Atlantic Yards foes: Finish this project sooner rather than even later

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Atlantic Yards critics and supporters have finally found something they can agree on: Forest City Ratner needs to get the job done already.

Project foes are pressing the developer to finish the second phase of the much-delayed mega-project — 11 residential towers between Sixth and Vanderbilt avenues currently scheduled to take 15 years longer to complete than initially planned — within the original 10-year window.

“Twenty five years is too long to wait for the open space that was promised to the public as a benefit and that we have paid hundreds of million dollars for in government aid and zoning overrides,” said Danae Oratowski, the chairwoman of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council during a court-mandated forum last week on the potential impact of a quarter-century of construction.

Finishing the project sooner rather than even later wouldn’t just deliver its much-hyped but not-yet material perks — it would also spare neighbors a generation of construction-related headaches.

If Forest City Ratner can’t wrap things up within the original timeline, critics said Empire State Development, which oversees the project, should divvy up the development among other builders.

“[Empire State Development] needs to develop alternatives for building out in 10 years, perhaps with different developers if current developers are unwilling,” said long-time development critic Jim Vogel.

Many at the meeting were quick to point out the rare kumbaya-moment when Atlantic Yards critics and supporters came to a brief accord.

“If you like Atlantic Yards, because it offers jobs and the promise of affordable housing, would you rather see it in 10 years or 25 years? If you don’t like Atlantic Yards because you’re concerned about some of the construction impacts … do you want to endure those for 10 years or for 25 years?” said Gib Veconi, a member of Brooklyn Speaks, an activist group dedicated to Atlantic Yards oversight.

Forest City Ratner said it is running late because of delays caused by lawsuits and ailing economy.

“We hope to build out the project as fast as possible,” said spokesman Joe DePlasco.

Representatives from Empire State Development, which will study the effects of 25 years of construction and issue a legally binding timeline and plan for the second phase of the project, did not respond to questions for comment.

Backers of the project agree that Atlantic Yards must be finished sooner rather than even later — and they don’t want the Empire State Development environmental review getting in the way.

“Now is not the time to create delays, now is the time to go forward,” said Andrew Steininger, the vice president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 10:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Let's not forget that we had Ratner's word on this or so many believed they had until it was too late to realize that.
March 7, 2013, 5:24 pm
JAY from NYC says:
lets not forget that tal makes up things and calls people neo nazis simply because he does not agree with them.
March 7, 2013, 6:58 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
This is what you get when you live in Ratnerville. Thanks, Marty.
March 7, 2013, 7:21 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal... You still think cars use leaded gas.
March 7, 2013, 7:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Meanwhile, there is a carpenter's union protesting about the claim that they were being promised jobs when they were lied about it. Unfortunately, had they been protesting this before any demolition started years ago, that would have meant something. Keep in mind that it was those people who went to hearings in the past and said that we must build this, because it will give all the needed jobs. Also, they were known for going to up where Daniel Goldstein lived and chanted, "Hey ho! Goldstein got to go!" Just like the former BUILD members, this carpenters union is just too little too late, and the damage was already done.
March 7, 2013, 9 pm
JAY from NYC says:
more b.s. from tal about "those" people (is that bigot code for black tal?) and "they". Try getting your facts correct Tal, the protest is about one group trying to de-certify a union. DO you EVER read ANYTHING?
March 7, 2013, 9:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
JAY, this has absolutely nothing to do with race. BTW, there were blacks that opposed this project just as much especially the politicians. Bruce Levine, who is known for writing on Counter Punch, once explained how Ratner was using the race card to get his way. Still, my claim wasn't about race, it was about people who believed that they were getting something when they really weren't, and this can be to any group. To quote PT Barnum, "A sucker is born every minute."
March 8, 2013, 7:21 pm

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