Re-examining the Barclays Center ground-breaking, Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report questions whether Brooklyn got played. In a series of pieces, he looks at the role of Jay-Z, clerical supporters of the Brooklyn project and even the Nets charitable contributions.
Oder writes the Nets ownership strategy was to "heap praise" on Jay-Z at the ground breaking to hide the "oligarch" who wasn't there. Mikhail Prokhorov, he writes, will reap "significant government subsidies, tax breaks, and the extraordinary power of eminent domain." His Atlantic Yards Report also takes note of Jay-Z's well-known--and youthful--drug dealing.
Regarding the role of Al Sharpton and Herbert Daughtry, two of Brooklyn's best known civil rights leaders, Oder writes they've been "bought" by Ratner and are "untrustworthy men of God". He suggests Daughtry should have closed his invocation with words from the Russian national anthem rather than the black national anthem, "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing,"
Separately, Oder slams a Brooklyn Historical Society program on the history of sports in the borough. Financed by the Nets and Barclays Bank, the program features Albert King, a former Net and supporter of Atlantic Yards. Oder suggests that King's role is exaggerated in the curriculum because of his support for and ties to Bruce Ratner.
Meanwhile, two Daily News columnists are on opposite sides of the debate. Dennis Hamill, a Brooklyn native, welcomed the Nets in an essay published as part of a commemorative supplement marking the ground breaking:
"Brooklyn will learn to love the Nets. But the Nets gotta love Brooklyn back. I hope the Nets have the imagination to find ways to let the working class and poor kids of Brooklyn get a chance to come root for the home team at the new arena. Whether it's essay contests, hoop shootouts, community service rewards, coupons from Junior's or Nathan's or student coupons. To be a home team, yu have to open the family door to to everybody. Especially the kids of Brooklyn who are the future fan base."
Mike Lupica calls the ground breaking a scam, but seems to admit the deal is done.
"Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn was the hero of the whole Atlantic Yards story from the start. It just turned out he was another guy who went up against the machine in this city and lost. And when you had some of the biggest politicians around, starting with our imperial mayor, obsessed with not looking bad, it was like trying to stop the ocean. The worst of it? They didn't just throw in with a hustler like Bruce Ratner, they rolled over for Ratner and did tricks."
- Jay-Z, Markowitz, the cult of celebrity, and the oligarch behind the curtain - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards Report
- The untrustworthy men of God: how the (paid by Ratner) Revs. Daughtry and Sharpton twisted the truth - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards Report
- Synergy! Thanks to Barclays/Nets money, the Brooklyn Historical Society highlights ex-Net (and arena promoter) Albert King in new sports curriculum - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards Report