ensure a consistent but not homogeneous look?

    The New Urbanist approach, which takes off from older design principles like requiring streetwalls, vistas, walkability, density, open spaces, etc., could be tried here, it has plenty of non-prescriptive design methodology which would fit well, with a few density upgrades to accommodate Brooklyn needs, to the AY footprint.

    However, I’m not waiting for this to happen.

  • Brownstoner Brooklyn is finished, done and kaput! I wonder how you Asshats feed now Ratner will not build that stadium? I think the equity is seeping from your houses!

    LMMFAO! I love it and yes I take full glee watching this thing implode! Come on everyone tell me this thing is being built…

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • i’m no AY-booster, but here goes: the self-deluded fools are the ones who think that there is any developer, or set of developers, out there who would have or would take on the risk of fixing the infrastructure of AY without huge upside potential. huge upside potential does not come with “organic development.” this wasn’t simply not happening “as far or as fast,” it wouldn’t have happened at all without large amounts of public subsidy. AY has been barren for years, as bxgrl says, and it would have stayed barren. you want to have your cake and eat it, too – it was barren! it was improving! – but that’s just not reality. i think what it comes down to is that you’d rather have a disgusting dead zone for 20 more years just to spite an arena (sports!? music?!? the horror!), and to me is the sad thing.

  • I can never remember is The What saying our brownstones aren’t going to be worth anything because Atlantic Yards is happening or because it isn’t happening? C’mon What, even the Unibomber eventually managed to compose a manifesto with more depth than just calling everyone “asshat.”

  • given that the residents of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill were largely against the AY, I don’t see why this would cause anyone to cry or worry about their investment. I agree I don’t think AY will ever happen now but I don’t think this fact spells doom for Brownstone Brooklyn. I think that, as everyone has been saying, that area has been barren for years and Fort Green, Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights developed themselves despite that. Something else will happen there eventually and we will all continue to live the lives we are living.

  • i disagree- I also said the area was coming back before Ratner got interested. Why do you think Goldstein was fighting? Buildings were being renovated, there are viable businesses with employees in the area. I didn’t say the area would remain barren at all. You don’t think it’s wasteful to tear down a perfectly good, newly renovated condo building just to show the world how big your financial dick is? (Sorry- everytime I see the Ratner plans all I can think of is him walking into the office and announcing, “See! Mine is bigger than anyone elses!”)

    And it isn’t a matter of spiting an arena. It’s the huge waste of money and resources, that we get very little return on. $1 billion back over 30 years? That’s chump change. An arena within a realistic development that augments instead of drains the community- yeah, I could go for that. But AY ain’t it.

  • Plenty of people was banking on appreciation! Yep, Atlantic Yards was going to be the Asshats windfall!

    Prospect Heights gentrified in the late 80’s, not now. Asshat Hill was the benefactor of a Mutant Real Estate Bubble.

    With Government deficits, shrinking Tax revenues and a imploding asset bubble you think the values of your “investments” wont fall, stop hogging the joint!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end..

    BTW Compile my posts and use them for a Manifesto!

  • A manifesto on how to behave like a petulant child on the internet.

  • A manifesto of a crazy man. It won’t be dissimilar to the writings of the unibomber. Maybe one of the What’s relatives are reading this and will out him.

  • yeah, i’m pointing out the contradiction in what you said. the yards would have remained empty and no organic development would have resolved that. 6th avenue and carlton bridges would still be dumping grounds and the area fronting the yards attractive only to more big box stores. no one would have taken on the yards themselves without major upside potential, and that necessarily implies building something, or some things, that are of a scale or for a purpose that you probably would protest. yes, in a perfect world we could keep all of the stuff that was perfectly good and get rid of all of the bad stuff, but reasonable minds can differ on what is good or bad. new condo? good. maybe. but maybe less good as what would replace it.

    as for ratner, it probably would help your cause to try to figure out what his actual motivations are (and the motivations of people who support AY), as infantile characterizations of those motivations tends to minimize whatever power your arguments might have.

  • sorry, i_disagree, you are incorrect. absent atlantic yards, the railyards organically would have developed into lush, tastefully-landscaped gardens, the greenery interrupted only by the occasional farmer’s market or community poetry jam. the gardens would have been ringed by affordable three-story brownstones, one for every lower- and middle-class citizen in brooklyn. construction of the brownstones would have been fully funded by a geyser of iced coffee (fair trade, of course) discovered under the old rail yards. oh, what could have been!

  • That is very funny Z!

  • Had the MTA put the rail yard out for bid (as 3 parcels as they did, or in even smaller parcels) in a non-politicized environment you’d have had multiple developers bidding. And yes, they’d all want “assistance” building a platform over the rail yards, which would have been fine. and that would have presented great upside potential, not just for the developer but also for the MTA as they would have actually gotten market rate for the property.

    but instead, the MTA/Albany/Bloomberg had a wired deal, that got a well below market price for the yards, and gave the yards AND 14 other acres to Ratner with no evidence that he could build anything like he was proposing.

    what are Ratner’s motivations? That’s easy: gain control of 22 acres in the heart of central Brooklyn.

  • look, z, you can joke all you want. but the truth is that some people don’t like iced coffee, people who have lived in brooklyn all. of. their. lives! and they have a right to voice their disapproval. brownstones for everyone is a great idea in theory but not when it has to be paid for by destroying old-timers’ view of target and the burlington coat factory and party time! party supply store in order to come in and collect iced coffee to sell to yuppies. plus, releasing the geyser would threaten the habitat of a family of six rats who have evolved to drink only coffee and who, should this development be realized, might be forced to move to the storm drain on 5th avenue near gorilla coffee. you say fair trade, but i ask you, is it a fair trade to the rats?!?

  • i disagree- I only protest scale that is so overblown it will be detrimental and claustrophobic for the area. There is no contradiction in what I said- the area was already coming back, and as several other people have pointed out, there were- and are- alternatives to AY but like it or not, AY was given the go ahead without the proper reviews and without offering the best bid for the yard air rights.

    Protesting AY is not the same as protesting development- I’m all for developing over the Yards. Just not Ratner’s AY, for a lot of practical, common sense and quality of life reasons. (thanks, brokeland.)

  • “what are Ratner’s motivations? That’s easy: gain control of 22 acres in the heart of central Brooklyn.”

    Nope Dumbass, it was got get the Asshat tax slaves to pay for free money. Like the other brain dead asshole Tax slaves paying to bail out Wall Street. The Big Boyys know most American a too fucking stupid to read between the lines and so greedy they will let themselves get assraped so someone else gets rich!

    Rater has a deal in place to hightail to Newark! Notice one thing Fucktards, there are no steel columns being built for the stadium foundation! Hell the put up the Prudential Center in a year! I know this for a fact! Ratner is waiting for the Wall Street crash to break the news to ya!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • Actually if AY doesnt get built (which it probably will just that it will end up being an Arena and a parking lot – isnt DDDB wonderful), it will cost more or less the SAME 2 Billion(or 3 or 4 or 5 – whatever madeup # you like) – since the Govt was only contributing $200M in ACTUAL dollars – the rest of this alleged subsidy – was essentially tax offsets – and since the tax burden on fallow land isnt all that high, based on NIMBY logic – the empty lot will be costing us Billions anyway.

    Weeks beginning July 28, 2008 and August 4, 2008

    In an effort to keep the Atlantic Yards Community aware of upcoming construction activities, ESD and Forest City Ratner provide the following outline of anticipated upcoming construction activities.

    Please note: the scope and nature of activities are subject to change based upon field conditions. All work has been approved by appropriate City and State agencies where required.

    In addition to the activities described below noise attenuation and vibration monitoring measures are underway in connection with the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments dated 12/08/06.

    If you have any questions please feel free to contact our project Ombudsperson at: 212-803-3233 or

    Long Island Rail Road/Vanderbilt Yard Work

    Continue excavation and installation of tiebacks in Southeast Gas Station (block 1121, lot 47).

    Continue construction and debris removal from block 1121.

    Continue hauling soil from block 1121;portions of soil block 1120.

    Continue underpinning of Pacific Street wall.

    Begin removal of sidewalk east end of Pacific Street.

    Begin drilling of Pacific Street piles.

    Begin removal of Carlton Avenue Bridge ramp.

    Mobilize 6th Avenue temporary access ramp.

    Demolish abutment, remove debris and demolish Pacific Street retaining wall at the Carlton Avenue Bridge.

    Prep west abutment of trestle for concrete placement.

    Continue drilling trestle piles.

    Abatement and Demolition Work

    All work described below will comply with the additional oversight and protocols by the Department of Buildings (DOB) that were established on April 30, 2007.

    Demolition is underway at 800 Pacific Street (block 1129, lot 25) and will continue throughout this two week period.

    Demolition is complete at 195 Flatbush Avenue (block 1127, lot 1).

    Demolition is underway at 585 Dean Street (block 1129, lot 81) and will continue within this two week period.

    batement is complete at 487 Dean Street (block 1128, lot 89).

    Abatement will begin at 489 Dean Street (block 1128, lot 88) within this two week period.

    Abatement is underway at 475 Dean Street (block 1127, lot 48) and will continue within this two week period.

    Utility Work

    All utility work scheduled to take place in Flatbush Avenue will only take place at night (between 10PM and 6AM) as mandated by DOT.

    The first of three phases of upgraded water and sewer installations is underway and is expected to continue through the end of the year. Work will continue on Dean Street between Flatbush and Sixth Avenues and on Sixth between Pacific and Dean Streets. Work began on a new sewer chamber on Dean Street near 6th Avenue.

    Transit ducts on Flatbush Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street will be relocated. This work is expected to continue over the next three months. All work taking place in the sidewalk will occur during the day. Pedestrian walkways will be maintained.

    Private Utility Work

    The work described below is managed and contracted by the respective private utility companies, as indicated.

    ConEd will be installing conduits on Dean between Flatbush and 6th Avenues and working on a feeder at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

    Verizon will be splicing cable on Pacific Street between Flatbush and 6th Avenues and at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

    Time Warner Cable and Keyspan will be working at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

  • If the city first spent the type of money that they have promised to Ratner, in developing the infrastructure of the AY footprint, and then put out bids for developing it that did not have massive subsidies, do you think there’d be no takers?

    Isn’t that what an enlightened city government should do— guide development and smooth the way for the market forces? Wouldn’t that be evidence of real planning at work? Rather than just give away the billions to ONE developer?

  • so, scale is all you protest? is an arena inherently objectionable to your concept of ideal scale?

  • The What – everyone has to register now – which means that virtually everyone posting is familiar with your positions….while most appreciate some colorful language in the posts (especially if its funny) your constant overuse of meaningless non-words such as asshat and fucktard are really annoying and ruin any point you may have to make.

    I know you are probably intoxicated by the fame your rants gained you back in early summer – but really your 15mins in that regard is up – you are not going to get anymore press for being a blog poster – and you would do yourself (and everyone else) a big favor if you stopped with that stupidity enough to actually get yourself heard.

  • enlightened city government? what do you think this is, portland, oregon?

  • No, it’s not. My concern with the arena is how it will impact the surrounding area and my personal opinion is that an arena doesn’t belong there for a lot of practical reasons. But I don’t see why it couldn’t be planned better so that it could be a better fit.

    Just to clarify- my point about scale is not for aesthetic reasons. It’s about impact on traffic, infrastructure, area services, and integration into the surrounding communities. People carry on like AY is the only possible solution and that is not the case.

  • I personally don’t *love* the arena, but think it’s ok where it is *if* there’s no eminent domain used in its construction.

    The stadium by itself is not the “out-of-scale”-ness that the opponents point to, it’s the 4 (or 6?) huge towers.
    I do agree that the opposition grasps at straws — such as no terrorism analysis, too much shadow, and using inflated traffic claims. But that’s what you have to do to make our sclerotic legal system work for you…like the snail darter stopping the highway, ridiculous but necessary.

  • If you cared even slightly about Global Warming, dependence on Oil, or the environment in general – you would recognize that DENSITY is EXACTLY what the Government should be promoting at a site like AY. It is adjacent/atop to the largest Mass Transit hub in the country (in terms of # of lines intersecting). Such plots are available very very infrequently.

    Its funny how the same people who bemoan the suburbanization of NYC advocate the exact policies that will continue that trend.

  • Huh? I’m not in Portland??

  • fsrg, I could not agree with you more with respect to your last two posts. You nailed it.

  • bxgrl, aesthetic concerns deserve consideration, else you dismiss a lot of the beauty, cohesiveness, sense-of-place and other intangible advantages that a well-designed built environment has to offer. It is definitely easier to use quantifiable metrics to denounce a project as it is typically the only thing most people can relate to – traffic, congestion, shadows. But ideally you want to design places for people instead of cars, for living instead of investing.

    fsrg: Nobody is suggesting suburban density for AY, that’s a straw man. But making AY by far the densest-ever parcel in the US (and most of the world) is another story. And if you’ve looked at the Unity proposal, for example (admittedly sans arena,) the number of housing units is comparable to Ratner’s mega towers. with only low-rise (6-8 story) builds.

  • “I know you are probably intoxicated by the fame your rants gained you back in early summer – but really your 15mins in that regard is up – you are not going to get anymore press for being a blog poster”

    Naw fsrg! The implosion ofd the Mutant Asset Bubble is doing for me!

    “- and you would do yourself (and everyone else) a big favor if you stopped with that stupidity enough to actually get yourself heard.”

    Nope Asshat, The prophecy is being fulfilled…. You notice no one tries to refute my arguments anymore. That’s funny isn’t it, stupid!

    “If you cared even slightly about Global Warming, dependence on Oil, or the environment in general – you would recognize that DENSITY is EXACTLY what the Government should be promoting at a site like AY. It is adjacent/atop to the largest Mass Transit hub in the country (in terms of # of lines intersecting). Such plots are available very very infrequently.”

    This statement show what a retard you are. The price of oil is going down because 1. The Elections 2. The Hee Haw states are getting their assess kicked right now and need cheap gas to get around!!!

    Atlantic Yards is DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get this thru your skull…………….

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • fsrq- I happen to care very much. But while you can use density as the catch all phrase, too much density in one area puts more strain on the environment, and drains resources from the surrounding areas. There has to be a balance. AY isn’t it.And for a different take on putting development on top of already strained transit hubs, please read the panel discussion held at MCNY last month at:
    at-mcny-panel-defending-dissent-and.html. It’s very interesting.

    cmu- sorry to give you the impression aesthetics weren’t important to me. they are very much but I’ve found in the past if I say that I get jumped on for not looking at what is supposedly so much more important. Most people don’t think the visual or psychological aspects of city living are important compared to the financial aspects, and I think just the opposite, so I agree with you on that completely.

  • CMU – The Unity Plan calls for 1500 units of housing which is is FIVE THOUSAND (5000) less units than Atlantic Yards as currently designed.

    While I concur it that isnt (modern) suburban density, where do you suggest those other 5,000 units (probably 10,000 people) go live?

  • If AY were the only development in sight I’s say worry. But they’re not. And we’re talking luxury housing- not affordable or subsidized. Those people have choices and there is not guarantee they would even want to live in AY.

  • bxgirl – “But while you can use density as the catch all phrase, too much density in one area puts more strain on the environment, and drains resources from the surrounding areas.”

    No it doesn’t – this is blatantly false when you are talking about a Global (or even regional) environmental issues.

    Density allows for the most efficient power delivery (most electricity generated is lost in transit), lowest carbon footprint (in terms of transportation, delivery, and HVAC) and economies of scale in terms of handling pollution, sewage and refuse.

    No offense but you do not have a clue as to what you are talking about re: the environmental impact of high density vs. lower density living.

  • And as for your last post – ignoring the fact that 40% or so of AY is slated to be “affordable” – every single unit of housing – no matter what the price has a downward pressure on prices in the long term.

    It is really a simple question. In my 2020 Brooklyn 6500 units of housing are built and being lived in at AY (thats approximatley 12,000 people)

    In your 2020 Brooklyn 1500 units are built at AY (no ofiices or Arena either – about 3,000 people) –

    So forget about the demographics of those people for a second – just answer WHERE do you have these other 9,000 people living in YOUR 2020 Brooklyn?

  • I’m by no stretch an AY/Ratner fan, but fsrg is correct regarding density and the environment and the efficiency of resources. The energy crisis is growing and is only going to get much worse. Any pre-election drops in gas/oil prices are purely temporary and political. We’re going to see a huge move towards urbanization as unless a sustainable, alternative and environmentally friendly energy solution is found. The past 70 or so years of suburban living as we know it will be a thing of the past. I’m not saying Atlantic Yards is THE solution, but we need some alternatives to prepare for and accomodate a migration back to the cities that’s expected over the next few decades.

  • fsrq- you know, I’m really sick of smug, arrogant jackasses calling people who they don’t know and have no clue about what background or education they have, clueless. Want to talk about the efficiency and environmental benefits of high density? take a look at China. Now there’s a helluva carbon footprint. So unless you’re talking about a very controlled development process where everyone does what they’re supposed to, yeah- it could work. Unfortunately your projection is based more on maximizing profit margins than environmentalist issues. And as long as that takes precedence, Beijing here we come. Unlike you, I may be clueless, but I’m not blind nor in denial.

    As speaking of denial, 40% slated to be affordable housing. take a closer look at those numbers and the income range. I should subsidize people with affordable housing who make 100,000 a year? Let’s not be idiots about this. And there is also that little clause about the fact that Ratner has the right to build that affordable housing off site. If in fact it ever gets built at all. And if you believe it will just because Ratner told you so, I have a bridge and a large piece of green cheese I can sell you.

  • “I’m really sick of smug, arrogant jackasses calling people who they don’t know and have no clue about what background or education they have, ”

    bxgrl you smack that out of the park! There are plenty of smug, arrogant jackasses here! But don’t get upset! The implosion will take care of that. I wonder how many smug, arrogant jackasses will be posting here next year..

    The What

    Someday smug, arrogant jackasses is gonna end…

  • Biff- We don’t really know what will happen until we see more of how new energy technology impacts us. The city is not stagnating at its boundaries. It’s expanding outward and eventually will encompass what are surburban areas now- that’s a process that began the day the Dutch set foot on Manhattan island. I’m not saying there is no correlation between density and maximizing efficiency. It am saying tht while it all looks nice on paper it will take a lot more than speculation to make it work in reality.

    If density is the answer to minimizing the environmental impact, what’s that haze in the skyline? Can we talk about the changes in the air quality over densely populated cities and the concentration of toxins, pollution and environmental stressors that build up and go into the atmosphere or spread outward to affect surrounding areas? It’s not just cars that pollute. city people love to eat meat- look at the environmental impact of the beef industry as opposed to agriculture. What about the increased pile up of garbage? Are you going to have facilities to deal with that? Because at some point, the increased density means everything happens more quickly and more intensely and we will simply choke on it if we don’t have a lot of other things in place first.

  • bxgrl, I really think the trend of expansion outward is done for now and there’s already a movement inward. People are already returning to/remaining in the cities, thus the boom in demand for family sized apartments; including families opting to move to Brooklyn over the previously preferred areas in Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, etc.

    I don’t think it’s speculation to state that it’s more environmentally friendly and efficient to have more people take public transportation (versus driving an hour or two each way to their jobs), consume less oil/gas/water in condos and coops versus larger suburban homes, etc.

    City people like meat more than suburban folks? Maybe that’s true, but I can’t remember the last time I had a barbecue, although I can guarantee 99% of the suburbanites I know have had at least one in the last month (and many likely used charcoal, gasp).

    As for pollution, of course cities are going to have to figure out how to deal with and reduce that, but it seems to me they’ve already made progress. The haze above New York actually seems less prominent than it did 10 years ago. I’m not an urban planner, but agreed they will have to resolve many of the logistics with respect to increased garbage, etc. At the end of the day, overall I still believe the suburbanization of America has been extremely detrimental to the environment and we would have been much better off finding ways to encourage people to remain in the cities.

  • Bxgrl:

    China is a brilliant example of how high density housing can completely change a society. Literally millions of people in China have modern, cost efficient housing when 20 years ago they had none. Shanghai alone has more high rise buildings than NYC and they were all constructed since 1990.

    While China does have environmental issues, they have an exceptionally low carbon footprint similar to many African nations where there is no industry and the people are too poor to buy cars.

  • What—you are the smugest jackass on this site. How comical for you to accuse others of this. Noone refutes your points anymore because you don’t allow yourself to be argued with. This in turn causes each entry you make to a thread be a black hole of meaningless vitriol.

  • I agree it has been detrimental. But no more so than intensely populated cities, I think. And I do agree public transportation is something we’ve sadly neglected (I don’t own a car so I can attest to this first hand!). I think the point I was trying to make is that by overbuilding and packing density now, without being able to address the impact through technological innovation or improved services, we’ll simply be running in place or losing ground. If transit is already strained, and in need of repair, how does adding that many more people to a hub fix this? Atlantic Ave. is only one stop on a system that doesn’t meet the city’s needs now.

    Did you read the panel discussion? I posted the link at 2:14. One of the people on the panel talks about transit hubs and development.

  • cmu wrote:

    “The stadium by itself is not the “out-of-scale”-ness that the opponents point to, it’s the 4 (or 6?) huge towers.”

    The arena is about 15 stories. the other 16, not 4 or 6, towers range (as per the proposal) from about 20 to 55 stories.

    fsrg wrote:

    “The Unity Plan calls for 1500 units of housing which is is FIVE THOUSAND (5000) less units than Atlantic Yards as currently designed.”

    The UNITY Plan proposes development over the 8-acre rail yards. Ratner proposes the 6,400 units over 22-acres. So you can see, they are both high density proposals, considering FAR. Admittedly, Ratner’s is extreme density like never before seen in the United States, while the UNITY plan is a reasonable density.

    of course it’s all a nice academic exercise as AY won’t be built (the WHAT is right on that one, though his delivery would have you lose the point) as proposed.

  • I disagree re: suburbs versus cities. The sprawl of the suburbs and associated reliance on cars and gas has done significant damage to our environment/carbon footprint. The historical infamous smog above LA is due to the drivers heading in and out of the center of the city, not due to the city dwellers themselves. I’ll read the panel discussion if you agree to watch The End of Suburbia and Who Killed the Electric Car :-). Ok, I’ll read it now.

    As for public transportation, yes, it’s in a poor shape I think in large part because of the mindset and obsession Americans have with respect to their rights and preferences to drive everywhere. And also because the MTA is horrible at running public transportation. But just because the MTA may have neglected the upkeep of their subways and stations doesn’t mean public transportation cannot work effectively and efficiently. We should also force our officials to push for more walking malls, bicycle lanes, etc.

    Anyway, back to Atlantic Yards…sorry for the digression.

  • Never said that Biff- my point was, and I just found several great reports of the impact of cities on the environment which make the point- density is well and good, and public transportation is important in reducing environmental impact, but it’s only part of the whole problem and Newman’s Environmental Impact of Cities (I’ll send it to you later if you want) makes the point at how crucial they can be to reducing on impact on the environment and more efficient use of resources but also says that in order to accomplish that, other things have to be done to mitigate the effect large, densely populated cities have on their inhabitants and the surrounding areas.

    One of the reports says that in poor or developing countries, large, densely populated cities actually have very little environmental impact because they actually use and reuse resources and recycle so much. Cities in richer countries have a greater impact because they are more wasteful. It also takes city governments to task for poor development policies.

    So essentially we aren’t disagreeing on the ultimate goal of greater density, we just aren’t seeing eye to eye on if overly dense projects like AY -at this point -help or harm.

  • Is anyone bothered that the stadium is being funded almost ENTIRELY by our tax dollars and naming rights?

  • Polemicist- I can’t argue with the fact that the average Chinese has seen vast improvements as China has grown by leaps and bounds. But if it’s true that the carbon footprint is so low, what’s your thinking on the pollution problem? This is from the March 19th issue of the Christian Science Monitor.

    Greenhouse gases are only one part of the environment and while China may still have a small carbon footprint, it’s other environmental problems are huge.

  • bxgrl, sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you were anti-subway by any stretch, especially since you’re a user yourself. I was just trying to say let’s not throw away the baby with the bath water – again, I don’t mean to put words in your mouth and imply that was your point. It was just a general statement.

    And I too think we would agree that there is still tremendous waste in cities that can be easily reduced and most governments aren’t presently doing enough to deal with current and future increases in density and development issues.

    Again, my point isn’t at all that Atlantic Yards is the solution. I’m just stating we will be seeing a long overdue movement back to the cities which city planners and politicians need to try to deal with as best they can.

  • So BxGrl – where are those extra 9,000 people living? You still haven’t responded.

    The problem with your argument (and many others) is that you dont take into account the alternatives – sure 10M people living in extreme density can be very bad for the (local) environment, but 10M people living sprawled all over is much much worse. So unless you are going to be encouraging massive population control – the issue is living in a manner that does the least damage (and most efficient) – again there is no perfect solution.

    Your example of China is beyond silly – they have essentially ZERO environmental laws and regulations and even with that if you think its bad now – you have no idea what it would be like if they lived like Americans (i.e. in suburban enclaves or even Brownstone developments) – the extra pollution just in terms of distributing their coal generated electric (the vast majority of world sources) would be enormous.

    As to the existing strain on mass transit – again you are right – it is crowded already – so the question is – does it make sense (for efficiency and environmentally) to build where there are few or no current subway lines – with the hope that they will one day be built – OR – build where there are alot of subway lines with the hope that capacity can be increased – Since most experts acknowledge that the cheapest and likeliest way to increase the systems capacity is an upgrade of the ancient signaling ( which will allow more trains to run closer and faster) it seems to me building atop subway lines still offers the best hope for a non-car based city – even if the lines are CURRENTLY maxed out (which they aren’t)

    And yes I read your link – and essentially it is a NIMBY solution – it says that there are many underutilized places in NYC that can be developed in a pro-transit manner (very true) – and then goes on to cite Third Ave in the Bronx as one great place for such development (IMHO also true) – SO WHAT – the issue isnt – ‘is there other places to build that are just as good as AY’ – there probably are (and my guess is they have just as many NIMBYs in those places suggesting AY as an alternative)- the issue is what are you going to build at AY – if it is an appropriate spot for density b/c of its location and proximity to mass transit – the fact that there are other locations that are also good is irrelevant – except to those that want to move development away from themselves – i.e. NIMBY

  • fsrq- so where are they living now? You’re predicating what? There’s nowhere for these theoretical 9000 people to live? Do you see them with sleeping bags and little cookout units waiting for AY to be built?

    You wrote:”The problem with your argument (and many others) is that you don’t take into account the alternatives – sure 10M people living in extreme density can be very bad for the (local) environment, but 10M people living sprawled all over is much much worse. So unless you are going to be encouraging massive population control – the issue is living in a manner that does the least damage (and most efficient) – again there is no perfect solution.”

    We agree- there is no perfect solution but the point where we differ is the question of which is worse? My contention is extreme density (and a lot of research agrees) is not necessarily more beneficial or efficient without better urban systems being put in place. In other words, for extreme density in cities to work- and there is agreement that it can be the best solution- there has to be a real policy of city planning in place, infrastructure and technology. Polemecist threw out the fact that China has a very small carbon footprint despite it’s extreme density. But greenhouse gases are only one part of the problem that effects the environment. Look at the link I posted to him- China’s pollution problem is global. As is ours. Whether or not China’s lack of pollution and environmental protection laws is to blame, what’s the reason we have a pollution and environmental impact problem, with all our laws? I used China to show that equating density with efficiency and a better environment is meaningless without a structure to support it.

    I disagree that the panel discussion was a NIMBY solution. The point of the panel discussion was that we need a better approach to increasing density throughout the city.

    I also disagree with “the issue is what are you going to build at AY – if it is an appropriate spot for density b/c of its location and proximity to mass transit.” No one disagrees with building something at AY- No one even argues they shouldn’t build hi-rises (at least I don’t). But in my opinion Ratner’s plan is too big, and packs too much into the area and will put way too much strain on it. that’s like piling 5 tons of brick on a weak beam and then being surprised that it’s cracking and you have to fix it. Over and over again.

    That’s my opinion after a lot of reading and research. You don’t have to agree with it. I don’t agree with everything you say either but I respect your right to it without insulting you for differing.

  • fsrg, by that rationale, why not look further into the future and postulate that there are another 20,000 people who won’t be housed even by AY and we should raze all of brownstone Brooklyn and build high rises a la Shanghai? A straw man argument?

  • CMU you better lookup a ‘strawman argument’ I think you confused….asking where the 9000 or so people currently included in 1 proposal and excluded for another will live is far from any definition of a strawman argument -although arbitrarily coming up with 20k number and suggesting we’d have to knock down all the brooklyn brownstones to house them (like you just did) is alot closer.

  • well, of the 6,430 you really think 9,000 of those residents will be coming from outside of New York City?

  • Evening rush hour trains are already packed.

    9,000 + 15,000 on game nights= subway nightmare.

    Yay. I can’t wait.

  • Anybody who already lives in this area knows that the nearby intersections are already death traps. And we know that Ratner is responsible for the ugliest building in Brooklyn. The fact is that we’re “not Portland” vs. thoughtless development is a mutually exclusive concept, but good development and the creative potential of Brooklyn is a workable concept. This city contains the multitudes. We can do better.