Recent Developments

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WNYC Reporter Matthew Schuerman reports on recent developments at development hotspots around the city: Atlantic Yards, West Harlem, Kingsbridge Armory and the Broadway Triangle. He is joined by Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. for more on the Kingsbridge project and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's Daniel Goldstein on his fight against the Atlantic Yards project.


Daniel Goldstein, Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Matthew Schuerman

Comments [45]

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Daniel Goldstien should be thanked for standing up to that project rather than condemned. He has every right to keep his property. I hope in the end the Nets moving to Brooklyn fails and the team ends up in Newark. We should be spending our tax dollars on real public projects and its sector, not making a rich man richer. The alternative to the Vanderbuilt Yards isn't to leave them undeveloped, it's to give it to other developers with a more reasonable scale and give more promises that Bruce Ratner would never keep.

Dec. 17 2009 06:01 PM
Nick from Inwood, Manhattan

The Kingsbridge Armory is at the Southern Gateway of a major education corridor in the Bronx with Lehman College, Walton High School, Bronx Science, DeWitt Clinton, and High School of American Studies @ Lehman College (housed in trailers) among others all along Reservoir and Goulden Avenues from Kingsbridge Road to Mosholu Parkway. The Armory could be developed to support and supplement these educational facilities. Construction jobs saved, high paying skilled jobs created and young people educated. Or maybe we just want them all to hang out at the mall all day instead?

Dec. 17 2009 01:01 PM
Daniel Goldstein from Brooklyn

anonymous bk, you wrote:

Brian, I understand that both Daniel Goldstein and his wife are salaried employees of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, so if the Atlantic Yards redevelopment proceeds, they'd both be out of work. This point should be brought up, but seldom is.

You'd be wrong. And even if you were correct, how is that relevant to anything? It isn't. But since you are on the topic, I do understand that the CBA groups have admitted to receiving millions from Ratner, this point should be brought up, but seldom is. It is relevant.

Dec. 17 2009 10:49 AM
Josh from Brooklyn


Just to let you know, they live in a building that didn't sell out. Out of work is the least of their problems. If he development proceeds, they'd be homeless. Would you like to use your home for the NJ Nets?

Dec. 17 2009 10:37 AM
antonio from park slope

Macy's, JCpenny, bed bath and beyond all offer wages at about that level, w/some providing other benefits.. I worked at a retail store in the late 90's that paid me about $10.50.. And it is a red herring to suggest to if the population can afford to shop there. Perhaps the greater issue is, can't the community get something out of a deal that they are subsidizing? I.E. please see the yankee stadium debacle...

Dec. 17 2009 10:35 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#24 (Sara),
When you single out one party over all others and say “you must pay more while everyone else gets to pay less”, then business owners (mall tenants) are being penalized for leasing in that specific development. Please re-read my comment you’ve chosen to take out of its intended context.

Dec. 17 2009 10:34 AM

Brian, I understand that both Daniel Goldstein and his wife are salaried employees of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, so if the Atlantic Yards redevelopment proceeds, they'd both be out of work. This point should be brought up, but seldom is.

Dec. 17 2009 10:33 AM
lucy K from Brooklyn

The people in the Bronx had the advantage of learning from all the other development fights in the city and against the Mayor who has pushed development and has give billions of subsidies to his developer friends. The Bronx had the support of their Boro President which must have made a big difference to the Council members. In Brooklyn, the clownish Markowitz has bent over backwards for the Atlantic Yards project.

Rubin Diaz rightly learned that the people in the area are the smartest in knowing what will work in their own area and what their needs are. When the local people promote the project, then it gets done without a struggle. That is smart development.

Dec. 17 2009 10:32 AM
addison goodson from beacon,new york

a living wage is crucial, especially when giving tax credits to private companies. Perhaps the armory can serve as a job training center for union jobs, green jobs, twentyfirst century jobs, or entrepeneurship-or maybe a youth center with culinary arts, film, music, arts training ?

Dec. 17 2009 10:32 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

The Columbia case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court if the Court of Appeals doesn't uphold Kaur in which case the Supreme Court will probably uphold the Appellate Division against Columbia.

Dec. 17 2009 10:31 AM
D from NYC

I worked on the Moynihan East Development. In that project the ESDC was willing to declare the entire block south of MSG "blighted" in order to give the developer (Related and Vornado) the ability to put a parking garage and transfer some of their development rights from the MSG site to this block to build office and residential buildings...basically a give away after all the other concessions they were making in the project.

Dec. 17 2009 10:31 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

The bottom line here, is that Atlantic Yards had no government or public oversight. The state and city are giving hundreds of millions of dollars to a private developer at a time when Paterson is cutting funding to schools and getting sued for it. How a basketball area is public use is beyond me. And its a team that people in Brooklyn couldn't care less about. Nobody is going to go there.

also, with wage jobs, isn't the point to raise people out of poverty. The more people earn, the more people spend, then you can afford to pay other people more and so on. If you adjust for inflation, the minimum wage was higher in 1968. Why would we suppress wages to the lowest common denominator. If you want to keep wages down, go to Wal-mart

Dec. 17 2009 10:30 AM
Joe Pilla from Kingsbridge Heights

The City Council's vote against the Mayor's and Reliance's "take-it-or-leave-it" approach to development at the Armory is heartening.
If only it had been so courageous when similar votes were held regarding the disastrous filtration plant plan for Van Cortlandt Park or the new Yankee Stadium. Many jobs were promised, but FEW went to Bronx residents, despite massive gov't subsidies and contracts to the private sector.

Dec. 17 2009 10:29 AM
LH from Manhattan

Brian, the "community members" did not go to court against Columbia re: eminent domain. Two plaintiffs are represented in that case: the owner of a storage facility (who is not a resident of West Harlem) and the owners of two gas stations.

Dec. 17 2009 10:29 AM
addison goodson from beacon,new york

perhaps we can create a job training or apprenticeship ( for union jobs) program; a culinary arts institute, entrepeneurship training, computer training or twenty-first century job (green ) training-or just a community center in the old armory?

Dec. 17 2009 10:27 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

Regarding the use of eminent domain at Atlantic Yards, lawyer and eminent domain expert Gideon Kanner summarized what happened in the Columbia University eminent domain expansion case (Kaur). Normally, problems with due process prevent court examination of the facts but, he said in Kaur the New York Appellate Division had a chance to examine:

“the unseemly facts underlying the decision to condemn and found them to give rise to a miasma of favoritism, conflict of interest, procedural mistreatment of the condemnees, and deliberate blighting of the area.”

The cast of characters in the Kaur case (substituting Forest City Ratner for Columbia University) is virtually identical. The facts of abuse are very much the same, in some respects even worse.

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Dec. 17 2009 10:26 AM
JT from NYC

#20 - The son sounds slightly better than the father. But anyway "Jr." did what he needed to do to further his political career. It's amazing though what people genuinely believe they're entitled to nowadays. Welfare, subsidezed rents, free student Metro cards, etc. These were supposed to be a gifts and a helping hand but I guess when you have 3 generations in a family taking advantage of these service, it becomes normal. There's a reason they say "don't feed the bears."

Dec. 17 2009 10:26 AM
Nick from NYC

So, the "living wage" is ca $11/hour.

That's ca. $22,100 per year.

About $1900 a month.

I'd like to know how many WNYC listeners think that's a "living wage" and could survive on that.

And, then consider that wage for people with children.

Our economy has a fundamental sickness when we're talking about this and the salaries and bonuses of CEOs in the same breaths.

By the way, how did that "War on Poverty" work out?

Dec. 17 2009 10:26 AM
oe from nyc

did diaz support the new yankee stadium??

Dec. 17 2009 10:24 AM
Anon from Staten Island

The Mayor's reaction to defeat of the Kingsbridge Armory project is typical of his style of management. It's all about appearance and what looks good "on paper," NOT substantial and REAL improvement.

He makes his dig about lost jobs, but doesn't look at what happens when hundreds of low-paying minimum-wage jobs are all that are available to the unemployed. Minimum wage jobs do not pay enough for anyone with children who will need daycare, not enough for the workers to afford to buy health care, nutritious food, and not enough to afford the ever-rising cost of transportation necessary even to get TO the jobs. These jobs are only good for corporations who will exploit those who need help. But if the project went through with a minimum-wage standard, the mayor could--and would--claim credit for lowering unemployment.

This is similar to his crowing about the new South Ferry subway station, which "looks" nice but yields fewer trains on the West Side (increased frequency of skipped stops and longer times between trains which causes more crowding on each train and longer loading at each stop). And it follows his idea that higher "inside the city" test scores mean his education theory is working even though nationwide, our higher-testing kids are not improving (teaching the tests, or dumbing down the tests?).

Dec. 17 2009 10:24 AM
hjs from 11211

does mr diaz agree with his father that gay men and women should not have human rights??

Dec. 17 2009 10:22 AM

#18 writes: "If the problem was a living wage in NYC, raise the minimum wage. Do no penalize business owners."

Wouldn't this penalize business owners, by raising the minimum wage? Isn't this the typical argument against it?

I agree with Diaz, and hope that the decision by the city council sets a new precedent for development in the city.

Dec. 17 2009 10:21 AM
john from office

There should be a diction requirement for public office, Diaz belongs on a street corner, with a sqweegy.

Dec. 17 2009 10:21 AM
Derek from 42nd St.

Finally, after 8 year of rubberstamping Bloombergs policies of enriching his wealth friends and building speculators the weak NYC Council has stood up to Bloomberg. Also Bloomberg has destroyed the Bronx business around the new Yankees Stadium. Bloomberg only cares about his legacy that was his campaign slogan, he didn't want to see his policies reversed.

Dec. 17 2009 10:20 AM
Robert from NYC

He's got that right!

Dec. 17 2009 10:19 AM
john from office

Who sounds more ignorant, Daiz or his father, the Bible thumper.

Dec. 17 2009 10:18 AM
Robert from NYC

So did the Atlantic Yards support by Marky Markowitz have anything to do with him now being able to afford and more than one million dollar home he and his wife just purchased! He was ticked off that the press reported it. Bravo NY1 you're getting a backbone too.

Dec. 17 2009 10:18 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

The project is dead (the armory), let it stay dead.
If the problem was a living wage in NYC, raise the minimum wage. Do no penalize business owners. Related wouldn’t be the entity paying higher wages on top of rent and other overhead. Diaz can’t even see that (what’s the problem with politicians named Diaz in this city), unless he assumes rents will be kept artificially low.
Why would anyone move into a mall with wage mandates when there is plenty of cheaper retail real estate in the same neighborhood.
Bronx has cut off its nose to spite its face.

Dec. 17 2009 10:18 AM
CT from Upper Manhattan

I applaud the Council for rejecting the Kingsbridge development. They've so rarely stood up for fiscal responsibility and the public's interest vs. developers' interest in the past, so this vote came as a welcome surprise. I can only hope that it is a harbinger of better governance to come.

Dec. 17 2009 10:17 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

If people in mall jobs must be paid $11.00 an hour, then a $10 tee-shirt will cost $25. Who can afford to shop there?

Dec. 17 2009 10:16 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

To answer #9 (Amy): IF the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since the Reagan Disaster, the wage would be up around $10 or $11 (or more) per hour anyway -- nationwide.

Bloomberg is just another anti-labor money-grubber who demands one standard for himself and his cronies and another for everyone else.

Dec. 17 2009 10:16 AM
Robert from NYC

It's kinda easy for a billionaire to be against a living wage job. Well NYC you just had the chance to dump this guy and you didn't! He didn't get my vote and did my best to campaign against him but now you are stuck with him for the next 4 years and without term limits laws dissolved.

Dec. 17 2009 10:15 AM
RLewis from bowery

When I was a teen I worked at my local mall for minimum wage, which was about $4/hr then. Why should kids working in this mall make $11/hr? And wouldn't it be better to give them work, and keep them from hangin' on the corner and getting in trouble?

Dec. 17 2009 10:14 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Ruben Diaz has hit the nail on the head. Bloomberg simply does not believe in democracy. He demands rights of dictatorship just as he dictates in his fiefdom of Bloomberg, LLP.

I have yet to see even one shred of evidence that Bloomberg supports genuine democratic practice. If he doesn't get his way, he throws a hissy fit like he did when he lost the vote on Kingsbridge.

What a pathetic excuse for a human being -- a small, insecure man who has to compensate by putting down those who are already at a disadvantage with respect to him.

Dec. 17 2009 10:13 AM
john from office

Mr. Diaz needs to go back to Highschool or get his GED. He sounds soooooo Ignorant. It is tragic.

Dec. 17 2009 10:12 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

Congrats to all for standing up to Bloomberg. If that armory sits there for 30 more years, that's on him.

Dec. 17 2009 10:12 AM
Amy from Brooklyn

Can anyone name a retail store that starts employees at $11.50? Could the local populace afford to shop at a store like that?



Dec. 17 2009 10:11 AM
john from office

This situation shows the ignorance of the leadership in the Bronx. The Boro President cheered the failure of the passage. The leadership is alful, ignorant, undereducated and corrupt

This is about getting back at Bloomberg and the "man". The tragic part of this is the lack of leadership.

Dec. 17 2009 10:10 AM
Robert from NYC

The Mayor is full of crap when he talks as if he's concerned about Bronxite's low job rate. If he really cared he'd have fought to get a decent income for those workers he's concerned about. It's all about his development friends to make more and more money and nothing else. There's more development in the Bx over the past decade even just 5 years that there's barely any space to breathe and it's all been done with Atlantic Development!! Who are they? Any relation the Atlantic Yards folks? The mayor's friends? You betcha!! Bravo President Diaz and City Council, you're developing a backbone.

Dec. 17 2009 10:10 AM
RLewis from bowery

Is the $11/hr rate for All jobs in the mall? What about part-time jobs or kids selling shoes or chix sandwichs - do they have to be at the high rate, too?

Dec. 17 2009 10:10 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

1. Subsidizing Private Interests: Bloomberg is lying, as usual. The city grants plenty of subsidies to private corporations through (a) tax breaks, (b) sweetheart land deals, (c) special deals to evade rules on landmarks, zoning, etc.

2. Living Wage: The LOGICAL implication of Bloomberg's bluster is that Bloomberg OPPOSES the minimum wage also. New York's minimum wage is higher than other parts of the country, so Bloomberg opposes that, but he must also oppose ANY minimum wage.

Dec. 17 2009 10:05 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

We shouldn’t let Governor Paterson off the hook on Atlantic Yards either.

Last week Paterson announced that the state had less than $3 million in cash on hand. He said that dire, drastic cuts are necessary. But how can Governor Paterson expect legislators to take him seriously about LEGISLATIVE BRANCH-CONTROLLED spending when he has refused to do anything about Atlantic Yards, which is the premier example of EXECUTIVE BRANCH-CONTROLLED pork barrel spending.

Paterson directs the board of the ESDC and the MTA. Whenever he wants he could immediately staunch the flow of the $2-$3 billion in taxpayer subsidies slated to go to Forest City Ratner (with an enormous NET LOSS to the public). There is no better example of crony-capitalism that the no-bid award of a huge mega-monopoly on Brooklyn Development to FCR.

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Dec. 17 2009 10:01 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

After the MTA’s June meeting, WNYC reported (in a Matthew Schuerman report as we recall) that the MTA was giving Ratner the hundreds of millions of dollars in extra subsidy because there were no other developers interested in bidding against Ratner. From the record of what was openly said in the MTA meeting it is possible to tell that the MTA never even tried to find alternative bidders. (In fact, the MTA turned down the DDDB bid on behalf of the community.)

Are there no other developers interested in bidding other than Ratner? The developers we talk to say they would be quite interested in bidding for the rail yards. Willets Point just got 29 responses to its Request for Qualifications for developers. Coney just attracted 50 interested bidders.

The truth is the MTA went out of its way to avoid the competitive bids they told WNYC they could NOT GET. The reason they did this is that the MTA was protecting a wired deal and has been fending off Ratner competitors since the beginning. Among other things they did not inform the public that they had no contract at all with Ratner through at least last summer. (Eliminating competition is also on reason eminent domain is being used.)

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Dec. 17 2009 09:50 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

We also note that we went before the MTA board yesterday to make the point that the MTA’s and the State’s budget deficits needn’t be anywhere near so large if there were not diverting so many hundreds of millions of dollars into this no-bid Forest City Ratner mega-monopoly. MTA Chairman Walder actually made a point consistent with this. He said:

“In the two months that I’ve been here, it’s apparent to me that we don’t operate in a way that ensures that every taxpayer dollar that we receive is being used as effectively as possible . . . In short, we need to take the place apart.”

Some of the history on this:

MAY 20TH : Bloomberg said he was turning off Atlantic Yard’s subsidy spigot
MAY 27TH: It was revealed Bloomberg and his MTA Board representatives were collaborating to give Forest City Ratner more than $180 million in additional no-bid subsidies from the MTA
LAST WEEK: Bloomberg says:

"I don't know why anybody is surprised at what is happening to the MTA," . . . "It's a piggy bank that keeps getting raided.”

The MTA could act immediately to stop Atlantic Yards and recover hundreds of millions of dollars for themselves and billions for the public overall just by settling the lawsuit brought against them for violating the Public Authorities Accountability Act for their no-bid giveaways to Ratner.

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Dec. 17 2009 09:22 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

Noticing New York has written an open letter to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli calling for an investigation and halt to the proposed issuance of the Nets arena bonds.

See: Sunday, December 13, 2009, To Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli: Investigate and Halt Issuance of Arena Bonds

There is still time for these government officials to act: The bonds have been sold but they have not yet been issued. It would be better for Cuomo and DiNapoli to act now, before the issuance rather than later even though they would have to step in between Goldman Sachs and their transaction fees. Still, they might be doing Goldman a favor; preventing Goldman from legal entanglements later on when the bonds are redeemed early and/or have to default.

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Dec. 17 2009 09:19 AM

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