Friday, December 22, 2006

Atlantic Yards: An Extraordinary Team Effort

In today's NY Daily News Errol Louis comments on the unique, broad-based coalition that was put together by FCRC in support of the Atlantic Yards development. While praising the effort, Louis also takes a shot at the Municipal Arts Society head, Kent Barwick, who chided the lack of community support for the project: ""Like many other homeowners and longtime residents of the area, I find that attitude insulting."

The reality is that over 200 block associations and other civic organizations enlisted in support of Atlantic Yards. This does not include the over 100 sports groups that also signed up on the side of the development as members of the Brooklyn Sports Alliance (or, of course, Acorn and Build that were the focal point of so much of the media scrutiny).

The facts here is that the political maestro Bruce Bender and his able sidekick Scott Cantone out-organized and out-thought all of the opposition. Yes FCRC had the resources; but the resources alone wouldn't have won this battle if they hadn't been deployed with such skill. At the end of the day, the victory here was achieved because all of these skills and resources were employed in the service of a project that will generate a tremendous amount of good for Brooklyn and the city as a whole, long after Daniel Goldstein is a small footnote in the city's history.

And for all of the critics of Richard Lipsky who chastised him for selling out, we have only one perpetual question: What have you ever done to prevent any development that might have posed a danger to a neighborhood or the small businesses in it? All these armchair quarterbacks who've never gotten their hands dirty should simply shut up; or better yet, join with the Alliance in its upcoming fight against the Wal-Mart that wants to come into downtown Brooklyn. Then, perhaps, they'll experience the thrill of victory rather than the agony of defeat.