The New York Connection

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

West Side Stadium: Dead or a Zombie?

I heard that the owner of the Mets is thinking of raising the funding the West Side stadium on his own, and that though there are substantial legal obstacles, they aren't insurmountable.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Getting Things Done in NYC

A lot of people are starting to say that we have a culture of inertia, and nothing can get built. I even hear cries like 'We need another Robert Moses'. But there's actually a pretty good roadmap to development, it just isn't a top-down roadmap. Those days are over for two reasons. It's a lot easier to build consensus around a project if you take a sensitive to neighbors approach, and it's a lot harder to build consensus for a project if you don't. You just can't hide the protests and costs, like Moses did by befrieding the publishers of the Times and using that relationship to suppress stories.

The Neighborhood Retail Alliance offers a sense of the new model of getting things done:

The Alliance is in a good position to comment on this issue because we have been involved in derailing more projects than anyone else over the course of twenty years. From our vantage point one thing is clear: where broad-based community support for development is present projects have a good chance of success. In addition, where local stakeholders are given a real piece of the action, generating a successful opposition will be especially difficult.

The best example of this is the building of a Pathmark supermarket in East Harlem. The primary reason for the success was the central role played by the Abyssinian Development Corporation. Abyssinian, as the developer, gave the project a powerful local stakeholder and by doing so enabled proponents to overcome some powerful arguments (related to questionable subsidies), of the independent Hispanic supermarket owners in the area (also helpful was Councilman Guillermo Linares’s betrayal of his fellow Dominicans).

Pathmark played this model successfully a few years later when it co-ventured with the Mid-Bronx Desperados (MDB) on the New Horizons shopping center in Crotona. Giving locals a real stake, then, helps create a tangible support and momentum for development.

We can see some of these same elements in the Ratner plan for Atlantic Yards (we are, admittedly, far from unbiased here). With ACORN and BUILD as stakeholders it has been tough for opponents to get real good traction even with the sticky issue of eminent domain.

All of which brings us to the West Side and the Bronx Terminal Market. The top-down, full speed ahead, we know what’s good for you approach created local enemies and gives ammunition to opponents. The lack of transparency and the presence of cronyism and public subsidies only exacerbate the situation.

So proponents of development need to cultivate local stakeholders and develop a genuine public interest rationale that resonates with local constituencies as well as wider publics. Failing to do this, more than any anti-development climate, is what often dooms the grandiose plans of deputy mayors and developers.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Democrats forgive so easily

There are many New York Democrats who are ready and willing to vote for Bloomberg. Up to this point, their concern with the stadium has been one of their main of the few topics that generated real discussion around the Mayoral election.

And now that Shelly Silver has sunk the stadium, we're amazed at what we're hearing: Democrats saying that without the stadium it's now even easier to vote for Bloomberg.

What are they thinking?

Bloomberg may be losing the stadium battle, but it doesn't change the autocratic style with which he negotiated this process. It doesn't change the corporate cronyism he tried to extend to his friends at the Jets. It doesn't change the dismissiveness with which he treated the concerns of the public.

But as long as the Stadium gets stopped by the happy power consolidation of Albany once cutting our way, are we really willing to forgive the entire process that brought us to this point?

Because his cronyism and dismissiveness won't disappear with his stadium dreams. And with Mayor Bloomberg, this type of absurdity will happen again.

Monday, June 06, 2005

What He Said

Slantpoint is right. He deserved mention.

Stadium Smacked Down

I just heard from a friend that Shelley Silver said no. And since he's on a three person panel that requires unanimity, he gets to take his ball and go home.

Wow. Cool.

Eh, I'm Voting for Mike

I talked to several yuppies at a party this weekend - Bush-hating, blog consuming, hyperpolitical yuppies who hate the stadium deal.... and they're going to vote for Bloomberg. I brought up the points. He raised money for Republicans? Eh, so what, he's not really a Republican. He's an autocrat. Eh, at least he's doing something for the schools. You're weakening the Democratic Party. Eh, I hate the local Democratic Party. I especially hate Miller and Fields. Ferrer is ok I guess.

And that's the level of debate, even though the local retailers that make the city great are going to be threatened by the Bloomberg agenda. Top-down management approaches, while nice when the folks are competent (which Bloomberg surely is), simply destroy neighborhoods. No matter how smart you are, you can't work for the city unless you are from the city and know the city and buy street hot dogs and get mad when the price of ice cream cones with chocolate dip goes up to $3. Ok, I'm rambling, and I'm hungry.

It's a blog, mmkay?

La la land NYC Mayoral Race

What to do with the budget surplus? How about recognize the property bubble and save it for when the city has a massive deficit in a few years?

Nah, that's crazy liberal talk.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

No Rush on the Stadium

For anyone who is ready to bang down Shelly Silver's door for stalling the Stadium question, here is a brilliant round-up of the ever-changing "absolutely positively drop-dead final deadlines" the pro-Stadium monomaniacs keep pushing...courtesy of our friends at The Politicker.