With all the excitement about the opening of the Barclays Center and the arrival of the Brooklyn Nets, it feels necessary to talk about the other side of this story.
The Barclays Center is just the first phase of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development plan to commercialize an area of Brooklyn previously occupied by local residents and small business.
The stories of these people were told in detail in the documentary “Battle For Brooklyn”, and one of the prominent figures opposing the Atlantic Yards project was Daniel Goldstein, who was forced out of his condo by eminent domain after an extended fight with the city.
In a recent interview, Goldstein reiterated that he wasn’t bitter about the arena, but was more disappointed at the “collective amnesia” that had hit the media covering the event. He lamented that no one remembers the corrupt manner in which the arena came to be, and that there was no room for this other narrative in the midst of all the celebration.
Michael Galinsky, one of the directors of “Battle For Brooklyn”, also spoke about the arena’s opening:
“We spent the last 10 years making and distributing a documentary about the Atlantic Yards fight because as soon as the project was announced we could see that the story encompassed a number of themes that we are interested in.
It was a story about the soul of democracy, and by covering it over a long period of time we hoped we would be able to reveal some important truths about government, media, and power. Everyone who sees it tells us we did this very successfully. We are happy that the work we did makes it difficult for those in power to just sweep the past under the rug, though they are trying somewhat desperately to do so.
Two weeks ago, the New York Times ran a nostalgia-for-basketball op-ed by Dan Klores, who they described as a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker. This is true, and he’s a fine filmmaker. He also happens to be the chairman of the PR company that bears his name that pushed through the Atlantic Yards project (and in the process worked diligently to keep this filmmaker out of press conferences).
It is true that he is no longer actively involved, but he was there when they kicked off the campaign. I’m deeply disappointed that the Times did not disclose this and refuses to correct it. The point is, without media like ours to take the mainstream to task and keep them on their toes, the PR people would just write the news, as they did in this case.
It’s a nice article, but it just so happens to be the exact PR message that his former company is pushing—it’s all about basketball and let’s just forget about the hundreds of broken promises.”
And now you know.