Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner bussed in basketball-loving kids, senior citizens and even a few of his New Jersey Nets stars for a pep rally minutes before Wednesday’s public hearing on his mega-development.
Ratner didn’t testify at the hearing — he didn’t need to, considering all the paeans that were being sung to the Cleveland-born developer by many of the same elected officials who later crossed Jay Street to put their affection on the public record.
Borough President Markowitz asked the crowd of reporters and bussed-in supporters to “close your eyes and see what I see … A whole new city center. Brooklyn is a world-class city and we deserve Atlantic Yards.
“It wasn’t long ago that we couldn’t get $4 million invested in Brooklyn,” he added. “Now we have $4 billion invested in Brooklyn.”
Singer Roberta Flack said she couldn’t wait to sing “at this great big arena” that Ratner intends to build at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.
Assemblyman Joesph Lentol added, “Bruce Ratner is one of the good guys.”
Even a reporter — Stephen Witt, from the Sheepshead Bay-based Courier-Life newspaper chain — got so caught up in the lovefest that he gave Ratner a bear hug.
Meanwhile, kids, many sporting “Yes In My Back Yard” buttons given to them by the developer, giddily snapped pictures of Nets stars Vince Carter and Jason Kidd on their cellphone cameras.
“People are going to think I digitally altered this photo,” said Tal Schor, who was bussed in from Flatbush, as she showed off her shot of Carter.
The rally was long on love, short on information.
When one union worker and project supporter was asked if he knew that not all the housing at the project was affordable, he simply shrugged and said, “I don’t know about that part.”
©2006 Community News Group
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