Ratner’s glossy fantasyland

The Brooklyn Paper
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You never know what you’re going to get in the morning mail: a glossy catalogue, a piece of political literature, some junk mail.

Or, in the case of Bruce Ratner’s latest mailing to thousands of Brooklyn residents, a little bit of all three.

The man who wants to build 17 skyscrapers in between low-rise Fort Greene and Prospect Heights sent out his latest flyer this week, painting Atlantic Yards as an urban utopia.

But it’s just a four-color fantasy.

Indeed, the flyer offers no renderings of the 17 Frank Gehry-designed, Vegas-style towers. Instead, it showcases the very low-rise Brooklyn that Ratner’s project would overwhelm.

Deception is lurking everywhere (see my annotated Page One, below), so read the mailing with care:

Page 3: Atlantic Yards will “create thousands of needed apartments, office space [and] local retail space.” Yes, apartments are needed, but if office space is so badly needed, why are all the top floors along Fulton Street being prepped for residential conversions? And if Brooklyn is so desperate for more retail space, why does Ratner’s Atlantic Center Mall fill out its tenant list with a DMV and an Empire State Development Corporation office?

Page 6: Ratner now says his project will “provide approximately 3,800 permanent jobs,” down from a claim three years ago that 10,000 new jobs would be “created.”

Page 8: That smiling woman isn’t smiling anymore. Actress T. Sahara Meer (pictured above), the woman in the picture, told The Brooklyn Papers that she posed for the photo because she was “between gigs” — only to find out that the photographer sold the photo to Ratner. “That innocent day in the park [is] one of the most nightmarish experiences of my life: I have become Bruce Ratner’s poster girl,” said Meer, who has a “Stop Eminent Domain Abuse” sign in the window of her Prospect Heights home. “My only hope for redemption is to fight harder. So, thanks, Bruce, for fueling my fire, my anger, my ire, my hatred of you.”

Page 10
: Ratner claims that his community benefits agreement was negotiated by eight local organizations. But only two of them — ACORN and the New York State Association of Minority Contractors — existed before the deal was inked, as the New York Observer has reported.

. << Nice brownstones, Bruce! Too bad Atlantic Yards doesn’t include any of them.
. << This project is between Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. Calling it “Downtown” is just an attempt to justify 17 skyscrapers.
. << Wow! He made the arena disappear! Only Ratner could turn a 19,000-seat arena into a leafy meadow. (It’s actually a private roof garden.)

Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at
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