So, Daniel, how was YOUR weekend?

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Atlantic Yards project’s most-dogged critic, Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, went to Cleveland on Friday to confront development company officials on why their project should be abandoned.

As one might expect, company officials were not persuaded.

Goldstein was the only shareholder who asked a question at Friday’s annual meeting in Cleveland, the home base of Forest City Enterprises, the parent company of Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner.

Goldstein, whose Pacific Street apartment would be demolished to make room for Ratner’s basketball arena, bought a few shares in the company earlier this year so that he could attend the meeting. An audio recording is here (Goldstein’s comments come about an hour into the meeting, though the Web cast does not work with all browsers).

Here is what he asked:

“Forest City is losing $30 million a year while the Nets stay in New Jersey.

“The project is being redesigned and faces a new political approval process, staunch and widespread community opposition, ongoing and potential new litigation, diminished political support, an extremely challenging economic environment in which to finance an $800-million arena and 6,400 housing units.

“And [on Friday], it became official that Frank Gehry will no longer be the project’s architect, which raises questions about Forest City’s $400-million naming-rights deal with Barclays Bank, and the entire arena revenue model.

“You don’t own the land you need or have the financing you need to construct the arena or the rest of the project. Yet you claim you will finance it, break ground this year and open the arena in 2011, which is already an impossibility. This means the losses from keeping the team in Meadowlands will continue to mount.

“You also have a looming end-of-year IRS deadline to issue the tax-exempt arena bond, and missing the deadline would cost Forest City an estimated $150–190 million, likely spelling doom for the project.

“Given all of these challenges, can you let the Forest City Enterprises shareholders know [the] contingency plans if and when you don’t break ground in 2009 and can’t open the arena in Brooklyn in 2011?”

The answer came from Forest City Enterprises Co-chairman Al Ratner:

“The company does believe that it will start the project during this year,” he said, declining further comment because, he said, of ongoing litigation.

Goldstein later he told the Atlantic Yards Report that he did not go to the meeting merely as a project critic.

“I went to the meeting to raise the issues I raised with shareholders and board members based in Cleveland and those listening to the Web cast,” he said. “I went to challenge Forest City Ratner’s assertions about their ability to start the arena construction in 2009, and open it in 2011. I did not expect any answers.”

Forest City Ratner officials could not be reached in time for The Brooklyn Paper’s spicy online deadline, but last week, the company said that the firing of Frank Gehry and the hiring of the architecture firm Ellerbe Becket would save enough money to kickstart the project, which has been delayed, partly by litigation, but mostly by the stalled ecomomy.

Despite the changes, and contrary to Goldstein’s comments, the project still enjoys the political support of many local officials, including Borough President Markowitz, Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Paterson.

Opponents have been arguing that the project has changed so much since its approval in late 2006 that it needs to be re-reviewed and abandoned.

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
If Daniel can buy 10,000,000 extra shares, he can fire Ratner and turn metro tech into affordable housing. Oh, and he could sign Lebron and then send him to the Knicks for a pair of socks and "the french phantom" Frederick Weiss' rights.
June 8, 2009, 2:08 am
judahspechal from Bed-Stuy says:
This Joker is wild!!!
June 8, 2009, 11:51 am
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Must be nice to have $$$ to buy stock, power. Jet off to another state, just to be a fly in the ointment, to pass out wrong information. Just to deprive unemployed people an opportunity to make an honest days pay. Just to deprive poor people a chance at decent housing. How glib!!!! What chutzpa this guy has.
June 8, 2009, 12:06 pm
Daniel Goldstein from Prospect Heights says:
I bought 5 shares. Cost me 20 dollars. Pretty affordable purchase. At the meeting nobody contested what I had to say. Perhaps it wasn't wrong information, or they would have straightened me out on it.

When I asked the board at FCE how they were going to build their project or, as you write, create housing for "poor people" and jobs for "unemployed people," they had no answer.

But I've got an answer, you can't do it by blighting the neighborhood and speculating on real estate.

And there were a number of sharholders in the room who approached me after and thanked me for the questions I asked and were dismayed that the Board Chairman did not answer.
June 8, 2009, 1:57 pm
Charles from Park Slope says:
Mr. Goldstein has got what is called Chutzpah (Hutzpah), which in Yiddish means confidence and boldness. This character traits is something all New Yorkers should aspire to, especiialy if the middle class wants to keep the hands of greedy developers off their property and communities.
June 8, 2009, 2:46 pm
Rocky from South Brooklyn says:
He's also got thin skin and rabbit ears - since he replied to a commenter with lightning speed. Also a trust fund. What a pain.
June 8, 2009, 2:50 pm
Steve Harry from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Sorry Goldstein's apartment would be demolished, but he would be duly compensated. Downtown Brooklyn needs this arena project for it to prosper. Daniel, get a hobby or a job or both. Stop abusing the courts to put obstacles in the way of bettering our neighborhood. The vast majority are FOR constuction and we will be more vocal about it.
June 8, 2009, 3:11 pm
Ace from Bath Beach says:
we need this project like a hole in the head. ratner needs it in attempt to satisfy insatiable greed. Go take a stroll behind Lincoln Center one night and report back to us on the neighborhood feel.
June 8, 2009, 4 pm
Johnny from Clinton Hills says:
Goldstein is my hero! Seriously. I hope Bloomberg secretly funds DDDB.
June 8, 2009, 4:43 pm
femme from prospect heights says:
not in my backyard! good work, daniel.
June 8, 2009, 5:28 pm
femme from prospect heights says:
part of what so horrifies me about the yards project is the impact that it would inevitably have on emergency vehicles that use flatbush avenue. does ratner know what a difference a few seconds can make to someone in cardiac arrest?

maybe not. given his callousness toward the people who would be displaced by this project he is could be an anatomical curiousity--one born without a functioning heart.

June 8, 2009, 5:33 pm
femme from prospect heights says:
part of what so horrifies me about the yards project is the impact that it would inevitably have on emergency vehicles that use flatbush avenue. does ratner know what a difference a few seconds can make to someone in cardiac arrest?

maybe not. given his callousness toward the people who would be displaced by this project he is could be an anatomical curiosity--one born without a functioning heart.

June 8, 2009, 5:35 pm
freddy from slope says:
hey rocky,

get a grip. anyone can learn about comments on a thread within hours.

learn what a google alert is. a way to keep informed at nearly a moments notice.

if more people were more informed earlier on daniel wouldn't be lifting such a heavy burden.

and for once will all of you "what about the jobs?" proponents take a look at what ratner gets in return for each job? if i said i'll give you a dollar for every two dollars i take from the city, would that be ok?

oh, and remember, they are using public $$ and refusing to make information public.

fight on daniel, fight on.
June 9, 2009, 10:02 am
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Mr Goldstein, that ugly barn that Ratner is replacing Gehry's masterful design with, will be your legacy for six years of useless legal obstructionism. Just think 50 yrs from now it will be there for your kids & grand kids to celebrate. The great citizens of our fear city will remember you every time they look at it. It will be there for the landmark preservation society to consider not.
Any truth to the rumor that your successful whirlwind, jet setting trip to Cleveland accomplished the following: FCR has decided against naming arena Barclays Center & will instead call it 'The Daniel Goldstein Community Barn". I also heard you got FCR to permit the use of the Barn as a food CO-OP on the weekends during the off-season. Who knew 20 bucks was that powerful.
PS. I couldn't figure how Ratner was going to build another ugly structure in our fear borough. Who knew you were part of FCR all along. You played a great Boy Wonder to Ratner's Batman.
Great work! You are also my hero!
June 9, 2009, 10:08 am
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Femme from Prospect Heights. Great job! You are using that tried & truly emotional thread method to get sympathy to your side. Anyone who has seen an Emergency Vehicle on a congested street knows that the other drivers has more to do with that vehicle getting to where it needs to go, irregardless of where that person in distress is.
Why don't you think of some more alarmist talking points, we could put out there?
June 9, 2009, 11:49 am
JuDUH from bed stuy says:
Judah, if this schlock gets built it will be the legacy of Ratner, Marty, Pataki, Spitzer, Paterson and Bloomberg. take your red herrings elsewhere.
June 9, 2009, 12:36 pm
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
True!, But let's give credit to all who truly deserve it too. No really, I insist! Mr. Goldstein, DDDB, Council Woman James, Boldface Celebrities & The anti-Development Associations of Greater Brooklyn, USA. Three cheers! They did an excellent job in helping Mr Ratner achieving what will be something uglier than Metro Tech. But let's not loose sight of what's really good. Jobs!!! Jobs!! Jobs!!! Affordable Housing!!! Affordable Housing!!! Affordable Housing!!! See, even I know how to use talking points. Good gracious me!!
June 9, 2009, 1:25 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
let's move on already, build the arena, throw down those derlect buildings and build up the area. it's fifty years overdue.
June 9, 2009, 3:04 pm
Alan from Sheepshead Bay says:
I will change my position on Atlantic Yards, by opposing it, on one condition. Goldstein, compensates all the people who will lose out on jobs, business and tax income, that the city will lose out on if Atlantic Yards, is not built. God take you Daniel Goldstein.
June 9, 2009, 9:15 pm
Barbara from Clinton Hill says:
Daniel Goldstein is a hero. God bless you for having the determination, guts and tenacity to keep on fighting unbelievable odds. Where do many of the all powerful construction unions get bused in from at all of the meetings? Is it o.k. to continue to PAY them to shout people down at public meetings? Affordable housing, that is one tired OLD argument and very very meaningless, when you analize the FACTS of Mr. Ratner's proposals...what happened to all of the people who HAD lived in the buildings Mr. Ratner acquired??? He paid them off and they are GONE. How much will the basketball arena tickets cost? THIS is a public benefit? Forget it. It is not. It is NOT a FREE public park, it a very CLEVER way for a billlionaire to get even richer AT PUBLIC EXPENSE by pretending to convey public benefit. FCR is no angel and the public SHOULD NOT bear his costs for him to make even MORE profit. Thank you Daniel Goldstein for all of us who can see through this ever so horrible NYC b.s. No word re: the electric grid in NYC which can not support this, or the sewer system OR the historic bridges with a tsusami of congestion of MORE cars when we want LESS cars. My mother's friends need a TAXI now to cross Flatbush & Atlantic Ave, if Ratner gets to build anything other than an outhouse, her friends will need a helicopter to cross the street. In fact, that's what we need now.
June 9, 2009, 9:43 pm
Peter from Fort Greene says:
"God take you Daniel Goldstein" If you are implying what I think you are implying Alan from Sheepshead Bay you should be ashamed of yourself. But I'm not sure if you have access to a sense of shame. When I read some of the reader comments in this paper and have come face-to-face when some of the pro-yards supporters at our rallies I have experienced a lot of ugliness and threatened violence. The way that people have presented themselves is emblematic of how this project has been run from the beginning; it's been hit'em in the mouth and threaten people out of their homes and deny people the right to express themselves. Last night a meeting was held about the future of the opposition to the Atlantic Yards project. It was great to have a peaceful and civil forum last night in which people were allowed to share their thoughts and speak their minds. We discussed how the DDDB Unity Plan proposal is an alternative development plan which opens the project up to multiple developers, more immediate employment opportunities, and more affordable housing, with more money going into the community than into the hands of one development company. There's your JOBS and HOUSING. Discussion, opposition, and a freedom to fight for what you believe in are things that make our society great. Dialogue is necessary for our community. That is how community should be and how such important decision should be made. Thank you Daniel Goldstein and Tish James for speaking truth to power and creating a space for dialogue.
June 10, 2009, 1:30 pm
john from ditmas very west says:
Goldstein deserves the Mary Bienstock Award for Civic Obstructionism. His alternate "plans" and their supporters remind me of those supporters of the "real" war, the one in Afghanistan. As long as he doesn't use his new dreadful architectural team, maybe Ratner would better serve Brooklyn by building in East New York (railroad tracks abound there) and letting Atlantic Yards remain ramshackle and mind-numbingly dull.
June 10, 2009, 3:17 pm
Anon from Cobble Hill says:
Go for it, Daniel. As the NY Times declared of this project just yesterday - Ratner has betrayed all public trust, that arenas are ALWAYS a black hole in a city's landscape and coffers, that this project has had no transparency and has been, basically, a pack of lies from the get-go. Daniel has chosen to defend Brooklyn and we should all be mighty grateful for his activism. Instead of being an ignoramous "Judah Specal", why not learn the facts of this project and work with real citizens who, along with Daniel, are trying to get the best development for our borough, not fill the pockets of greedy developers like Ratner? Have you ever been to Atlantic Center? Do you actually think we need more of his schlock developments?
June 10, 2009, 4:24 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
So Daniel are you down with buying out Ratner, since you are a high roller in the stock business, so this project can finally go away and you can assure the Knicks get Lebron.
June 11, 2009, 1:51 am
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Any truth to the rumor that Norm from went in half on Dan's stock? I bet it didn't pay that well.
June 11, 2009, 1:55 am

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