Monday, August 07, 2006

NY Times Gets One Right

In yesterday's NY Times the paper came out strongly in support of the Atlantic Yards project. As the paper points out, "The opportunities it presents, and the nearly 7,000 apartment units it will provide a housing-starved city, outweigh the problems it would entail." The Times also points to the 2,200 units that will be geared to low, moderate and middle income New Yorkers.

The Times also singles out the bringing back of professional sports to Brooklyn, something that has been dear to our hearts and has been the focus of RL's work for FCRC. Not everyone agrees of course. In a letter posted on the DDD website a fellow from Park Slope wonders, "Why exactly is it important for Brooklyn to have a major sports team-when 25% of the population of the borough lives under the poverty level?"

This guy doesn't really get it. In the first place a new franchise, one that doesn't preexist in the city, will be a tremendous revenue generator for New York. In addition, the construction of the arena will generate thousands of jobs and mechanisms are in place to have job training for those in the neighborhood who need to be trained. This is all called economic development and it is through economic development that people do get a chance to find work.

As importantly, the Nets coming to Brooklyn does create a wonderful opportunity for the young people in the borough. This will not be a franchise that will ignore the kids in the neighborhoods. It will need these youngsters, and those dedicated adults like Coach Screen in Flatbush and Jocko Jackson in Brownsville, to build a successful foundation for the team.

That is why FCRC has collaborated with the youth teams and their leaders to form the Brooklyn Sports Alliance. Sports, if utilized properly, can become a powerful tool for young people who need hope and leadership and goals in order to succeed. The primary focus of the BSA will be to create the kind of opportunities so young people in Brooklyn will be able to develop the skills to succeed in life.

As for the questions about "meaningful" review we only have this to add: The AY project has been the most reviewed project in our memory. When opponents talk about better review in this regard what they generally mean is for more opportunities to dramatize their grievances.

So AY has been inspected to death and the critics have given us an exhaustive array of faults that they say make the project unworthy of support. They'll have another chance this month and later in September. After which all we'll be waiting for is that first shovel in the ground that will signal the coming of the Nets to Brooklyn.