Friday, January 19, 2007

Atlantic Yards' Latest Blemish

The Brooklyn Papers reports:
The future home for the Brooklyn Nets will be emblazoned with the corporate logo of a British bank that was founded on the slave trade, collaborated with the Nazis and did business with South Africa’s apartheid government.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Prospect Heights) has some choice commentary:
“[Black] supporters of Atlantic Yards were just tools used by Ratner to get this project passed ... Now that the project has been approved, they don’t serve his purpose anymore. Now, he can insult them by signing an agreement with a bank that financed the slave trade and supported the apartheid system. He’ll take money from anyone.”
But as The Brooklyn Papers editorial notes:
That an old, established, global bank has some skeletons in its closet should not surprise anyone. But the particular nature of Barclays skeletons should have given Ratner pause.

Those who downplay the significance of having the Barclays name atop a publicly subsidized arena that African-Americans will walk past every day — and where African-Americans will earn their living, both on the court and in the concessions stands — should put themselves in the shoes of the descendents of the slaves that Barclays family members once traded as property.

Noting that the arena will largely be funded through public subsidies, Develop Don't Destroy wonders why Forest City Ratner gets to pocket the full $400 million. Incidentally, if, as the Empire State Development Corp. says, the Atlantic Yards is a "public arena" -- and it's certainly true it's to be publicly financed with triple-tax-free bonds -- then why, pray tell, don't we the people get naming rights?

No comments: