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July 24th, 2003, 07:55 AM
Boro courting the Nets

Beep says 500M stadium focus of talks with owners


Nets' star Jason Kidd lays one in against the Jazz in January.
Borough President Marty Markowitz hopes the team will move to the

Is Jason going to be the new Kidd on the block?
It very well could happen now that Brooklyn is in play to become the
new home for the New Jersey Nets.

Representatives of the YankeesNets and Forest City Ratner and Borough
President Marty Markowitz confirmed a published report that a deal is
in the works that could have the Nets playing in Brooklyn.

According to a story in yesterday's Newark Star-Ledger, Nets co-owner
Lewis Katz, has been in talks with Bruce Ratner to build a $500
million arena above the Long Island Rail Road lines on Atlantic Ave.
Forest City Ratner would also build 5,500 units of housing.

Brooklyn came into the picture as talks of building an arena for the
Devils and Nets in Newark became bogged down.

Sources close to the talks said both sides have been in discussions
for several months.

"We won't comment on any negotiation for potential sites," said
YankeeNets spokeswoman Alice McGillion.

"All I can say is there have been ongoing discussions," said Forest
City Ratner spokeswoman Michelle D'Milly.

The borough president however, was much more effusive.

"All I can say is that Brooklyn is in play," said Markowitz. "With
all due respect to the Cyclones, Brooklyn is a major league town and
there is no doubt an NBA franchise in Brooklyn would quickly become
the most successful franchise in the league," Markowitz added.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Kenneth Adams also cheered the
news and is keeping his fingers crossed.

"They could not have picked a better location. They will create new
land and build in an area that is served by the Long Island Rail
Road, 10 subway lines and who knows how many bus lines," said Adams.

A lot to offer

"Here we have a rich education and cultural district and to add a
professional sports team, and all of a sudden Brooklyn also becomes a
major league town."

Markowitz agreed.

"As a boy, I cried when the Dodgers left in 1957. I'm looking forward
to shedding tears of joy when the NBA comes to Brooklyn," he
said. "Brooklyn has produced some of the greatest players in NBA
history, now maybe some of them will have a chance to play at home."

A move to Brooklyn would be a homecoming of sorts for the Nets, who
came into existence as an American Basketball Association franchise
on Long Island.

As of yesterday, it was not clear if the team, which needed league
permission to move to New Jersey, would once again need league
approval to move back to this side of the Hudson.

Originally published on July 24, 2003


July 24th, 2003, 09:07 AM
Thought it might be in Coney, but this is really amazing. *PLUS 5500 housing units!

July 24th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Gehry might be the architect...

Nets: Brooklyn proposed as home for Nets

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

Raymond Chambers, Newark's leading philanthropist, is making a push
for an arena in the state's largest city where only the Devils would

At the same time, his partner, Lewis Katz, is pursuing talks of his
own to move the Nets to Brooklyn, according to four top executives
and investors with YankeeNets, the sports company that controls the

Chambers declined comment and Katz didn't return repeated calls. If
the talks are serious, it would be the first time YankeeNets has
followed up on a threat to move at least one team out of state.

Officials close to the two men say they continue to work together
cordially despite the competing arena proposals. That leaves it
unclear whether the Brooklyn project is more than a negotiating ploy
to bring four years of talks in New Jersey to a conclusion.

With Gov. James E. McGreevey's blessing, Newark has offered
YankeeNets $210 million in public subsidies for the proposed $355
million arena. But the two sides have been unable to find a way to
close the remaining $145 million gap.

Richard Monteilh, Newark's business administrator, said Monday the
city continued to do everything it could to reach a deal.

"YankeeNets is working on a variety of options and alternatives," he
said. "The city's costs are fixed. We're trying to revive downtown
and create jobs."

Associates of Chambers and YankeeNets officials said Katz is talking
with Bruce Ratner, president of Forest City-Ratner Cos., about an
arena above the Long Island Railroad terminal on Atlantic Avenue in

The proposed $500 million Brooklyn arena would include 5,500 housing
units. The associates said Ratner has signed up the noted architect
Frank Gehry to design the project, which would be financed with
roughly $30 million a year in tax revenues collected at the site.

Ratner could not be reached for comment.

YankeeNets officials, who declined to be identified, said Ratner has
also offered to buy the Nets. For now, they said, Katz and YankeeNets
prefer to hold on to the franchise.

The Brooklyn negotiations have forced Chambers to take on a prominent
role in the proposed Newark project for the first time in nearly a

His idea, though -- a Devils-only arena -- faces plenty of hurdles.

The biggest obstacle is money, which the Devils lost a lot of this
year -- some $25 million.

Financing from banks would be far more difficult to get in a one-team
arena. The city also may balk at providing $210 million in public
subsidies unless both teams come. Finally, an exclusive home for the
Devils would have to compete for concerts and family shows with
Continental Airlines Arena, where the teams now play, just six miles
away in East Rutherford.

The state had planned to close Continental Airlines Arena if both
teams moved to Newark.

"We have heard the rumors about an arena for the Devils in Newark,"
said George Zoffinger, chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and
Exposition Authority, the state agency that operates the
Meadowlands. "Our objective is to keep both teams in New Jersey.

"If it's only the Devils moving to Newark, I don't see how we can
force a closure of the Continental Airlines Arena."

Chambers and Katz together own a controlling interest in the Devils,
which allows them to move the hockey team without the approval of the
YankeeNets board.

The board, though, has refused to spend money on the Newark project.
Chambers' associates said he views an arena for the Devils as his
last hope to revive Newark's ailing downtown.

Newark officials said no consideration has been given to whether the
city would continue to offer some $210 million in public subsidies
for an arena without the Nets.

Monteilh said Newark would "absolutely" prefer an arena with two
teams. The city would have to rethink its investment if only one team
comes and a competing building remains in the Meadowlands, he said.

"I have not gotten that proposal yet," he said of the one-team arena
plan. "That has not been the proposal to us so far."

Investors in the two franchises desperately need a new arena. The
value of the Devils has dropped a third since Chambers and Katz
bought the team for $175 million in 2000. A modern arena could
increases revenue by $20 million each year and boost the teams'

YankeeNets executives and investors said the latest push for Newark
is the clearest sign yet of turmoil at the highest levels of the

In February, the YankeeNets board appointed investors Mort Olshan,
Alan Landis and David Gerstein to a committee with the mission of
bringing the meandering negotiations with Newark to a conclusion.

Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based arena consultant, was hired to lead the
negotiations. Business leaders in New Jersey, including Art Ryan,
chief executive at Prudential, and Al Koeppe, chief executive of
Public Service Electric & Gas, were enlisted to rally corporate

In late spring, however, Katz approached developers in Brooklyn.

At the time, the moves angered members of the negotiating committee,
created tension between Katz and Chambers, and helped spark Chambers'
return to the arena talks after nearly a year on the sidelines.

Chambers' associates denied yesterday there was a rift between
Chambers and Katz. The associates said Chambers understood the desire
to seek alternative sites for the arena.

July 24th, 2003, 02:20 PM
Ugh. Gehry.

It'll be great to have a melting chamber pot or whatever else he thinks up in the middle of Ft Greene.

July 24th, 2003, 04:20 PM
Now all we need is Libeskind in charge of the new Yankee Stadium. I can picture him wearing a Yankee cap and proclaiming, "I've been a Yankee fan all my life!"

(Edited by Christian Wieland at 10:04 am on July 27, 2003)

July 24th, 2003, 05:51 PM
The Newark Arena will get done, this is an effort to close the deal.

Remember the New England Patriots were boasting about how they were going to move to Hartford in '99-'00, Governor John Roland of Connecticut was making all these speeches about what it would do for downtown Hartford.

However it was not a done deal as the Patriots were just trying to squeeze a better deal out of the State of Massachusets.

Breaking up the Nets and Devils does not make sense, an arena in Brooklyn for just the Nets and an arena in Newark for just the Devils is not economically viable.

And the Devils are not going to Brooklyn, especially because of the Rangers and Islanders.

July 24th, 2003, 06:25 PM
Think you are wrong there. Ratner even went as far as offering to buy the team according to reports so he is obviously very interested in building this arena. Looks to me like the Nets are coming to Brooklyn.

TLOZ Link5
July 24th, 2003, 09:26 PM
There's no doubt that there is a good chance. *It also sounds like a serious proposal.

July 24th, 2003, 10:38 PM
"Ratner even went as far as offering to buy the team"

What good is owning the Nets without owning or sharing an arena with the Devils, neither can make it on there own.

Also the Nets and Devils are part of the Yankees Nets group, pulling the Nets out of the Yankees/George Steinbrenners controll is not good for the new YES network.

The YES network needs the Nets and Devils to fill their programing needs during the Fall/Winter/Spring months.

July 24th, 2003, 10:43 PM
"Ratner even went as far as offering to buy the team"

If they want to own a team they should buy the Knicks and Rangers, the Dolans and Cablevision are running those franchises into the ground.

Trading Sprewell for Van Horn, not a good deal!

The General Manager, the Dolans, Don Cheneny should go..

If Ratner wants to own a team and build a new arena then they should buy the Knicks and Rangers and build a new Madison Square Garden.

All of which are in desperate need of change.

July 24th, 2003, 10:45 PM
One more thing..

Ratner could bring in Sean "Puffy" Combs and Spike Lee as partners in the Knicks/Rangers deal, Combs and Lee have been in the papers lately openly offering the buy the franchises.

They are disgrunteled too, as most Knicks and Rangers fans are.

Listen to the Fan, 660Am WFAN and listen to all the disgruntled fans.

July 25th, 2003, 02:07 PM
Well, the Nets have been in the finals the past 2 years and don't even sell out playoff games. Sad. *This transportation is better, the facility will be state of the art and Ratner plans to build a lot of housing to help pay the bills. *I don't think it would be announced if it wasn't a real possibility. *Downtown Brooklyn is booming, not Jersey. *Also, isn't part of the deal with YankeeNets that the guy that wants the Devils in Newark has control, but not of the Nets? *The move and location make perfect sense. *Besides, they started in LI, so it's about time they cam back home. *Same withe Jets (and Giants).

July 25th, 2003, 03:15 PM
"Downtown Brooklyn is booming, not Jersey"

How's that?..

New Jersey's economy has been booming lately, and it's held up the best during the recent economic downturn of any state.

The Newark Arena would be connected to Newark Penn station with Amtrak trains, NJ Transit Trains and PATH trains. Also Newark Airport would be about 1 1/2 miles down McCarter Highway.

Newark Penn Station offers better connections than Atlantic Ave, you could take a PATH train from the World Trade Center, 33rd Street, and Amtrak from virtually anwhere along the North East Corridor.

Jason Kidd, Byron Scott etc all live in New Jersey. They own big surburban McMansions, and they have easy commutes to the Meadowlands. Downtown Newark is just a couple more miles down the Turnpike, they would not want to play in Brooklyn and commute from New Jersey or Long Island.

July 25th, 2003, 03:30 PM
Yes, why would anyone want to play basketball in Brooklyn?
It's almost as alien as hockey in Montreal. *:)

TLOZ Link5
July 25th, 2003, 05:08 PM
And isn't Brooklyn closer to Long Island than Newark? *:)

July 27th, 2003, 03:24 AM
"And isn't Brooklyn closer to Long Island than Newark?"

No, Represenative Nadler and others are trying to get a freight tunnel from Jersey to Brooklyn built.

Brooklyn (Atlantic Ave) is closer to New Jersey than to the Nassau border, it's right across the harbor or if your driving go across the Varrazano, then over the Bayonne.

July 27th, 2003, 08:00 AM
Your frequent posts give the impression of desperation. ;)

The only impediment to a move to Brooklyn would be the split of the Nets and Devils. Other than that, the Brooklyn proposal is , at the least, competitive with Newark.

New Jersey may be booming, but Newark isn't.
Despite athletic success, both teams are not doing well financially.
Brooklyn has population density.
The site has excellent public transportation.
The Brooklyn Nets or the Newark Nets.Which is more marketable?
Brooklyn is sports hungry. An A-ball team sells out.

melting chamber pot
I can picture Gehry reading that over morning coffee.

(Edited by ZippyTheChimp at 7:06 am on July 27, 2003)

Ernest Burden III
July 27th, 2003, 10:34 AM
The Brooklyn Nets or the Newark Nets.Which is more marketable?

New York Nets would do it, don't you think?

When I lived in Brooklyn I got pretty tired of clients (architects) who would ask me if I ever get into the city, could I come by to show them my portfolio. *Brooklyn IS in the city, damn it!

The first proposal for a stadium on the Atlantic Terminal site was for the Brooklyn Dodgers. *The team asked the city/state to help pay for it, but they refused and the Dodgers packed up and left. *Sometimes they ain't bluffing. *That statium was to be designed by a desciple of Bucky Fuller and here is a rendering (done long after the fact):


Now THAT would be cool.

July 27th, 2003, 11:03 AM

July 27th, 2003, 11:50 AM
Im guessing this late proposal was drawn in the 1980's?

What I like about the idea is putting the field and stadium seats underground, the dome could have been lowered to enhance the effect.

But on the bright side New Yorkers have Shea Stadium, and we never would've been introduced to the mets, or the likes of Mo Vaughn.

Ernest Burden III
July 27th, 2003, 12:28 PM
Im guessing this late proposal was drawn in the 1980's?

It says right under the picture...1997 *That's when I did it. *But the proposal is the original design. *No rendering was done in 1956 (that I know of) but there was a model built of the design, which was photographed in a newspaper article. *I built my computer model from that photo. *I know the size and shape of the site, and the model photo showed the playing field which is also a known dimension, so I was able to fairly accurately reproduce the stadium as proposed in 1956. *The light posts are my design. *I made the surroundings/cars vague so as to make it unclear whether this was showing then, or NOW.

The illustration was commisioned by Brooklyn Bridge Magazine and was a cover.

July 28th, 2003, 01:29 AM
Newsday - Brooklyn Bound
From baseball to BAM, mermaids to museums, the city's largest borough
is becoming a mecca for tourists

By Jessica DuLong

July 28, 2003

On a recent Wednesday, just before 1 o'clock, about 30 sightseers
gathered at the edge of Manhattan's Battery Park waiting for Gray
Line's new trolley-bus to take them to Brooklyn. Among them was
Stephanie Dougherty, 14, visiting from Dallas with her family. She'd
been here once before when she was younger, but doesn't remember much
about the city.

Asked why she was bothering with Brooklyn, Dougherty just shrugged
and pointed to her ticket. "It's part of the all-loop tour," she
replied nonchalantly, just one of many accidental tourists now
discovering Brooklyn by trolley-bus.

Mary Myers' recent visit was far more deliberate. With the help of a
volunteer guide from Big Apple Greeter, she brought her 79-year-old
mother to Brooklyn from Morton, Ill., transporting her back in time
to her childhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant through the days she fell in
love with her husband.

"Mom hadn't been back in 30 years," explains Myers, who lives in
Aurora, Colo. "She was smiling a lot."

Ella Gross and her husband, George, of Annapolis, Md., were visiting
their son, a recent transplant to Brooklyn, when they stumbled across
a listing for Green-Wood Cemetery tours, offering looks into the
lives and times of those buried in the country's third rural
cemetery, founded in 1838. They figured it would be a unique way to
learn about the borough.

"It adds a lot of depth to the visit," Gross explains. "Some people
would think it's sort of morose to visit a cemetery, but the people
here had fascinating lives with all these connections to art and to

Whether guided by curiosity, happenstance, art and music, or
nostalgia, more and more visitors to New York City are stopping in
Brooklyn. They're venturing beyond the typical tourist trio -- Empire
State Building, Statue of Liberty and a Broadway show -- to see the
city's most populous borough.

Since he took office in 2001, Borough President Marty Markowitz has
sought to lure tourists. "You can travel the world and you don't need
a passport in Brooklyn," says Markowitz, who considers himself its
chief advocate and biggest booster. With help from Brooklyn's Chamber
of Commerce, NYC & Co., business owners and others, Markowitz's
efforts to establish Brooklyn as a tourist destination seem to be
paying off for attractions and businesses nearby. While overall
numbers for Brooklyn tourism are hard to come by, rising attendance
figures and increased ticket sales at some of Brooklyn's hottest
attractions begin to paint the picture.

The first place to look for growth is Coney Island. During its heyday
in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, Coney Island routinely drew 40 million-
plus visitors a year to the beach, amusement parks and world-famous
Nathan's hot dogs, said Kenneth Hochman, president of American Media
Concepts, a Brooklyn- based ad agency that promotes the area.

After a drastic decline in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, the area began a
restoration, starting with a beach rebuilding project in 1994. Coney
Island's visitor count dipped to about 5 million visitors in 1993,
but by last summer had climbed to an estimated 10 million.

"The Cyclones are the key that unlocked the door to Coney Island,"
says Hochman, referring to the Mets farm team that plays at 7,500-
seat KeySpan Park. "They sold out every night for the entire first
season in 2001, bringing a quarter of a million visitors."

Carol Hill Albert, co-owner of Astroland Amusement Park, operator of
the many rides on Coney Island, including the world-famous 76-year-
old Cyclone Roller Coaster, agrees the Cyclones have helped.

"There has been a measurable increase in business after the games,"
she says, declining to discuss revenue or ridership. "Not only are
there more people, but ... they're more suburban."

Roberto Mora, owner of the Coconut Juice Bar, has also noticed the
new customers. "It's good that middle class people come to Coney
Island," he said. "They spend money."

Though revenues were up 15 percent to 20 percent last year, Coney
Island's small business owners say long spring rains and the closing
of the Stillwell Avenue MTA station have made this year the slowest
in a decade.

There have been days, Mora explains, where he makes only $50 instead
of the $500 he would make on a good weekday last year. "What happens
if we don't have good transportation is they kill us," he says.
Ultimately, the May 2004 completion of the new MTA station, featuring
a museum and retail spaces, should aid Coney Island redevelopment.

Meanwhile, many of the borough's cultural institutions report spiking
ticket sales and increased attendance. The Brooklyn Academy of Music,
for example, had a record year in fiscal 2003, with ticket sales of
400,000 and $9 million in revenue. BAM, a performing arts complex in
Fort Greene that includes an art-house cinema, a jazz cafe, a book
and music shop, and two full-size theaters, presents everything from
Shakespeare to flamenco to Taiwanese dance. Most of BAM's audiences
hail from Manhattan, though the percentage of Brooklyn-based ticket
buyers has risen from 29 percent in 1998 to 48 percent in fiscal
2003, said spokeswoman Sandy Sawatka.

Though it's true that many Cyclones fans and arts audiences are in
fact locals, the rich assortment of activities is helping to create
what Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Kenneth Adams terms
the "critical mass" of attractions crucial to drawing out-of-towners.
That array of events and institutions draws "a tremendous range of
visitors by income, age and ethnicity," he says. "The result is a
bigger buzz and a greater appeal across the board. ... You're drawn
in for a specific activity and you realize there's so much more."

For example, people heading to BAM to see U Theatre, one of Taiwan's
most celebrated dance troupes, perform "The Sound of Ocean" in
October could dine beforehand at Saul, described in the new Brooklyn
Zagat Guide as "heaven on Smith Street." Then, they might come to
discover that Boerum Hill is rife with trendy shops worthy of a
return visit.

To maximize those discoveries, the borough president's office is
using a cultural tourism development grant from NYC & Co. to fund
posters and advertising, as well as four portable kiosks shaped like
ice cream carts. Beginning July 12, these carts, stocked with
information about Brooklyn sites and events, debuted at the Brooklyn
Bridge, Grand Army Plaza and Coney Island. This fall, the office also
plans to open a tourism center in Borough Hall.

Brooklyn has come a long way since the days when teenagers flooded
the Brooklyn Paramount theater for doo-wop concerts, then tipped back
egg creams at Junior's Restaurant. Traces of Old World Brooklyn still
exist: Russian immigrants stroll the Brighton Beach boardwalk,
Hasidic Jews push baby carriages in Williamsburg, and Greenpoint
residents nibble Polish pastries. Yet through the '70s and '80s, high
crime rates and economic decline gave Brooklyn a reputation for

"If you talked to anybody they'd tell you Brooklyn had a gangy,
hoody, mobster background," says Joy Glidden, founder of the
d.u.m.b.o. arts center and a Brooklyn resident since 1989.

Many in Brooklyn's tourism industry predict that rediscovery of the
borough will be the inevitable, natural by-product of Brooklyn's
resurgence. "Brooklyn is continuing to come back in terms of having a
place in the public consciousness ... with its restaurant rows on
Smith Street and with Williamsburg, known for its nightlife and
creativity," says Norman Oder, founder of Brooklyn-based New York
Like a Native tours. "As I say at the beginning of all my tours,
Brooklyn has the strongest single identity of any of the outer
boroughs. It, alone, was a separate city in the 19th century."

He says he's seen a steady increase in interest in tours of Brooklyn.
Though most customers are locals, Oder has given tours to European
tourists, particularly Germans interested in seeing Williamsburg, and
learning about its Hasidic Jewish community. Though he declined to
give numbers, Oder says his revenue has more than doubled since he
started as a guide in the spring of 2000. He says he's
noticed "people who are adventuresome like coming to Brooklyn."

John Cashman, a sort of Irish-Catholic Morty Seinfeld in sky-blue
polyester pants, running shoes and a blue Ebbets Field cap, leads
tours at Green-Wood Cemetery. While waiting for stragglers recently,
he cracked jokes, setting the tone for the two-hour tour. "I've been
in Green-Wood Cemetery over 50 years," he says, noting that he used
to cut the grass here as a teenager.

Since 1989, the former police sergeant, a native of Flatbush, has
been giving cemetery tours, pointing out the grave sites of people
such as Dr. William Stewart Halster, the surgeon who initiated the
use of rubber gloves in hospitals; Walter Hunt, inventor of the
safety pin; and Charles Barnes of Barnes & Noble. He gives five tours
and wears a different hat for each. By now, he says, he's taken
thousands of people on walks along the cemetery's 478 acres.

Most visitors to the outer boroughs have been to New York City
before, says Liz Smith, an official with Big Apple Greeter, a
nonprofit group of New Yorkers who volunteer to show off their
neighborhoods. Architecture was the No. 1 reason her visitors last
year cited for wanting to see Brooklyn, she says. History and music
were next.

And as was the case with Myers and her mother, who used Big Apple
Greeter's services, family history is another big motivator. "They
say one in seven people has a connection to Brooklyn," says
Smith. "If you have a grandmother who used to talk about sitting on
the stoops of Brooklyn, it can be kind of fun to go see it."

Those who want to see major attractions and not the old neighborhoods
can catch one of Brooklyn's newest tourist promotions -- Gray Line's
new trolley-bus. In May, the company added a Brooklyn Loop to its
signature hop-on, hop-off tours. With stops at Old Fulton Landing,
the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Junior's
Restaurant, among others, the Brooklyn Loop tours are bound to
increase foot traffic and bring in many tourists who might not
otherwise leave Manhattan.

Gray Line tour guide Fabrice Lecler explains visitor interest this
way: "After getting lost in the mass of skyscrapers in Manhattan,
visitors like the small-town feel of Brooklyn. They like the fact
that people talk to each other here ... that they say hello to the
local corner guy."

Jessica DuLong is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer

July 28th, 2003, 04:20 PM
Discuss the move's probability, its advantages and inconvenients, etc. No Newark vs Brooklyn drivel, please.

(Edited by Christian Wieland at 12:22 am on July 30, 2003)

July 29th, 2003, 11:03 AM
Sorry about that.

July 31st, 2003, 08:17 PM
This week's Bay News

Excerpt -

Forest City Spokesperson Michelle D'Milly confirmed that there were
ongoing negotiations for bringing the Nets "somewhere in the Atlantic
Avenue area."

"What a wonderful day for Brooklyn if we were able to procure a
professional basketball team", she said.

July 31st, 2003, 09:59 PM
This week's Brooklyn Papers

Nets could take
Sportsplex D'town

By Neil Sloane
The Brooklyn Papers

For two decades Brooklyn
politicos have been
dreaming of an amateur
athletics arena — a "sportsplex"
— for the borough.
That dream was shelved
when the city instead
moved ahead with Keyspan
Park in Coney Island.
Now, with principals of the
New Jersey Nets in negotiations
to move their team to a
new arena in Downtown
Brooklyn, some prominent
Brooklyn officials believe the
dream for such a facility will
be enhanced, not quashed, by
a professional team's occupancy
Forest City Ratner Companies
confirmed last week that
company principal Bruce Ratner
has spoken to key investors
in YankeeNets, the
company that owns the basketball
team, about building
them an arena on property in
the area of the Long Island
Railroad at Atlantic and Flatbush
Ratner is already building a
massive retail, dining and office
complex atop the LIRR
hub at the intersection.

An arena could be built on adhacent
Since taking office last
year, Borough President Marty
Markowitz has pushed for a
professional basketball team
to locate in Brooklyn, seeing
the sport as the most likely to
allow expansion in this market.
Now, with the Nets proposal
very much in play,
Markowitz is doubly excited
because he anticipates that the
facility could be used as a
scholastic and amateur sportsplex
when the professional
team is not playing.
"It would be a multi-use
arena and thus a sportsplex
would definitely be included
in it," Markowitz told The
Brooklyn Papers.
Markowitz cautioned that

he could not comment on negotiations
or whether he
played any part in bringing
Ratner and the Nets together.
But asked whether a sportsplex
would be part of the Ratner-
Nets arena plan he said,
Without a question. It would
incorporate, in my opinion,
now once again I'm not the
one, I'm not gonna own it, but
have no doubt that it would
also double as a sportsplex for
high school sports — no question
about it. It has to be, and
would be, a borough facility,
borough resource, of
Ratner could not be reached
for comment by press time.
"I think that we're closer
See SPORTSPLEX on page

today than we have ever been since '57," Markowitz said when
asked the chances that the Nets could be lured here from New
Of course, 1957 is the year Walter O'Malley packed up his
Brooklyn Dodgers and headed to Los Angeles. Ironically, he had
wanted to build a domed stadium on the Atlantic and Flatbush
avenues site, but City Planning chief Robert Moses would not
cede the land to him. Brooklyn has not had a major professional
sports franchise since.
Michale Burke, director of the Downtown Brooklyn Council,
agreed it would make sense to have another use in mind for the
"I think that when you think about the other uses for a stadium
makes sense that some kind of other facility would be coming
into it whether it's an amateur athletic facility or a facility
community use," said Burke. "It's got to be used for
else in the days and weeks when it's not being used by basketball,
and one would hope that it would be used for something that
would also directly benefit the Brooklyn community."
Burke said a sportsplex in the area would not impact plans for
sportsplex-like facilities in Coney Island and Park Slope.
"I think they're very different markets and each of the
would be used for very different purposes. The Park Slope
facility, the armory, it's very much a community facility and
not big enough to house anything like a stadium would house,"
he said.
The Park Slope proposal, made by the non-profit Take the
Field and recently funded with $500,000 in this year's budget,
would build an amateur athletics facility in the 14th Regiment
Armory, on Eighth Avenue between 14th and 15th streets, for use
by residents and local schools.
"And then you look at Coney Island, and Coney Island is developing
into something very unique, that whole sports, athletic
and entertainment industry, its all coming back in Coney Island,
and that's going to happen with or without the Nets coming to
Brooklyn," said Burke. "So I think they all serve very
markets and they'll serve very different purposes, so I don't
them in conflict with each other."
The Coney Island amateur facility is tied in to the city's bid for
the 2012 summer Olympics. Should the city be selected, an area
for indoor volleyball would be built next to Keyspan Park, although
no firm commitment to amateur athletics has been made
for that site after the Olympics.
The original sportsplex plan was supplanted by the construction
of Keyspan Park to house the short-season single-A Brooklyn
Cyclones, a New York Mets affiliate. Mired in city politics,
plans for the original sportsplex originated in the late 1980s, but
were killed in 2000 when then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former
Borough President Howard Golden butted heads over funding
and whether or not a stadium for a minor league Mets affiliate
should be built.
The city and state had pledged $30 million each, and Golden
another $7 million, for the sportsplex and Golden was adamant
that the city move forward with sportsplex and not a stadium for
minor league baseball. Brooklyn, he said, deserved nothing less
than major-league baseball.
Giuliani wanted the stadium built first and won out, with the
City Council approving the plan to build what is now Keyspan
Park on property that had been slated for the sportsplex in Coney
Island. And while the money had been promised for the sportsplex
it was never actually allocated.

August 7th, 2003, 07:55 PM
Today's Star Ledger

Nets are on sale and may be on move to New York

2 of 4 suitors envision taking the conference champs across Hudson

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

The owners of the New Jersey Nets are talking to at least four groups
about selling the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions.

At least two of the suitors would move the team across the Hudson
River to New York, according to three executives and two investors
with the team's parent company, YankeeNets, and two top state
officials. All of the officials with the sports company and the state
said the talks have become serious in recent weeks as financial
pressures build within YankeeNets and efforts to reach a deal for an
arena in downtown Newark continue to fade.

For YankeeNets, which also controls the Devils of the NHL, the
potential sale of the Nets is one piece in a larger plan to break up
an organization once billed as the model sports company of the 21st

"You can't really buy the Nets until they decide what they are going
to do," Donald Unger, a former Nets owner who has expressed interest
in repurchasing the team, said yesterday. "I don't think anybody
knows exactly what is going to happen."

Partners in YankeeNets are trying to figure out how to break up the
company before Sept. 1, when top investors in the company must pay
former Devils owner John McMullen $35 million for the final 20
percent of the Stanley Cup champions. Investors loyal to Yankees
principal owner George Steinbrenner are pushing for the breakup.
Steinbrenner opposed buying the Devils three years ago. He wants no
part of the debt to McMullen and the mounting losses the New Jersey
franchises have incurred in recent years.

With $1.5 billion in assets at stake, breaking up YankeeNets will not
be simple.

"To unravel this thing now is going to be really ugly," said one
investor who asked not to be identified.

Everyone interviewed for this story said YankeeNets first would have
to figure out how to break apart the 5-year-old partnership before
the Nets could be sold.

But even with the future of the company in flux, four potential
owners or groups of owners have emerged who are trying to raise $200
million to $250 million to buy a team favored to return to the NBA
Finals next year:

The known suitors are:

Bruce Ratner, president of the New York development firm Forest City-
Ratner. Ratner wants to move the Nets to Brooklyn to a proposed arena
above the Long Island Railroad Terminal on Atlantic Avenue. The arena
would be part of a 5,500-unit housing complex. Philanthropist Lewis
Katz, the chairman of the Nets, has pursued the Ratner deal and
likely would become a partner with Ratner in the venture.

Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders and the retired chairman of
Computer Associates. Wang would move the Nets back to their original
home on Long Island. The team would play at the Nassau Coliseum until
Wang could reach a deal to build a modern arena.

Chris Botta, a spokesman for Wang, said yesterday: "We're not going
to comment on the specifics. However, it's no secret Charles remains
very interested in bringing an NBA franchise back to Long Island."

Alan Landis and David Gerstein, minority investors in YankeeNets.
Landis, a real estate developer, and Gerstein, a top executive with
Thermwell Products in Mahwah, have long coveted taking control of the
Nets from Katz. Landis and Gerstein, who did not return phone calls
seeking comment, have not decided what the best location for the team
would be and would need to borrow a substantial amount of money to
complete the deal.

Unger, a New Jersey financier and a former member of the Nets
ownership group known as the "Secaucus Seven." Unger has tried to buy
the team twice before and favors keeping the Nets in the Meadowlands
Sports Complex at a renovated arena. The arena would be the heart of
a sports, entertainment, retail and recreation center that Mack-Cali
Realty and the Mills Corp. plan for the Continental Airlines Arena

Ratner did not return phone calls seeking comment.

For now, YankeeNets is trying to maintain a low profile on the
ongoing discussions.

"At this time, these are mere rumors, and therefore there is no
purpose to comment," Dan Klores, a spokesman for the Nets ownership
group led by Katz, said yesterday.

Katz and his partner, philanthropist Raymond Chambers, also would
like to sell the Devils, which they purchased for $175 million in
2000. However, they have not been able to find any buyers, and the
team's value has dropped as low as $125 million according to sports
industry experts. Without a buyer, the Devils are expected to remain
in the Meadowlands indefinitely.

The plan to sell the Nets, who just committed $120 million to stars
Jason Kidd and Alonzo Mourning, is largely a result of the failure to
reach a deal for an arena in Newark that would have produced more
than $20 million a year in additional profits for the team. Newark
has offered $210 million in subsidies for the project.

However, Chambers -- the driving force behind the purchase of the
Nets with Katz in 1998 and the merger with the Yankees a year later --
has not been able to convince his partners to cover the remaining
$145 million in construction costs.

Chambers' sole purpose for purchasing the Nets and then the Devils
was to move the teams to an arena that would help revive his native
city. Without the new arena, the Devils and the Nets have incurred
some $25 million in combined losses. The losses have caused
Steinbrenner to sour on the partnership.

Unlike Katz, Chambers has no interest in owning a basketball team
that does not play in Newark, forcing the Nets' controlling partners
to find a new principal owner for the team, even one that would move
the team out of New Jersey.

Richard Monteilh, Newark's business administrator, said discussions
with Chambers about a downtown arena are ongoing and he expects to
receive a proposal from Chambers' representatives within a week.

"It's alive and they are working on it," Monteilh said of the Newark

George Zoffinger, chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and
Exposition Authority, the state agency that operates the Meadowlands,
said if the Newark plan dies he would like to speak with Nets owners
about remaining in the sports complex. Out of loyalty to Newark Mayor
Sharpe James, Gov. James E. McGreevey has so far prohibited Zoffinger
from making a competing offer to YankeeNets for a Meadowlands arena.

That may soon change.

"If Newark is not going forward and the team is sold we would like to
speak with whoever buys the team about what we think is an attractive
offer in the Meadowlands," Zoffinger said. "We've announced rail and
we think this can be a compelling part of the development we are
doing here."

Matthew Futterman can be reached at (973) 392-1732 or

August 8th, 2003, 01:38 AM
Tomorrow's NY Times

YankeeNets Is on the Verge of Splitting Apart

The strains within YankeeNets, once heralded as a model for sports
conglomerates, are so deep and bitter that the holding company is
close to breaking apart, according to people involved with the

If YankeeNets dissolves - considered a near certainty by people
involved in the company's recent dealings - it could ultimately
result in the relocation of the New Jersey Nets and the New Jersey
Devils to New York under revised or new ownership.


The turmoil is so intense at YankeeNets, whose ownership team
includes George Steinbrenner, that individual owners and suitors are
exploring the idea of bringing the Nets to Brooklyn, possibly along
with the Devils, or putting one or both of the teams on the West Side
of Manhattan.

Officials with YankeeNets would not comment publicly. But the holding
company - born four years ago as a novel marriage of a baseball and
basketball team and, potentially, a wildly lucrative broadcasting
network - has been plagued from the beginning by sharp differences
over vision, finances and management.

"It looks like they're unwinding it," said Dean Bonham, chairman of
the Bonham Group, a sports industry consultant in Denver. "It's
unfortunate that the YankeeNets as an ownership model appears not to
be working."

In one of the more startling proposals, according to people involved
in the negotiations, Lewis Katz, a wealthy businessman from New
Jersey and a principal owner of the Nets, could join with the
developer Bruce Ratner in moving the teams to downtown Brooklyn,
where a new 20,000-seat arena would be the centerpiece of a real
estate development designed by Frank Gehry, the architect responsible
for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Mighty Ducks'
training facility in Anaheim, Calif.

The developer has asked New York City officials to come up with a
memorandum of understanding by the end of the month expressing public
support for the multibillion-dollar project. Under the terms of the
proposed deal, Ratner is putting together a group to buy a $50
million stake in the teams.

The people involved in the negotiations said it was impossible to
forecast the ultimate outcome, and they suggested that some of the
details of the emerging alternatives - a number of which were cited
in an article yesterday in The Star-Ledger of Newark - might have
become public as the principals sought to gain some advantage in the

But it is clear that those involved with YankeeNets have scrambled in
recent months to resolve the company's fate, in part because several
of the principals, including Katz, must pay the former Devils owner
John McMullen $50 million on Aug. 22 as a final payment for the team,
according to people involved with YankeeNets.

A move to Brooklyn is by no means certain, and any potential change
faces enormous obstacles, including the untangling of the ownership
of YankeeNets, which brought together the New York-based owners of
the baseball team with the New Jersey-based owners of the Nets.

Relocating the Nets and the Devils would also have enormous economic
implications for Newark, Brooklyn and the Meadowlands. New Jersey has
no intention of losing the teams to the city across the Hudson. The
Knicks and the Rangers would almost certainly oppose any move by the
Nets and the Devils to New York, and a move would require approval
from the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey

Whatever happens, sports industry executives and people in both of
the ownership groups say the YankeeNets marriage is nearly over.

Bonham said he was disappointed by the turn of events. If the
purchase of sports teams by giant media and entertainment companies
like Fox and Disney were the model for the 1990's, Bonham said, the
YankeeNets' bottom-up combination of teams, arenas, stadiums and a
broadcast network was the model of the future.

YankeeNets assets include the Yankees, the Nets, a 30 percent stake
in the Devils and 60 percent of the YES Network. Under the merger
four years ago, Steinbrenner retained control of the Yankees and a 22
percent stake in the holding company. A group led by Katz and Raymond
Chambers, a philanthropist, which bought the Nets in 1998, controls
40 percent of the holding company. Separate from YankeeNets, Katz and
Chambers also own 70 percent of the Devils, who were acquired in
August 2000.

YankeeNets Is on the Verge of Splitting Apart
(Page 2 of 2)

YankeeNets has been an uneasy partnership in which the two
sides "didn't even speak the same language," one person who works
with the New Jersey group said in the early days of the merger.
Steinbrenner has a blustery, bottom-line style and loves the
limelight. Chambers, who rarely grants interviews, bought the teams
in an effort to move them to Newark and revitalize the city's
battered economy. He and Katz pledged to donate all their profits to
a newly formed charity, the Community Youth Organization.


The two groups have clashed over team management, the YES Network,
players' contracts and the purchase of the Devils. Steinbrenner has
refused to help finance the Devils' losses.

People involved with the two teams say that Steinbrenner and his
partners consider the New Jersey owners to be rubes when it comes to
the complexity of the sports business. The same people say that Katz,
Chambers and another owner, Alan Landis, have had enough of
Steinbrenner and Randy Levine, the Yankees' president.

"It's really a divisive situation," said one executive. "Chambers and
Katz detest Steinbrenner, and Steinbrenner feels the same way about

In the meantime, the two New Jersey teams lost about $25 million
combined last year and are in the bottom ranks of their respective
leagues in terms of attendance, despite the Devils' winning the
Stanley Cup for the third time in eight years and the Nets' advancing
to the N.B.A. finals for the second consecutive season.

Both sides want to break up YankeeNets. But, according to people
involved with the teams, the owners may want to keep the YES Network
in place. It has long-term agreements with the Yankees and the Nets,
while the Devils are expected to join up after their current contract
with Cablevision expires. Most of the owners believe that the network
is valuable because it can command high prices by providing year-
round sports programming.

The owners of the Nets spent the last four years negotiating a deal
for a $355 million arena in Newark, with $210 million coming from the
state and the city. But talks foundered this spring after the teams
sought special financing from the state. Some owners also began
questioning the wisdom of moving the Devils to Newark, where they may
not find an audience.

With the Devils losing money and a $50 million payment due at the end
of August, Katz and other New Jersey owners began looking at
alternatives in a post-Yankees world.

One Nets owner, Landis, talked to New York City officials, the Jets,
Cablevision and Brookfield Properties about moving the Nets to a new
Manhattan sports complex on 12th Avenue that would combine a new
Madison Square Garden and a stadium for the Jets. But Cablevision,
which owns the Garden, the Knicks and the Rangers, was not
interested, according to three people involved in the talks.

Katz has been having more success in his discussions with Ratner
about Brooklyn, where the two men figured that a large-scale real
estate project could jolt the downtown neighborhood and improve the
financial feasibility of the arena. The proposal is to build the
arena as the centerpiece of a project that would include up to 5,000
apartments and more than two million square feet of office and retail
space on a 21-acre parcel at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, opposite
Atlantic Terminal and stretching toward Sixth Avenue. City officials
have found the project interesting, but enormously complicated.

"They've come to us with an intriguing prospect that could have
enormous benefits for Brooklyn and the city," said Deputy Mayor
Daniel L. Doctoroff.

The site, which includes a rail yard and public and private land,
strikes a historical echo in Brooklyn. In the 1950's, Walter
O'Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, wanted to build a
stadium there to replace Ebbets Field. When he failed to gain
permission, O'Malley moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles, leaving a hole
in the Brooklyn psyche.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has already embraced the
Nets and the Devils.

"It would be returning to Brooklyn that which was unceremoniously
taken away from us in 1957," he said. "We're a city of more than two
and a half million people, we have great transportation and a
reputation for being the most loyal fans of all."

People involved with the teams say that Landis is not convinced of
the viability of the Brooklyn project and expects the teams to remain
in New Jersey, while Chambers would probably sell his stake in the
teams if they relocated to Brooklyn.


August 9th, 2003, 02:12 PM
Ratner has offered $250 million to buy the Nets!!! ---

Governor: Keep Nets by fixing Meadows

State pushes aside Newark arena plan

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

Gov. James E. McGreevey yesterday proposed a plan to prevent the Nets
from moving to New York by keeping them at a renovated Continental
Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands.

The move marks a major shift for the governor, who until yesterday
had exclusively supported a 5-year-old plan to build a $355 million
arena in downtown Newark for the Nets and Devils. While team and
administration officials said the Newark plan is not completely dead,
McGreevey's shift clearly shows state officials now consider the
Meadowlands a viable alternative for keeping the Nets in New Jersey.

According to several administration officials and executives with
YankeeNets, the governor raised the Meadowlands alternative during a
meeting yesterday morning at the Statehouse with philanthropist
Raymond Chambers, the principal owner of the Nets and the Devils, and
a top investor in YankeeNets, the teams' parent company.

George Zoffinger, the chief executive at the New Jersey Sports and
Exposition Authority and the governor's point-man on professional
sports, also attended the meeting and said "the most important thing
is to try to do whatever we can within our means to keep the teams in
New Jersey."

The high-level meeting came one day after The Star-Ledger reported
Nets owners were involved in "very serious" discussions to sell the
basketball team to one of four competing ownership groups. A sale of
the Nets would not affect the ownership of the Devils, though the
teams could play in the same or different arenas in the future. Both
currently play at the 22-year-old Continental Airlines Arena in East

YankeeNets officials said two of the groups interested in the Nets
would move the team to New York, pressuring Chambers into a difficult
choice: giving up his dream of a Newark arena or letting the teams
move across the Hudson River.

The likely sale of the Nets is largely a result of mounting tensions
within YankeeNets over roughly $25 million in annual losses the Nets
and Devils incur and failed efforts to build the Newark arena.

McGreevey left for vacation yesterday and could not be reached for
comment. Chambers, through his spokesman, declined to comment.

State Senate Co-president Richard Codey (D-Essex), a leading booster
of the Newark project, yesterday was realistic about the challenges
facing the McGreevey administration and YankeeNets. He said keeping
the Nets and Devils in New Jersey was the top priority.

"I still hope Newark is a viable option," Codey said. "If Newark
can't afford to keep meeting the high demands of YankeeNets, I still
want teams in New Jersey. The fans suffered with the Nets for many
years. They don't deserve this."

The potential demise of the Newark project would be a major defeat
for Mayor Sharpe James, who was traveling home from Portugal
yesterday and not available for comment.

Chambers purchased the Nets in 1998 with a handful of fellow
investors for the sole purpose of moving the teams to an arena in
Newark that he felt would revive his ailing native city. In past
interviews he has said he will sell the team without a Newark arena.

Newark has offered a package of $210 million in subsidies for the
development after several attempts to secure state funding packages
failed to clear the Legislature. Chambers, however, could not
convince his YankeeNets partners in the past year to contribute the
remaining $145 million to the proposed arena.

Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner no longer wants to cover
New Jersey teams' losses and wants to sever his ties to both teams,
even though the Nets and Devils both played for league championships
this spring.

Offers from New York investors have intensified the need for a new
plan at the Meadowlands.

At McGreevey's behest, Zoffinger will spend the weekend developing a
plan to renovate the arena and bring in additional revenues for the
money-losing franchises without burdening taxpayers.

Administration officials said Zoffinger and Anthony Coscia, chairman
of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and top adviser to
McGreevey, then will be joined at their New Brunswick offices Monday
by representatives of the Mills Corp., which is building a $1.4
billion entertainment, retail and office complex at the Meadowlands
called Xanadu.

The Meadowlands plan, administration officials said, will rely on
working out a joint venture where the sports authority, Xanadu's
developers, the Nets and the Devils would spend roughly $100 million
to add luxury suites, premium seating, and retail space on a new
concourse at the arena.

The renovated concourse would feed into Xanadu, which is scheduled to
open in 2005.

Even if all parties agree on that financing, the Meadowlands plan
still must compete with the New York offers.

Bruce Ratner, a top New York developer, has offered $250 million and
would move the Nets to a proposed arena in downtown Brooklyn atop the
Long Island Rail Road terminal, YankeeNets executives said. The
Brooklyn arena would be a part of a development that would include
5,500 apartments and 2 million square feet of office and retail

Ratner is competing with at least three other suitors: Islanders
owner Charles Wang, who has repeatedly said he would move the team to
Long Island; businessmen Alan Landis and David Gerstein, who are
minority partners in YankeeNets; and financier Donald Unger, a former
Nets owner.

Officials with the state and YankeeNets said New Jersey's best hopes
for keeping the team rest with the ability of either Unger or the
Landis and Gerstein to match Ratner's $250 million offer.

YankeeNets executives said the company's board is scheduled to
address the sale of the Nets at a board meeting scheduled for this
Friday. Steinbrenner, according to company executives, wants a plan
to break up the company in place by Sept. 1, when Chambers and his
partner, Lewis Katz, must pay former Devils owner John McMullen
roughly 35 million for the final 20 percent of the team they bought
three years ago.

Katz, YankeeNets officials said, has fallen out of favor with several
of his New Jersey partners because he pursued the Brooklyn deal with
Ratner without telling them. Katz, the Nets chairman, has declined
repeated requests to discuss the sale of the team.


(Edited by muscle1313 at 1:13 pm on Aug. 9, 2003)

(Edited by muscle1313 at 1:14 pm on Aug. 9, 2003)

August 11th, 2003, 11:23 AM
Crain NY Business

Potential roadblocks for Devils, Nets moves

by Aaron Elstein

A move by hockey's New Jersey Devils into Brooklyn or Long Island
could be blocked by the New York Rangers or Islanders, but
basketball's New Jersey Nets wouldn't face similar obstacles from the
Knicks. The prospect of New Jersey's sports teams moving to New York
has gained currency in recent weeks amid rumors that the YankeesNets
business partnership might soon dissolve and that the teams could be
relocated under new ownership. Developer Bruce Ratner has proposed
building a 20,000-seat arena in Brooklyn to house the teams, and
Islanders owner Charles Wang has said that he would like to bring the
Nets back to Long Island, where the team played from 1968 to 1977.
But a National Hockey League spokesman said that teams
have "territorial rights," though he declined to explain what those
rights entail. Generally, territorial rights give clubs the power to
prevent other teams from encroaching on their markets and
jeopardizing ticket sales and broadcasting revenues. A move to
Brooklyn or Long Island might be smoother for the Nets, since a
National Basketball Association spokeswoman says that teams in its
league are not allowed to reserve territorial rights.

August 19th, 2003, 03:20 AM
August 19, 2003

Senator and Developer Hope to Keep Nets in New Jersey


Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey and a major real estate developer have joined forces to try to buy the Nets in an effort to prevent them from moving to a new home in Brooklyn, according to several people on both sides of the Hudson River involved in negotiations with the team.

The bid by Corzine and the developer, Charles Kushner, is only the latest development in an intense bistate tug of war over the Nets. State officials in New Jersey want the team to move to Newark, or stay in its current home at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.

Corzine, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs investment bank, and Kushner, chairman of one of the largest privately owned real estate companies in the country, have been talking to some owners of the Nets and reviewing the team's financial records in preparation for a bid that could come as early as this week, the executives said.

The owners of the Nets have been negotiating to move the team, as well as the Devils, to a new $355 million arena in Newark. But the talks have been stalled for months over the team's request for additional financial aid from New Jersey and the City of Newark, which have already committed $210 million to the project. The Nets and the Yankees are two of the major assets of the YankeeNets holding company, which is currently riven with disputes between the owners of the two teams and which may not survive much longer. The holding company would almost certainly be dissolved if the Nets were sold.

Corzine's office in Washington said that Corzine, a Democrat serving his first term, was on vacation and unavailable for comment. Kushner, whose company is based in Florham Park, N.J., did not return calls requesting comment. But three people who have been involved with the negotiations in New York or New Jersey said that Corzine joined the fray within the past week.

In recent weeks, Lewis Katz, a wealthy New Jersey investor and a principal owner of the Nets and the Devils, has been working with the developer Bruce Ratner on a deal to build a new arena for the teams at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn, where it would serve as the centerpiece of a sprawling 21-acre real estate development that would include housing and office space.

Ratner and New York City officials have been working frantically on the proposed project, but no deal has been struck. Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff has said he was interested in the project, but the city is still evaluating its financial viability. Under the terms of the proposed deal with the Nets, Ratner is trying to raise $75 million from investors to buy a stake in the team.

Convinced that, in the words of one New Jersey official, "the Brooklyn deal is real," Corzine has joined Kushner in an effort to keep the teams in New Jersey, whether it is in Newark or in the Meadowlands. Kushner has been working with Raymond Chambers, another owner of the Nets, who is committed to moving the team to Newark.

Another executive, who has talked with Corzine and Kushner, said Corzine was "somebody who'll buy the Nets for the sole purpose of keeping them in Jersey.''

"Our competition is this guy Ratner, who's willing to put up a ton of money," the executive said. "He claims to have New York City officials willing to give him a huge subsidy."

Gov. James McGreevey's office in Trenton said that it was unaware that Corzine had an interest in the teams. McGreevey previously nominated Kushner to be chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey but Kushner later withdrew his name after Republicans complained that he violated campaign finance laws while donating money to McGreevey and other Democrats.

Corzine would not be the first United States senator to own a professional basketball team. Senator Herbert Kohl, a Democrat from Wisconsin, owns the Milwaukee Bucks, although Kohl bought the team in 1985, before he was elected to the first of his three terms in office. Kohl has not put the Bucks in a blind trust and has taken an active role in running the team. It is unclear whether Corzine would put his stake in a blind trust, or be involved in politically volatile issues like demanding subsidies from the state for a new arena.

"Corzine is not buying into this team because he thinks he's going to make money," said the executive who talked with Corzine and Kushner. ''It's to save the teams from leaving New Jersey and maybe to generate political support."

Mayor Sharpe James of Newark and McGreevey have been working with Chambers to revive the arena project in Newark. McGreevey has also directed the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to work out a fallback position, involving the renovation of Continental Arena, the current home of the Nets and the Devils. The authority recently hired architects and planners to develop some proposals and cost estimates.

The current crisis is sparked in part by the fact that Chambers and Katz, who own 70 percent of the Devils (the remainder is owned by YankeeNets), must pay the former Devils owner John McMullen $50 million on Friday as a final payment for the team. Despite winning the Stanley Cup for the third time in eight years, the Devils continue to lose as much as $25 million a year and rank near the bottom of the league in attendance. The Nets, who advanced to the National Basketball Association finals the last two seasons, also draw relatively poorly but do not lose as much money.

Ratner's Brooklyn deal would involve using his money to paying off the $50 million note to McMullen and putting up money to cover future operating losses for the Devils and the Nets. But he faces obstacles, particularly because the project involves building over a rail yard owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ratner wants the authority to donate the land, while some senior M.T.A. officials maintain that the authority must be paid.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

August 19th, 2003, 11:16 AM
That's an interesting twist.

August 19th, 2003, 11:35 AM
They will never get the arena deal in Newark to go through. Newark is a run down city that has seen its hayday long since pass and most likely will never see another one and getting the arena in Newark would just be another pathetic stunt to revtilize the city like the New Jersey Preforming Arts Center. They would have a better chance of putting it in Jersey City (if they could find a lot not takin up by an up coming office tower, housing development, or shopping center), a city which has become one of the leading cities in the state. I say they leave it in the Meadowlands and just refurbish it. Why break up the band out there with the Giants, Jets, Devils, Nets, Metrostars, and the Racetrack by pulling the Nets and Devils out and moving them into a dump of a city. Not to mention its a fairly simple commute for both NJ and NY residents with the Lincoln Tunnel leading straight out to Route 3 which goes right to the Sports Complex and the Turnpike not that far from it.

August 19th, 2003, 12:46 PM
Go easy,

I used to work in Downtown Newark (Halsey street) and it's not as bad as you make it out to be, the worst parts of Newark (Central Ward) are no wheres near as bad as the worst parts of NYC (Bushwick etc).

There's alot going for Newark and Essex County, 10 minutes drive down 78 from Downtown Newark and your in some of the wealthiest suburban communities of the Wealthiest State in the Nation.

August 19th, 2003, 01:21 PM
Yeah, I've been going out to Newark occasionally for work lately and it's just fine where the arena site is. Not a dump, and not run down. One thing it has that the Meadowlands doesn't is a real neighborhood that has bars and restaurants. There is nothing to do before or after any event at the Meadowlands. Newark is at least as easy to get to, especially with mass transit. Jersey City or Brooklyn might be better, but I think you're wrong about Newark never seeing another revitilization. People thought the same thing about Jersey City after all.

(Edited by NYatKNIGHT at 12:32 pm on Aug. 19, 2003)

August 19th, 2003, 05:57 PM
True your right I don't spend much time in Newark so thats the impression I get. Sorry for the Newark bashing.

August 19th, 2003, 07:21 PM
At one time Newark was the place folks went to go shopping, most NY'ers went to downtown Newark's many department stores.

The race riots of the 1960s brought on by the murder/assasination of Dr.Martin Luther King sparked fierce race riots that destroyed many great cities such as Newark, Detroit and my local Asbury Park.

These were great communities at one time, and they are being brought back to life block by block. Cities like Baltimore and Jersey City are succeses that should be joined by development in Newark, Detroit etc.

You have to start some where, and the Newark arena would be a great way to build upon Newark's success like the great restaraunts of the Iron Bound or it's location to Newark Airport, NYC etc.

To reverse the "white flight" of the late '60-early '70s is not going to be done overnight, but it should be done.

Not everyone in NJ has to live in a McMansion on two acres 45 miles from NYC, Jersey City, Hoboken, Wehawkin, Ft.Lee, Edgewater have proved that if you build quality high end apartments in up and coming neighborhoods within close distance to NYC and transportation they (young, wealthy, couples) will come.

I would rather the Nets and Devils move to Newark, and build a NASCAR/Indy car track at the Meadowlands.

I know the Giants are not going anywhere, but a new Giants stadium on the Shores of the Hudson river in Jersey City with views of the Manhattan skyline would be sweet!

August 19th, 2003, 07:26 PM
"Corzine leads drive toward buying Nets

Kushner partnership was arranged by Torricelli to keep team in Jersey

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

In their 36-year history, the Nets have been owned by accountants, real estate developers, industrialists and a man who made a small fortune selling toilets.

Now a United States senator wants to buy the basketball team.

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and real estate magnate Charles Kushner are in early discussions to lead a group that would buy the Nets, six sources familiar with the negotiations said.

The partnership was brokered by former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli within the past week, said the sources, who include a board member of the YankeeNets sports company, which plans to sell the Nets as part of a pending break-up. Torricelli has been recruiting New Jersey investors for the past 10 days in an effort to keep the team from moving to New York.

"The fact is, Corzine would like to be a partner of Kushner in buying the team and keeping it in New Jersey," said the YankeeNets board member, who asked not to be identified.

Darius Goore, a spokesman for Corzine, said the senator was in San Francisco over the weekend for his son's wedding and could not be reached for comment.

Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for Kushner and principal Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, declined comment.

It was unclear last night whether Kushner and Corzine would push to keep the Nets and the Devils hockey team at their current home, the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, or try to revive the long-stymied Newark arena plan.

It also was unclear whether Nets principal owners Lewis Katz and Raymond Chambers would have a role if the team is sold. Chambers has championed a Newark arena deal since buying the team with Katz and other partners five years ago. Separately, Katz and Chambers are also majority owners of the Devils.

Asked about Corzine's interest in the Nets, Micah Rasmussen, Gov. James E. McGreevey's spokesman, said: "We don't have any information on that."

Efforts to find a buyer for the Nets have taken on a sense of urgency this month after New York developer Bruce Ratner said he wanted to buy the team and move it to a new arena in Brooklyn. The arena would anchor an elaborate housing and retail development.

Separately, Charles Wang, who owns the New York Islanders hockey team and has long been interested in purchasing the Nets, has intensified negotiations with Nassau County, N.Y., for a new arena.

In their early days, the Nets, then known as the New York Nets and part of the American Basketball Association, played on Long Island.

The price tag for the team is approximately $250 million, according to YankeeNets and state officials. The Star-Ledger reported earlier this month that two other potential bidders, both New Jersey businessmen, were unlikely to put financing together to buy the team -- a development that led to Torricelli's involvement.

A senior McGreevey administration official with direct knowledge of the effort said the state was pursuing deals for the Meadowlands and Newark "with equal vigor. But if New York is hell-bent on being irresponsible with taxpayer dollars, that's an untenable situation. There's a limit to what we can do. We're not going to be irresponsible."

There is precedent for a U.S. senator owning an interest in a professional sports franchise while serving in Congress. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) bought the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association in 1985 to ensure that the team remained in Milwaukee.

Corzine, like Kushner, is a former high school jock. The first-term senator played point guard and quarterback in Taylorville, Ill., and is still described by friends and associates as a sports nut.

"He wanted the Devils three or four years ago," said Christy Davis, who managed his Senate campaign. "He is a hockey fanatic. He used to conduct meetings watching the Devils over his shoulder on television."

Corzine also has many of the same friends as Kushner, including Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who succeeded Torricelli -- the very man who helped put the Kushner-Corzine Nets partnership together.

Kushner is the largest McGreevey contributor and has emerged from public obscurity in the past year. State and federal investigators are examining whether Kushner made tens of thousands of dollars in illegal political donations to McGreevey and other Democrats over the years. Earlier this year, Kushner resigned from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and withdrew his nomination to become chairman.

Chambers led a group that bought the Nets in the summer of 1998 and eventually merged with the Yankees to create YankeeNets. The company, which also controls the Devils, has failed repeatedly to secure financing to fund a $355 million arena in downtown Newark. Three governors have supported various financing options, but the measures stalled in Trenton.

Frustrated by those failures and sparring among themselves, YankeeNets members have drawn battle lines down the middle of the Hudson River. Key company investors have been meeting in recent weeks to discuss the future of their troubled partnership, once hailed as a model sports company.

August 19th, 2003, 07:33 PM
I think the bottom line is that the team will do better in NYC than in NJ. *They couldn't even sell out playoff games, for God's sake.

August 20th, 2003, 11:09 AM
I think they would do better anywhere than in the Meadowlands. There are places in NJ that might do better than Brooklyn, like Hoboken, JC, or even Newark. Again, there's nothing to do at the Meadowlands but go to the game. Giants games have made up for it with a huge tailgating scene, but no one tailgates for basketball games, it's winter. The Devils had the same problems, but years of being a great team have brought the fans no matter how terrible the location.

August 20th, 2003, 06:46 PM
Corzine and Kushner in the finals to bid for Nets

Jerseyans' group is 1 of 3 talking with team owners

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

A group of New Jersey investors in the YankeeNets sports company decided yesterday to open formal negotiations to sell their controlling interest in the Nets, company officials said.

The investors will consider offers from three groups: a partnership of Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and developer Charles Kushner; New York City builder Bruce Ratner; and Charles Wang, who owns the New York Islanders hockey team.
The Corzine-Kushner bid appears to be the only chance to keep the pro basketball team in New Jersey, since Ratner and Wang have said they will move the team to New York.

The decision by the New Jersey group to entertain bids came after a meeting of the YankeeNets finance committee in New York.

"Those are the three players," said a YankeeNets board member, who received telephone updates from the meeting and called the group of New Jersey investors -- described as less than one dozen -- deeply divided. "It's a real negotiation. Some want to sell, others don't want to sell. Some want New Jersey, others want Brooklyn.

"What is clear is they are headed toward selling."

The development comes three days before investors in Puck Holdings, an affiliate of YankeeNets that controls the New Jersey Devils, must pay former team owner John McMullen $50 million.

Two people directly involved in the negotiations said the payment due McMullen and a desire to keep the Nets and Devils under common ownership also make it possible that Corzine and Kushner could own part or all of both teams, which are controlled by the YankeeNets' New Jersey ownership groups.

Both teams currently play at the Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands Sports Complex. And both played for their league championships this spring.

Kushner and Corzine, whose partnership was brokered by former Sen. Robert Torricelli, are looking for secondary investors, according to a person involved in the talks. That same source said Torricelli would not initially invest with the group, although he is expected later to negotiate for an equity stake in the Nets.

Corzine, whose son was married this weekend, is traveling and could not be reached for comment. Kushner, through spokesman Howard Rubenstein, declined to comment. Rubenstein also represents YankeeNets and said the company would not comment. Torricelli declined comment when reached by phone.

The possibility of Corzine and Kushner investing in both teams also could result in a partnership with Raymond Chambers, the most prominent New Jersey investor in YankeeNets.

It was Chambers who led groups of investors that bought the Nets in 1998 and the Devils in 2000 with plans to move both teams into a new arena in Newark.

In addition to the $175 million paid to McMullen for the Devils, the group assumed another $20 million in debt. The team today is valued at $125 million -- meaning the money still owed McMullen represents 40 percent of the total franchise value.

"It's due at the end of the working day on Friday," McMullen said yesterday. "I just hope they come up with a solution. All I want now is my money."

McMullen kept a 20 percent stake that was deferred until this week. At about 12 percent interest annually, the amount has grown to $50 million from $35 million.

As recently as last year, Chambers and Lewis Katz, another prominent YankeeNets investor with large stakes in the Nets and Devils, sought investors to pump in as much as $50 million to cover bills and steep losses.

YankeeNets officials have admitted overpaying for the Devils, but did so in hopes of winning state subsidy for a $355 million arena in Newark. Three governors, including the current one, James E. McGreevey, have supported various financing packages, but none has made its way out of Trenton.

After five years of false starts, Newark Mayor Sharpe James' administration is optimistic that the Nets and Devils will move to a downtown arena if they are purchased by Corzine and Kushner, who owns IDT Corp.'s headquarters on Broad Street and other downtown buildings.

"Newark was the focus, to try to make it work," said Newark Business Administrator Richard Monteilh, who has spent the past year in negotiations with YankeeNets.

"Newark is the best option," he said. "I would imagine it's good for Newark if Kushner and Corzine are involved."

During an appearance in Newark yesterday, McGreevey said he did not encourage Corzine to invest in the team.

"We understand the importance of working cooperatively to maintain the team's presence in the state of New Jersey," McGreevey said. The governor also said "the financial circumstances of the state have profoundly changed" and that "we don't enjoy the luxury of providing increased taxpayer dollars as an incentive to maintain multimillion-dollar sports teams."

McGreevey also took a shot at New York, which may weigh in with public financing to lure the Nets, by saying: "New York must have revenues that defy the present market."

But McGreevey would not say whether the latest effort was more likely to land the Nets in the Meadowlands or Newark.

"We are working cooperatively with the YankeeNets organization to provide two distinct opportunities, in Newark as well as the Meadowlands," McGreevey said"

September 16th, 2003, 12:21 PM
September 16, 2003

Two Investment Banks Asked to Find a Buyer for the Nets


YankeeNets officially put the Nets up for sale yesterday and named two investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, to find buyers.

The decision to open up the Nets to a formal auction brings order to what looked like chaos. The YankeeNets board voted to explore the sale of the team on Sept. 4, but the holding company has worked ever since to simplify how it would accept an offer.

Officials who are involved in the process said a sale would need only the YankeeNets board's approval, not separate go-aheads from the Nets' board; the Community Youth Organization charity set up by the Nets' owners; George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' principal owner; and Raymond Chambers, a Nets owner.

There are three possible buyers for the team. Lewis Katz, an owner of the Nets, has aligned himself with the real estate developer Bruce Ratner to buy the team and move it to downtown Brooklyn. Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey is looking to buy the Nets with the developer Charles Kushner to keep the team in New Jersey. Charles Wang, the co-owner of the Islanders, wants to bring a second tenant to Nassau Coliseum, which would make the financing of a new arena much easier.

The level of interest beyond the three existing bidders is not known. The sale is expected to take three to six months.

How much the team is worth will depend, as usual, on how badly the prospective buyers want it. Katz, Chambers and a group of investors paid $150 million for controlling interest in 1998, then paid $225 million more to merge with the Yankees into YankeeNets the next year.

Forbes magazine estimated the Nets' value at $218 million. Recent National Basketball Association team sales include the Charlotte Bobcats expansion team ($300 million), the Boston Celtics ($360 million) and the Dallas Mavericks ($280 million).

Yesterday, AOL Time Warner said it reached an agreement to sell the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers and the master lease to Philips Arena for $250 million.

A prospective Nets buyer would be acquiring an exciting but money-losing team that has played in an arena it does not control and is uncertain about its future home. Four years of negotiations have failed to secure a deal to move the Nets and the Devils to Newark; YankeeNets has avoided any discussion of staying at Continental Arena, although the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is exploring a renovation of it.

Goldman and Lehman have existing ties to YankeeNets: Goldman is a minority owner of the YES Network, and Lehman has been an adviser to the company.

Goldman handled the $635 million sale of the Jets to Woody Johnson, and Lehman, one of the most active investment banks in sports, ran the sale of the Anaheim Angels and of Nelson Doubleday's 50 percent of the Mets to Fred Wilpon.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

October 14th, 2003, 11:33 PM
Basketball Greats Back Nets B'klyn Plan

The Associated Press

October 14, 2003, 4:22 PM EDT

A cake with the words "Brooklyn Basketball" on it is on display as former NBA player Albert King, center, speaks at a news conference to support a bid to buy the New Jersey Nets and move them to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn-reared basketball greats including Connie Hawkins and World B. Free joined real estate developer Bruce Ratner on Tuesday to support his bid to buy the New Jersey Nets and move them across the Hudson and East rivers.

"Brooklyn Nets! Let's go!" said Free, who grew up in Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood before going on to a 13-year NBA career.

Ratner, the developer of Brooklyn's 16-acre MetroTech Center, heads one of three investment groups that filed bids last week to buy the Nets from YankeeNets, the conglomerate that owns them.

While Ratner would move the Nets to Brooklyn, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang would move them to Long Island. Only developer Charles Kushner would keep the team at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. Tuesday's news conference at a restaurant near the site of the proposed Nets arena was long on Brooklyn pride and short on details.

"We're going to fulfill the dream of all Brooklynites and build an arena for the great champions, the Brooklyn Nets!" said a star-struck Ratner after trading his conservative suit jacket for Free's flashier duds.

Albert King, who grew up in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood and played for the Nets, added, "I would love to be able to come across that Brooklyn Bridge, head on over here and watch a game of the Brooklyn Nets." Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz invoked the borough's abandonment by the Dodgers, who decamped for Los Angeles in 1958.

"As a 12-year-old I cried like a baby when the Brooklyn Dodgers left us for La-La-Land," Markowitz said. "Now at 58 years of age I can't wait to shed tears of joy. Joy because I predict that the Brooklyn Nets will be the most successful basketball team in the NBA." Markowitz then mugged for photographers with Hawkins, whose sternum he barely reached.

Ratner sidestepped questions about who would pay for an arena in downtown Brooklyn. "It's premature," he said. "The first thing we have to do is get the team." He said the arena would be designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and would be ready in three years when the Nets' current lease runs out.

A handful of arena opponents protested outside the press conference.

"Northern Brooklyn likes basketball but we don't want a stadium in our back yard!" read a flyer from the Prospect Heights Action Coalition.

After participating in a news conference at Junior's Cafe in Brooklyn to support the New Jersey Nets moving to Brooklyn, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, right, was confronted by Patti Hagan, left, a member of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition and one of many resident opponents of the move who protested outside the restaurant.

October 15th, 2003, 01:45 AM
Hell no they wont go

If Nets move, Kidd won't


When Jason Kidd inked a six-year, $103 million deal with the Nets over the summer, he did so thinking he would settle down in New Jersey, not Long Island.
Now that the Nets are up for sale, Kidd will demand a trade if they are sold and moved to Long Island, according to ESPN.com. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority made an offer this week to share $100 million in costs with the Nets to improve Meadowlands Arena. But Islanders owner Charles Wang - one of three parties looking to buy the Nets - would move the Nets to Long Island, where he hopes to build a new arena that would be home to both the Nets and Isles.

Kidd - who along with wife Joumana did not return phone calls yesterday - has often said one of the reasons he did not leave for San Antonio as a free agent was because he did not want to move after being traded twice before. Nets president Rod Thorn did not want to comment about the report but said Kidd never had voiced concerns about a possible Nets move to Long Island before. Any sale still could take months to finalize.

"Who knows what will happen with the team? I don't worry about things that are theoretical," Thorn said.

Two New Jersey investors, developer Charles Kushner and U.S. Sen. Jon S. Corzine, and New York developer Bruce Ratner - who wants to move the team to Brooklyn - all have submitted formal bids.

October 15th, 2003, 01:47 AM
Mourning's also against L.I. move


Training camp is only two weeks old, but Alonzo Mourning is already following Jason Kidd's lead. The Nets' new center joined Kidd yesterday in voicing his displeasure over the possibility of the team moving to Long Island.
"I didn't come here to go to Long Island," Mourning said yesterday of the prospect of Islanders owner Charles Wang buying the team and bringing it to Long Island. "I just bought a nice house over in New Jersey. My family is just getting settled in. I understand the nature of this business. (But) I came here to play in New Jersey at the Continental Airlines Arena. I just got this system down, don't change it now."

Like Kidd, Mourning says he did not know the franchise was going to be put up for sale when he was deciding whether to sign with the Mavericks or Nets as a free agent in July. Now, Mourning and the rest of the organization are completely in the dark as to what will happen. Three groups presented formal bids for the team last week. While one group of New Jersey investors hopes to keep the team in the state, another group wants to move the club to Brooklyn while Wang is hoping to bring the Nets back to Long Island.

It's been an interesting preseason thus far for Mourning, who is averaging 11 points and five rebounds in two games. Already, he has seen the Nets buy good friend Dikembe Mutombo out of his contract to cut salary. Mourning criticized ownership for trying to make the team look more attractive to buyers instead of concentrating on winning a title. Now, the team may be on the move, perhaps prompting Kidd, the man he signed up to play with, to ask for a trade if that happens.

"I am sure that (the team sale) would have probably factored into my decision if I would have known initially," said Mourning, who signed a four-year, $22 million deal. "But it is water under the bridge. I am signed, (Kidd) is signed and we are here. We can voice our opinions about it but when it is all said and done, just like the situation with Dikembe, they (ownership) got the final say-so."

October 15th, 2003, 02:03 AM
Kidd also said he would accept a move to Brooklyn.

October 15th, 2003, 02:22 AM
October 15, 2003

Nets in Brooklyn? These Stars Support It


Some of Brooklyn's finest homegrown basketball talent gathered at Junior's Restaurant yesterday to support Bruce Ratner's attempt to buy the Nets and move them to Brooklyn.

Connie Hawkins, World B. Free, Albert King, Sidney Green, Pearl Washington, Fly Williams, Greg Jackson, Sonny Hertzberg, Geoff Huston and Richie Gaines flanked Ratner, a New York developer, and Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, as they shared their vision of the Brooklyn Nets at a news conference.

"Basketball is a part of Brooklyn," said Free, a former N.B.A. star who now works in community relations for the Philadelphia 76ers. "All of the players that I've talked to and been around said, `If you haven't been to Brooklyn, you haven't played basketball.' If you get a team like the New Jersey Nets being the Brooklyn Nets, this place would be crazy. Nuts."

Jackson, who played briefly for the Knicks and the Phoenix Suns, said he thought a relocation of the Nets would benefit the borough's children because of the potential for community outreach.

Hawkins, who lives in Phoenix, said he would be willing to move back to Brooklyn to help Nets players get involved in the community.

"I always felt that Brooklyn was the Mecca for basketball and if they had a pro team here, I would love to come back and work with the team," said Hawkins, who works in community relations for the Suns. "Athletes are role models, and if they were around for these young kids to look up to, I don't think they would be involved in a lot of the stuff they're involved in."

At the news conference, Ratner, the leader of one of three groups that have submitted bids to buy the Nets, and Markowitz spoke with fervor.

"As a 12-year-old, I cried like a baby when the Brooklyn Dodgers left us for La-La land," Markowitz said, referring to the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. "Now, at 58 years of age, I can't wait to shed tears of joy because I predict that the Brooklyn Nets will be the most successful team in the N.B.A."

Ratner said: "You're going to have Brooklyn versus Manhattan, the Nets versus the Knicks. This is going to be like the Yankees and the Dodgers. It's going to be unbelievable."

Other prospective buyers of the Nets are Charles Wang, the Islanders' owner, who would move the Nets to Long Island; and the real estate developer Charles Kushner, who has teamed with Senator Jon S. Corzine in an effort to keep the Nets in the Meadowlands.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

October 20th, 2003, 05:14 PM
New York Magazine
October 27, 2003

Back to the Future
A talented, championship-caliber sports team in the heart of Brooklyn? No, it’s not nostalgia. Developer Bruce Ratner is angling to bring a basketball team to a Frank Gehry-designed arena on Atlantic Avenue. Good-bye, Dodgers. Hello, Nets.

By Alex Williams

“The Dodgers, the Dodgers, the Dodgers,” Bruce Ratner says, his voice mixed with affection and weariness. He’s talking about the baseball team that once anchored Brooklyn’s major-city aspirations and now anchors Brooklyn in the past. “That’s nice nostalgia, but we have to get beyond that. In a metaphorical way, we have to get over the Dodgers. That’s important. Because that talk represents the way Brooklyn used to be. And how one talks about the New Brooklyn is very important.”

The New Brooklyn. Get used to that phrase, because the momentum behind it is only getting stronger. If it happens—or, rather, when it happens—no one’s going to be more responsible than Bruce Ratner. Which is sort of ironic, considering how nearly invisible the press-shy developer of some of the most audacious commercial projects in downtown Brooklyn has been, even while establishing himself as a critical force in the borough’s renaissance of the past fifteen years.

Ratner has devoted his life to a vision, essentially that Brooklyn need no longer act as a living museum for your grandfather’s memories of spaldeens, stickball, and Ebbets Field on a July afternoon. Unless you’re talking the Cyclones, baseball’s pretty much a memory, too. Yes, only six years ago, then–borough president Howard Golden and then-congressman Chuck Schumer were talking about luring the Bums back from Chavez Ravine. Ratner’s never been under any such illusion. But for him, this does not mean the death of a dream. Only a reincarnation.

“Basketball is the right thing for Brooklyn now,” Ratner says firmly. “Just as baseball was the right thing when the Dodgers started up more than a century ago.”

This is the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets that Ratner, the president of Forest City Ratner Companies, has in mind—or, soon, if Ratner has his way, the Brooklyn Nets. The team would play its home games in a spectacular arena designed by Frank Gehry, the architect who created the enviable Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. This arena would rise from a platform constructed over the Long Island Rail Road yards on Atlantic Avenue, a short stroll from the late-night halal chicken joints favored by Syrian gypsy cabbies.

Yes, it sounds like a fantasy. There are lots of reasons it might be. For starters, New Jersey isn’t likely to want to give up its champs now that they’re finally something other than a league laughingstock. Just one of the people lining up to stop Ratner is named Jon Corzine, he of the $300 million in personal wealth and the seat in the United States Senate. Then there’s Charles Wang, the Computer Associates founder, who already owns the New York Islanders and has a stadium where the Nets could play, the Nassau Coliseum.

Besides, no one has been able to get a major-league sports facility built in New York since the sixties. And everyone’s tried—the Mets, the Jets, the Yankees. George Steinbrenner couldn’t do it, not with Rudy Giuliani, as much a Yankee at heart as Derek Jeter, in Gracie Mansion for eight years during a historic economic boom. Brooklyn has been rolling its collective eyes at Ratner’s schemes for years (see MetroTech, the Atlantic Center shopping mall, and the under-construction Atlantic Terminal office-retail complex), yet he’s scarcely missed on one yet. No wonder one prominent Brooklyn-bred businessman is so bullish on the plan.

“Bruce Ratner believes that Brooklyn can be a great city. Yes, city,” says this sometime associate. “Ratner believes this in the year 2003, which some people might find humorous. But in the year 2012, if he’s able to do what he wants to do, then people will say, ‘Hey, remember 2003, when all of this seemed crazy?’ He has 8.2 million square feet of prime real estate in downtown Brooklyn connected to the biggest subway and commuter-rail hub in New York. In that 8.2 million square feet, you’re going to see a new basketball arena, designed by Frank Gehry, the rest commercial real estate and housing. What you’ll see there is not typical Brooklyn brownstones. There’s a skyline to this. This is the future. This is Robert Moses. This is Levittown.”

“Even in my own office, they thought I was absolutely crazy,” says Ratner, who along with the other two investment groups submitted bids two weeks ago. A decision can come anytime from next week to three months from now, insiders say. “My lawyers thought I was crazy. But we have a decent shot. We may not get it. But I’ll tell you, no one ever thought I would get this far.”

The skepticism is understandable. Typically, it’s not easy to carry off a pro team to a neighboring market. But then, the Nets have never been typical.

The Nets were first the New Jersey Americans in 1967, an original franchise of the freewheeling, if short-lived, American Basketball Association. They moved to Nassau County in 1968 and rechristened themselves the New York Nets. On Long Island, the team established itself as both a high-wire act and a powerhouse, thanks in large part to Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who played his most gravity-defying games for the Nets back when the ball was tricolored and the home court was the Nassau Coliseum. Then, in 1976, the struggling ABA merged with—in essence, succumbed to—the mighty NBA. The next year, the Nets again hopped a couple of boroughs and two rivers and landed back in New Jersey. There, they attempted to build a new fan base in the recently constructed, and quite sterile, Brendan Byrne (now Continental Airlines) Arena, across the parking lot from Giants Stadium in the swampland of East Rutherford.

As a Jersey institution, the Nets never quite clicked. They began losing games—often in the secluded privacy of a half-filled arena—and, worse, their identity. Twice, they changed uniforms, and they very nearly changed names, to the, ahem, Swamp Dragons. Salvation supposedly arrived in 1998, when a new ownership group headed by two do-gooder-type real-estate moguls, Lewis Katz and Ray Chambers, bought the franchise. Soon, they announced plans to build a sparkling new $355 million arena in Newark’s dire downtown that would feature all the skyboxes and luxuries needed to pay the modern NBA’s eight-figure player salaries.

The Newark plan was a variation on the very nineties build-it-and-they-will-come concept of urban renewal, a notion that swept the country after new ballparks in Baltimore and Cleveland reinvigorated once-desolate urban cores. But Newark has never quite materialized.

“The New Jersey market has not been one that they’ve been able to ignite,” says sports economist Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College, a leading authority on the economic impact for cities of stadium construction. “The Nets have had a very good team for a couple of years now, but I know a lot of people in Manhattan who still talk about going out to Nets games almost as if they’re going to Philadelphia. I’m not sure Newark wouldn’t be worse. I don’t see either of the New Jersey options. The market there just doesn’t have the same cachet that Brooklyn would have.”

The Nets themselves did their part. Once the team traded for star point guard Jason Kidd in 2001, they marched to consecutive conference championships. But even success failed to push the Nets into the black, as they continued to attract some of the smallest crowds in the league. Worse, the new commitment to winning came at a price. This past summer, the team committed $125 million over the next six years to lock down two players alone—Kidd and former All-Star center Alonzo Mourning.

And the ownership had grown vastly more complicated following a 1999 merger with, of all people, George Steinbrenner. At the time, Steinbrenner was planning his own cable channel, the YES Network, to broadcast Yankees games. The Boss, however, needed winter programming. Soon, the Boss and the Nets and even hockey’s New Jersey Devils were squeezed shoulder to shoulder into an ungainly entity known as YankeeNets. In the days of corporate synergy, the idea sounded intriguing, in an AOL Time Warner sort of way.

And it worked out just about as well. The personality clashes between the blustery Steinbrenner and the quiet, philanthropic Chambers and Katz are said to have been pronounced. There were reported tussles over the network and team management. By this past summer, it appeared, everyone wanted out.

Much to the shock of everyone, a low-key developer out in Brooklyn suddenly wanted in.

Owning a sports team is usually a job for blow-dried nouveau-ultra-riche narcissists. Think Jerry Jones. Think Mark Cuban. Not only does Ratner show zero interest in earning face time on ESPN’s SportsCenter, but he practically never speaks to the press about anything, although he did come out of his shell a bit with a showy press conference at Junior’s last week. In this interview with New York, Ratner declined—in accordance with a confidentiality clause issued by the investment banks handling the sale, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers—to talk about any specifics relating to his bid, his strategies to build support within City Hall, or his potential ownership group (Ratner, according to one report, is looking to put up $75 million of his own money into a team that could go for $250 million).

Yes, Ratner, now 58, did serve for a time as Consumer Affairs commissioner under Ed Koch. He has served as chairman of the board of bam. But for a guy who’s already transformed the landscape of downtown Brooklyn with massive projects, he’s almost invisible. At some point soon, “New Brooklyn” may indeed need a cheerleader, a Trump all its own. But it won’t be Bruce Ratner. “That’s the last thing I’d want to do,” he says a bit awkwardly. “It’s not my nature, and at the end of the day, I’m a real-estate developer.”

But then he proceeds to cheerlead. “There are still people who say, ‘What, Brooklyn?’ They don’t get it,” Ratner says. He envisions the triumphant arrival of the Nets—and maybe even the NHL-champion Devils—at a gleaming pleasure dome on the very site where the O’Malleys once dreamed of building a new Ebbets Field. It would be the crowning achievement of his real ambition, he says, which is to help bring about one of the country’s great urban renaissances.

In fact, the biggest thing Ratner might have going for him is that his plan turns the build-it-and-they-will-come model, which is always a bit of a gamble, on its head. Ratner’s idea is more they’ve-already-come-so-let’s-build-it. The they in this case is the invigorated new population that has simply transformed the borough in the past five years.

“Five years,” he marvels. “I can’t believe my eyes, the changes.” Absurd Manhattan real-estate prices pushed an entire generation of creative, educated, and solidly middle-class New Yorkers across the East River. It’s a historic shift of intellectual and financial capital, and a striking reversal of the hemorrhage that sapped Brooklyn during the decades of suburbanization. If you’re looking for evidence that Brooklyn is once again a major-league town, perhaps you need look no further than the price of brownstones in Park Slope, some of which have tripled in value in the past ten years.

“You talk to old Brooklynites, a lot of them almost never went to Manhattan their whole lives,” Ratner says. “For them, the world started and ended in Brooklyn. They talk about the ‘good old days,’ when Brooklyn had everything, because it did have everything. Downtown Brooklyn once had fifteen theaters!”

“It’s not an accident it’s all coming back,” Ratner enthuses. “Just like the Russian immigrants would move here and bring their families over, now it’s the intellectuals who move here and bring their friends over. Brooklyn has become a brain drain on the rest of the city. In fifteen years, this place will be everything it was and more. You can just see it.”

Ratner, of course, is not everyone’s idea of a philanthropist visionary. In business, he can play hardball as fiercely as Ty Cobb. Five years ago, a rival developer, Millennium Partners, had already started on a gleaming entertainment complex with a 22-screen multiplex and a 50-lane bowling alley down near the Gowanus. Ratner, however, filed suit, claiming rights to the land. In the end, Ratner won out, though the same might not be said for Brooklyn, which will end up with another big-box chain store—Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse.

Nevertheless, Ratner sees his mission as more than mercenary. “I was never interested in traditional real estate—you know, luxury high-rises in Manhattan,” he says. “I mean, there are lots of ways to make money. I found my niche, creating buildings that keep jobs in this city.”

“Everything he’s doing is just homogenizing,” says an activist. “This is just one more step in the Manhattanization of Brooklyn.”

Ratner grew up in a progressive family in Cleveland. His boyhood idol was Indians outfielder Larry Doby, the first black player to cross the color barrier in the American League, Ohio’s own Jackie Robinson. “Bruce is an old lefty, he’s an old hippie,” says one friend. A nephew of powerful Cleveland developer Max Ratner, Bruce Ratner enrolled in Columbia Law School after graduating with honors from Harvard, and planned a career in public-interest law.

“I was a storefront lawyer for the Model Cities program in Queens, which deals with consumer-fraud issues,” explains Ratner, who later taught law at NYU for five years. “I had no interest in business.” In 1982, Ratner, concerned with “family finances and so forth,” decided to try real estate. “My intention was to go into this for a short time.” With backing from the Ohio Ratners, the neophyte developer almost instantly turned his sights on the least-promising terrain around.

“I remember walking downtown one time with my cousin Albert,” recalls Ratner. Albert Ratner is chairman of Forest City Enterprises, the family’s original Ohio company. “I was new to the business and hadn’t built anything yet. We came upon the MetroTech site. If you could only see pictures of it back then. It was the worst precinct in the city. I suddenly got really nervous that MetroTech just couldn’t be done. I turned to Albert and said, ‘Am I crazy?’ Albert just said, ‘Bruce, stay the course.’ ”

Over the next fifteen years, Ratner found plenty of opportunities to test his sanity. “I used to get guffaws,” he recalls. “I would be giving a presentation to a company and I would say, ‘Downtown Brooklyn is the best downtown in America. You’re going to laugh, but I’m going to take the next twenty minutes to prove it to you. We have 32,000 college students, more than Cambridge, Massachusetts. We’ve got the cultural institutions, the transportation. I’ve been all over the country, and this downtown is going to be the very, very best.’ ”

But how could New Jersey let its first native pro franchise go, just at the cusp of greatness? “I for one always assumed that Jon Corzine and Jim McGreevey would never let them leave,” says Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Kenneth Adams. “But when are they going to start playing defense? So far, anyway, Ratner is playing offense quite successfully.”

For the record, everyone in New Jersey insists he’s working hard to keep the Nets in Springsteen Country. The question is, at what cost? Both Nets ownership and elected officials in Jersey insist the Newark arena is not dead. The problem is, team owners have asked for more than the $210 million in public funds originally agreed to, and neither the city of Newark nor the state says it can spare the money.

Meanwhile, current Nets ownership remains deeply divided. Ray Chambers appears ready to sell. Katz is rumored to have thrown in his lot with Ratner, though neither will comment. Jersey’s best hope appears to rest with developer Charles Kushner, now backed by Corzine. That duo brings tremendous clout, both political and financial, but even they appear to be pinning their hopes on securing up to $100 million to renovate Continental Arena, and no one yet has figured out where that will come from. Wang, for his part, is thought to be interested only to the extent that he can get public money to spruce up the unloved Nassau “Mausoleum”—unloved by Kidd and Mourning themselves, who have already spoken out against any fast-breaks out to Long Island, though not necessarily to the 718 area code.

And then there’s Brooklyn, a sports town waiting to happen if ever there was one. “Brooklyn long ago established itself as a good borough for professional team sports,” says Zimbalist, a sharp critic of some other cities’ stadium plans, “and hasn’t been given much of a chance since 1958.

“With arenas,” he explains, “as opposed to outdoor football stadiums, you ought to be able to get much more private financing. The basketball team alone gives you 41 dates, and that’s even if the Devils don’t come. A football stadium gives you ten dates, and there’s not much else you can do there to create revenue except maybe have Billy Graham come and speak, or Bruce Springsteen give a concert.”

The question of how much money the city gets from a new team depends on how much it puts in. That’s where the idea of “incremental” tax revenue comes in. The Bloomberg administration has a policy for any team wishing to build in the city: It’s only willing to kick in money for construction that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the city if the stadium didn’t exist.

An arena, in other words, will inevitably generate new tax revenues—from tickets to basketball games, concerts, even the circus, as well as income taxes from employees who work there. That projected future income is what the city is willing to lend. “What we’re going to use is those extra taxes that would not have existed otherwise to pay for our contribution,” explains Daniel Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. “And hopefully, we’re going to have some left over, too.”

It’s the same deal the city is working out with the Jets, who are making good progress toward a West Side stadium with a retractable roof that would double as an arena and convention center. The problem with Steinbrenner’s now-defunct dreams for a West Side stadium were twofold, Doctoroff says. First off, the Yankees draw 40,000 to 50,000 fans a game, and there are 81 home games a year. That’s a lot of extra activity for midtown Manhattan. Also, moving the Yankees from the Bronx to Manhattan doesn’t bring a net gain for the city. It only robs Peter to pay, well, George.

Bringing the Nets to Brooklyn makes more sense, Doctoroff says. Basketball games attract at most 20,000 fans, and to a far less congested area served by nine subway lines. New Jersey would be the loser here, not a rival borough. Yes, the Knicks might not want a champ in their own backyard, but they don’t have much of a voice in the matter. The NBA decides on such moves by a three-quarters vote of its teams. “The Knicks,” says league spokesman Tim Frank, “would have the same vote as the Phoenix Suns.”

These days, however, there is still no shortage of Brooklynites who don’t care to look into Ratner’s crystal ball. Just last week, a group calling itself the Prospect Heights Action Coalition was outside the Junior’s press conference picketing Ratner’s New Brooklyn vision, which some consider obscene.

“Everything he’s doing is just homogenizing. He plops down this massive suburban-mall architecture in the middle of the neighborhood. It creates walls between the communities. Atlantic Center was built to be unfriendly. Atlantic Terminal, which is going up now, just looks shabby. And does anyone in Brooklyn really want a Chuck E. Cheese?” fumes the group’s Patti Hagan, a 24-year neighborhood resident. “One of the nice things about Brooklyn always was that the Williamsburgh Savings Bank was the only tall building around. This was big-sky country. This is just one more step in the Manhattanization of Brooklyn.”

Ratner’s opponents predict a plague of potential problems, from rats nibbling on trash left behind by basketball fans to asthma exacerbated by fumes pouring from fans’ SUVs. More generally, the quaint quarters of the borough still teem with resentment of the invading “yuppie hordes.” Ratner’s proposed site is surrounded by a standing army of seventies-era urban homesteaders, many of whom are also “old lefties” and ex-hippies, which gives the current debate a little extra juice—it’s left vs. lefter. Hagan, for example, decries government support for pro-sports arenas as “corporate welfare,” and believes city money would be better spent on housing for seniors, public schools, or perhaps a playground for children built on a platform over those very rail yards.

If one concern unites skeptics across the political spectrum, however, it’s traffic.

“Most people in Brooklyn take public transportation,” Ratner insists. “City rules said we had to build MetroTech assuming that 11 percent of the people who worked there would travel by car. In reality, I don’t think it’s 3 percent.”

Neighbors scoff, but evidence suggests the concept is not, on the face of it, absurd. A few years ago, the San Francisco Giants built a scant 5,000 parking spaces for their new 41,000-seat PacBell Park downtown (their old park, Candlestick, had 20,000). The team boldly predicted that an astonishing 50 percent of their game-day fans would use public transportation, which in the Bay Area is feeble indeed compared with New York’s. San Franciscans predicted disaster. In the end, however, the park not only kick-started the once-desolate China Basin district but exceeded the team’s optimistic transportation goals.

Ratner believes a lot of community resistance, however well-intentioned, is ultimately misguided. Narrow anxieties about traffic miss the larger peril that the city is hemorrhaging jobs—just the sort of back-office jobs that complexes like MetroTech are designed to retain. In the months following 9/11, downtown Manhattan alone lost an estimated 25,000 employees to the suburbs, and not just because companies were fleeing Osama.

“In ten years, we lost 12 million square feet of office space to New Jersey, which is huge!” exclaims Amanda Burden, New York’s planning commissioner. Indeed, that space represents perhaps $150 million in lost tax revenues. “Guess why. We didn’t have any sites to build an office building. Downtown Brooklyn had only one available site. Only one! The rest of it is still zoned for medium-density, and ten-story buildings just aren’t going to do it.”

That will almost certainly change by this time next year, Burden says. The Bloomberg administration is feverishly pushing the interagency Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan, which would rezone significant swaths of the city’s commercial quarters, mostly around Fulton Mall, to accommodate as many as ten Manhattan-style commercial skyscrapers, plus new parks and housing. All of this could—should—happen over the next ten years, Burden says. The idea is to “knit” together all of Brooklyn’s isolated assets—from the hip bistros of Smith Street to the design studios in Williamsburg to the ever-expanding bam to the ambitious waterfront parks planned to stretch from Brooklyn Heights to Greenpoint—into a cohesive bloc. “This is an absolutely huge priority,” Burden says. “Downtown Brooklyn is a key element of the administration’s citywide economic-development strategy. The city is very prepared in order to attract this growth, and we are willing to invest scarce public dollars and public open space to catalyze this growth.”

Ratner figures to be a serious player in this redevelopment. Adjacent to a new arena, Ratner plans to build a $2 billion, 21-acre development featuring both retail and office space and some 5,500 units of housing, which he says will come in various-size buildings and serve various income levels.

“We’re going to get hemmed in by all these high-rise luxury buildings,” worries Prospect Heights resident Muriel Tillinghast. “And a 20,000-seater arena is really over-the-top.”

Of course, it’s not as if the proposed development site is exactly Parisian in charm. Ratner himself considers the arena site—a gaping pit of naked railroad tracks ringed by barbed wire—a “scar.” Indeed, stand in front of Atlantic Center and survey the terrain. Few would mistake the Atlantic-Flatbush junction for the Jardin du Luxembourg. All Ratner asks is that potential neighbors of the arena consider the potential. “Frank Gehry recently bought a lot to build on in Venice Beach,” he offers. “The two lots next door tripled in value.”

Then again, turn around and you’ll see part of the problem, not the solution. Brooklynites almost universally consider Ratner’s Atlantic Center a dreary, big-box eyesore. Ratner? Well, he sort of agrees.

“When I started, I did not have any understanding of the importance of architecture,” he admits sheepishly. “So honestly, Atlantic Center is not something that we’re terribly proud of. But I’ve evolved, I think. Now Frank Gehry is for me an idol, like Larry Doby when I was a kid. Listen, if I have something to do with a new arena, it’ll be radical,” he says deliciously.

The hidden gamble for Ratner is that he’s going to have to try to buy a basketball team without any guarantee of a permanent home. Yes, the team has a lease at the Meadowlands until 2008 and could actually pull out of it when a Brooklyn arena is completed, which Ratner says could take three years. As a worst-case scenario, Ratner has not ruled out a privately funded arena. It might not come to that. City and state officials appear amenable to helping out with an arena, at least under the right framework. The likes of Doctoroff and Burden certainly seem to see an upside.

The question is whether the borough will, too. In a sense, it all comes down to, yes, the “vision thing.” Out West, they dream big dreams and build big stadiums, stadiums with sushi bars and swimming pools. Brooklyn, sturdy and soulful as it is, has been out of the vision business for close to 100 years. But maybe that’s changing, too.

Borough President Marty Markowitz is as Old Brooklyn in manner as a Junior’s egg cream, but he lights up when talk turns to the New Brooklyn Nets. “Brooklyn is the only location that works for the Nets,” enthuses Markowitz. “They left Long Island for a reason. They wouldn’t even be thinking about New Jersey if they realized that the natural fan base is here. All we can do is hope. Football, we don’t have room for an 80,000-seat stadium. Baseball, the Mets and the Yankees have complete veto power over a third team in New York City. The only sport is basketball. If we don’t get this team, the next time this comes around probably will not be in our lifetime.”

TLOZ Link5
October 20th, 2003, 05:45 PM
Let's hope. Brooklyn could soon have everything that Midtown has now—and then some.

Does anyone else here feel the optimism?

October 20th, 2003, 06:36 PM
I do share the optimism.

I think Ratner's assessment is quite right. Brooklyn has a great mix: a downtown economy already rich with creative folks (academics and the arts), lots of developable land, excellent infrastructure, attractive residential neighborhoods in all directions, and upward pressure on land values due to its proximity to Manhattan.

(To a somewhat lesser extent, Long Island City also shares some of these characteristics, and I have high hopes for it as well.)

That said, Ratner is in a position where he can help fulfill Brooklyn's long-term promise, or fatally undermine it. If he keeps up with tacky, big-box style projects, he could do significant damage to the attractiveness of the area. I hope he understands that. Brooklyn's downtown desperately needs innovative, civic-minded development that works at the street level.

TLOZ Link5
October 20th, 2003, 07:03 PM
From the article, it seems that he admits his wrongdoings regarding Atlantic Terminal and such. Regardless, Atlantic Terminal is a very good project in the sense that it has revitalized an important transit hub for Downtown Brooklyn.

October 20th, 2003, 08:38 PM
Don't get me wrong people I love NYC I was born and raised over there in Brooklyn and moved here later on because of my parents jobs, but just because the Knicks stink for lack of a better word, there going to try and take our ONLY basketball team beacause weve been the Eastern Confrence champions twice in a row and the fact that the Knicks are going no where fast. I guess because Jersey City and Hoboken are taking a portion of the business away from NYC, that this is some sort of payback by planning to put it in the middle of MetroTech, were NYC is trying to bring businesses that have moved here to Jersey City and other parts of the state. :evil:

October 20th, 2003, 09:12 PM
I think that the reason the Nets would be moving is because NJ has a notoriously small fan base. The only way the Nets can sell out a game is by getting into the NBA finals. In Brooklyn they would be appealing to a much broader target market - an enormous and concentrated blue-collar borough. I myself would prefer for them to stay in NJ, but I will also admit that I've never been to a game in all my years in NJ. It's all a question of dollars and cents.

October 21st, 2003, 11:14 AM
That's definitely true, but I don't think NJ has a small fan base. The location of the Meadowlands arena has to be the biggest factor. With no town or "scene" to speak of, and located among a tangle of highways with no rail link, it is much harder to draw fans to the games. The tailgating "scene" happens at Giants games, but not much for hockey and not at all for basketball. Instead, sports bars in the area are packed to the rafters with fans. The Devils being in the same arena had the same problems, but after so many winning years the fans are starting to sell out those games more and more. Who knows, in time maybe the same would happen for the Nets, but a change in venue would be the biggest help. Brooklyn, for sure. Newark, probably. I support the Nets moving to Brooklyn but not the Devils - that's a solid Jersey team and NY already has two others. On the other hand, the Nets were once New York, Brooklyn has basketball in its blood, and the Nets aren't as established over the long term as the Devils. Besides, it would be great for Brooklyn.

October 21st, 2003, 08:26 PM
NY has a enough teams for crying out loud stop crying over the fact the Knicks suck and leave the Nets alone. NY does not have to own everything god. Leave NJ alone and stay out of out affairs and just let them move to Newark or stay there. Stop stealing from NJ!!!!!!!! :twisted:

TLOZ Link5
October 21st, 2003, 09:35 PM
You take our jobs. We take your sports teams :twisted: :wink: :twisted:

October 22nd, 2003, 11:57 AM
NY has a enough teams for crying out loud stop crying over the fact the Knicks suck and leave the Nets alone. NY does not have to own everything god. Leave NJ alone and stay out of out affairs and just let them move to Newark or stay there. Stop stealing from NJ!!!!!!!! :twisted:\

I'm gonna go with the thought that you're either joking or totally clueless and leave it at that.

October 23rd, 2003, 07:46 PM
Sorry for getting a little upset, but I just dont want NJ to lose out on a great team

October 25th, 2003, 09:50 AM
Hey guys, this is my first post, wish I had found this page sooner!

Before I say anything else, let me squash this myth of New York attempting to "steal" the Nets from New Jersey. What New York is trying to do, is take back what was stolen from them over 25 years ago. The Nets, like the Jets and Giants came to the Meadowlands via the Empire State. Even Pele's old Cosmos were lured out of the big city for the swamp. Actually, of all the major pro teams to call NJ home, only the Devils, who were stolen from Denver, then known as the Colorado Rockies (and before Denver's thievery, the KC Scouts) have zero ties to New York.

In fact, the only reason Meadowlands Arena was even built was because then NJ governor, Brendan Byrne, saw the great success of the Giants and Cosmos, and figured, why not theft the Knicks and Rangers too!

Roy Boe, then owner of the Nets, saw the Knicks and Rangers balk, and after alienating all of Long Island by selling off Dr. J (the Michael Jordan of his time!) to Philly, decided to sneak the Nets into Piscataway. There they played at the Rutgers Athletic Center, until Meadowlands Arena was completed. Happily for Long Islanders, the Nets lost so much money at "the RAC" that Boe had to sell the team before they could move into what, at the time was, a state of the art building.

Now, although the Alex Williams piece is certainly interesting (he is a little off on a few minor facts) and Brooklyn could be the real wild card, on pure finances, his story should have been on Charles Wang. Wang, owner of the Islanders, is the only one of the three finalists willing to buy the team with a lump-sum of cash! No partial payment plans, no hoping for future investors, just straight out of his pocket! Which is good because realistically, the Nets belong on Long Island.

Most of the NY-NJ-CT Metropolitan area roots for the Giants, Yankees, Knicks and Rangers. North Jersey, even with the Nets and Devils and all of their recent success is no different. Long Island, however, is.

Long Island is the one area where the Giants take a back seat to the Jets, the Yankees to the Mets, and obviously the Rangers to the Islanders. The Nets, like they did during ABA days, could again, build a base in an area that likes going against the tide.

That said, let's dare to dream.

This Brooklyn scenario is truly wild. As devoted as Long Island is to the Isles (who, by the way, during a somewhat disappointing season, and in a much smaller, older, uglier building, still outdrew the Stanley Cup champion Devils) and would be to the Nets, a return to Nassau offers no threat to the Knicks. Again, the same way the Isles aren't a threat to the Broadway Blue Shirts.

A move to Brooklyn though, yikes!

Believe it or not, in Brooklyn, sooo starved for a major team, sooo hungry to again challenge "New York" and with sooo much public transportation, the Nets could really threaten the Knicks. In much the same way that old Dodgers, DEM BUMS, had the heart and soul of not just the Metropolitan area, but of America during the Jackie Robinson days, the Brooklyn Nets, located in a residential nabe, away from "celebrity row" away from the 19,000 suits, away from TGIFriday's and the other benign corporate bars which surround MSG, could really become the "little guy's" team.

The Nets have 3 options:
1) Stay where they are, forever remain in shadow of the Knicks, and continue to exist without any identity what so ever.
2) Move to LI, forever remain in the shadow of the Knicks (except for those in Nassau and Suffolk) and exist as NY's other team. The one with all the bratty, suburban fans.
3) Move to Brooklyn, shoot past the Knicks, challenge the Lakers and Celtics as "America's team" and have the Knicks exist (like the baseball Giants, another Manhattan team who was overshadowed by Brooklyn before joining the Dodgers to California) as the team New York used to root for.

Personally, I think option one will happen, hope that option two does happen, and will be blown away if somehow, option three manages to happen! :shock:

October 25th, 2003, 10:50 AM
You will be hearing from Edward soon. :D

October 27th, 2003, 11:59 AM
There is also Option 4 which could still happen: build an arena in Newark and create an identity for both the Nets and Newark.

November 1st, 2003, 12:29 PM
No doubt, if Bergen County ever gets its act straight, Newark is a very real option.* Probably more realistic than Long Island and certainly more realistic than Brooklyn.* I also agree that b/c of mass transit, Newark has the "potential" to bring in a bigger gate.* Higher draws, however, do not necessarily create an identity!

Here's a look at Net vs. Knick attendance in the pre-Ewing 80's:

1982 13, 875 10, 834
1983 12, 947 10, 703
1984 12, 499 12, 096
1985 12, 243 11, 154

So much for mass transit being the end all and be all. Even so, it's not about tickets, it's about an identity.

A team that proposed to change their name to Swampdragons, one who changes uniforms every 5 years, one who (even when attendance is good) still can't come close to matching the Knicks in TV ratings, stadium advertising, merchandising, and press coverage, despite the back-to-back conference championships, despite the fact that many predict another gloomy season for the, Dolan Knicks, and are still worth $150 milly less than their Manhattan rivals, has, ZERO identity!

Newark won't make the TV ratings in Hoboken or Clifton (let alone NYC) blink. Instead, moving from East Rutherford to Newark would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Brooklyn, on the other hand...

Again, so far Bruce Ratner only has an imaginary arena for the Nets to play in. But, IF he could get one built, Brooklyn would equal any local (anti-Manhattan) identity that Long Island has always had with the Islanders, while also matching the national identity that Los Angeles (from Wilt, to Kareem, to Magic, to Shaq) has always had with the Lakers.

For whatever the reason, America simply cares about Brooklyn in a way that they don't care about Manhattan's other neighbors.* Including Newark...

Remember:* A tree does not grow in Newark, there is no last exit 'til Newark, Willy Loman did not kill himself in Newark, Ralph Kramden did not drive a bus in Newark, Tony Manero did not dance in Newark, Mookie did not do the right thing in Newark, and there's a reason Posh and Beckham did not name their son, Newark!

But back to today's sports world, here are the baseball numbers:

Newark Bears Long Island Ducks Brooklyn Cyclones
2002: 3, 209 6, 158 8, 345
2003: 3, 032 6, 019 8, 308

Forget the actual attendance where Newark gets doubled by Long Island and almost tripled by Brooklyn...

Does anyone think that Newark, the only of the three teams to have:
won a championship, a "downtown" stadium, a former all-star, like Jose Lima, as well as a future hall-of-famer, like Rickey Henderson, comes even close to touching Long Island, and ESPECIALLY Brooklyn, in press coverage, merchandising, and general revenue?

Think Newark will ever get the mini-TV package that Brooklyn gets from Fox-Sports New York?

Bottom line is, that in creating an identity, Brooklyn is the Net's best bet. And that's coming from someone who hopes Charles Wang wins this auction!

November 1st, 2003, 02:55 PM
Remember: A tree does not grow in Newark, there is no last exit 'til Newark, Willy Loman did not kill himself in Newark, Ralph Kramden did not drive a bus in Newark, Tony Manero did not dance in Newark, Mookie did not do the right thing in Newark, and there's a reason Posh and Beckham did not name their son, Newark!


I used to work in Downtown Newark on Halsey street, Newark has lots of workers who would go to Nets/Devils games. Plus there's thousands of Rutgers, UMNNJ, Seton Hall University students in and around Newark, Seton Hall would play their basketball games in the Newark Arena.

Newark is the largest City in the Wealthiest State in the Nation.

Newark is the home to Prudential insurance/Financial World Headquarters (they used to sponsor the NBA halftime report on NBC), Verizon employs thousands in Downtown Newark, as does Blue Cross/Blue Shield, IDT employs thousands in Downtown Newark, the Customs are moving to Downtown Newark, Newark Airport was NYC's first Airport!

There are two large commuter rail stations in Downtown Newark, serving several NJ Transit lines. The Newark Subway/Light rail etc..

Newark suffered from White flight in the Late 1960s because of racial riots after the murder of DR.Martin Luther King, cities like Newark, Detroit etc were thriving metropolises before the riots. If it were not for the galant efforts by Mayor John Lindsey NYC would be a shell of what it is today.

During the 1960s people from NYC (my Mother included) would travel to Downtown Newark to shop, Downtown Newark (Broad Street) was home to many famous department stores.

It's a shame what has become of Newark, but something like the Newark Arena is what's needed to keep the thousands of day time workers in the City to spend money.

TLOZ Link5
November 1st, 2003, 03:44 PM
Newark IS coming back, though. Albeit at the expense of NYC.

Backstabbing Customs agents...

November 1st, 2003, 03:48 PM
Bottom line, as Scope said, Brooklyn is the only place in this metropolitan area that can almost rival Manhattan's national stage presence, not to mention that as it's own city over 100 years ago, it was way bigger than every other city in this area and would still be 4th largest today. Add to that fact, that one in seven people have some connection to this "borough" and you can see why America loves Brooklyn and why it would be a good choice in terms of marketibility and presence.

If 1% of Newark's, Jersey's largest city, population goes to a game that's 2,735 people. If 1% of just Brooklyn's population goes to a game that's 24,652 people and sounds like a sellout to me. In my opinion, there's no real contest, however, i'm not holding my breath yet on the Nets making it over the Hudson and East Rivers, as much as I'd like to see it.

November 1st, 2003, 09:36 PM
November 2, 2003


Coney Island Brings Forth a Basketball Star. Again.


Sebastian Telfair, one of the nation's best high school players, getting his hair cut by Arva White, who wears his most famous customer's number.

It was early October. As Sebastian Telfair, better known as Bassy, dribbled a basketball and smiled for the camera, a small crowd gathered to watch. One of the onlookers on this corner in Coney Island, a middle-aged man with several gold teeth and the unmistakable aroma of liquor, started shouting proudly.

"We've had some great ones here, and we love Stephon,'' he yelled, referring to Telfair's cousin Stephon Marbury, a Coney Island native who is now a point guard for the Phoenix Suns. "But none of them are better than Bassy.''

When the man left, Telfair and others chuckled. But there was an element of truth to his words. While most New Yorkers view Coney Island as the historical site of summer revelry, to local residents it is more importantly one of the world's greatest sources of basketball talent. The latest shining example of this is Telfair, 18 years old, a senior point guard at Coney Island's Lincoln High whose incredible court sense and perfect command of the fundamentals has made him one of the nation's best high school players.

"As the kids grow up, it's like they're taking a torch,'' said Andrew Amigo, Telfair's personal trainer, about the neighborhood's remarkable string of homegrown basketball prodigies.

Telfair, who has a quick smile and cherubic face, said, "Maybe there's something in the water here."

Given this success, it's not surprising that the sport dominates local thinking. "When you ask me about Coney Island, basketball is going to be the first thing to come up,'' Telfair said one day earlier this month. He was sitting on a bench near the well-maintained court at Surfside Gardens, the housing project where he and his brother Jamel Thomas, now playing professionally in Greece, grew up, as did Marbury and his four college-playing brothers. "Every building you walk out of,'' Telfair said, "you're going to see a basketball court right there.''

A strong loyalty to the neighborhood is part of the tradition, too, and it starts with the budding stars' choice of school. Many of America's top high school players attend private schools on scholarship, but Telfair is happy to play at his local public school, just like his brothers and cousins. "My decision to go to Lincoln was easy,'' Telfair said.

This devotion has paid big dividends to the school. The Lincoln basketball team has been among the city's best for the past 20 years, and, with Telfair, at 6 feet 1 inch, running the show, the current team has won two straight city titles and will begin this season as one of the nation's top teams.

There is nothing gilt-edged about Lincoln High, a crowded school of middling academic performance, but the basketball team is rarely left wanting. It has a sponsorship deal with Adidas, the shoe giant, and uniforms made by an Italian designer. It is sifting through offers from schools nationwide that are desperate to have Lincoln play in their tournaments, all expenses paid.

But it is not just through Lincoln High that Telfair, who plans to attend the University of Louisville before joining the pros, remains grounded to his neighborhood. He still lives in the same five-bedroom apartment that his parents, Otis and Erica, have occupied for 30 years.

"Right now it's just me, my little brother, my little sister, and my parents, so everyone's got their own room,'' Telfair said, nodding toward his complex and adding, "I've probably had 60 relatives live in this building.''

HIS roots in the surrounding blocks also run deep. He wears No. 31 on his jersey - a nod to 31st Street, which borders Surfside Gardens. And to watch Telfair walk the one block from the Surfside basketball court to his beloved hangout, Cut Close Barber Shop, is to see him slap five and ask "How you doing?" to people of all ages. And not surprisingly. "Most of the people around here, I've been seeing them my whole life," Telfair said.

Inside Cut Close, Telfair's favorite barber, Arva White, beamed as he gave his most famous customer a shape-up. "Bassy's my man," said Mr. White, who is 23. "I've been cutting his hair since I was 15."

Another barber, Xavier Frank, gestured at the images of Telfair that have been ripped out of magazines and local newspapers and plastered on the shop's mirrors. "Everybody loves him,'' he said. "Every time we'd get the new issue in here,'' he added, referring to a series of basketball-diary articles by Telfair in a sports magazine, "someone would come try and take it.''

Telfair is only mildly interested in the attractions that made Coney Island nationally and even internationally famous. The beach? "Me and my trainer go there to run, to get a good workout in the sand, but I don't know about going for a swim." The Cyclones? "I did go to one game. It was nice." How about the world-famous rides? "I went over there when I was younger, and I'll still go hang out in the summertime, but I'm not that into it."

But Telfair has noticed the improving business district along Mermaid Avenue, for years a tawdry, shabby shopping area. "There's a lot more going on than when I was younger," he said. "More parks for the kids. A lot of new stores. New subway station, a baseball team. We're doing good. Even got fiberglass backboards."

To hear him tell it, Coney Island's basketball prodigies are improving, too.

"The person you should be interviewing is my brother, Ethan Telfair,'' Telfair said. "He just turned 9 years old but he's really, really good. He's going to do some things that have never been done before.''

Ben Osborne is the author of "The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island,'' to be published in April by New York University Press.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

November 2nd, 2003, 02:17 AM
If 1% of Newark's, Jersey's largest city, population goes to a game that's 2,735 people. If 1% of just Brooklyn's population goes to a game that's 24,652 people and sounds like a sellout to me.

Don't compare the City of Newark to Brooklyn, compare Essex County to Kings County.

The majority of the population of Kings County are immigrants, with lower household incomes than NJ's Northern Counties.

Essex County is one of NJ's Weathiest, Essex County is prodominently White Upper Middleclass etc.

The pool to which to sell season tickets in Central Jersey is better than the pool in Brooklyn, especially if you compare average household incomes which I gurantee you are about $10,000 more in Essex County than Kings County.

Season tickets are expensive, as are luxury boxes. Wealthy people buy seaons tickets, corporations buy luxury boxes. Newark has corporate Headquarters (Prudential, IDT etc), plus very wealthy communities surrounding Newark (Montclair, Milburne, Short Hills etc.)

There are no large corporations headquartered in Brooklyn who would spend tens of thousands on luxury boxes, and there are wealthy folks in Brooklyn but how many are actually Basketball fans?

Newark also makes more sense when you factor in the Devils, who would not be allowed to move to Brooklyn because of NHL competition rules.

I don't know if anyone's noticed but they are running tv commercials for Knicks tickets, the long streak of sell outs at the Garden is over. If folks in Brooklyn want to watch basketball there are plenty of open seats available at Knicks games.

November 2nd, 2003, 04:28 AM
The pool to which to sell season tickets in Central Jersey is better than the pool in Brooklyn, especially if you compare average household incomes which I gurantee you are about $10,000 more in Essex County than Kings County.

While this may be true upon first inspection, let's take a closer look. Well, the current home of the Nets shares a border with this Essex County you speak about, and what has that pool done for them? Unless of course you think jumping over the border will magically cure the Nets woes. Then again, you, collectively, try and do the same things with our businesses, so I can see your rationale. Well if we want to play by those rules, guess who Brooklyn shares a border with? One's this place called Staten Island, which happens to have a higher income, just a mere $11,000 more, than this Essex place. There's also a county by the name of Queens which is almost on par, with, uh, Essex. And by the way, there's some place around here named Manhattan, which also boasts a higher median income. So to be fair to Brooklyn, all these median incomes are easily accessible. We also happen to be located on some long island.

Season tickets are expensive, as are luxury boxes. Wealthy people buy seaons tickets, corporations buy luxury boxes. Newark has corporate Headquarters (Prudential, IDT etc), plus very wealthy communities surrounding Newark (Montclair, Milburne, Short Hills etc.)

There are no large corporations headquartered in Brooklyn who would spend tens of thousands on luxury boxes, and there are wealthy folks in Brooklyn but how many are actually Basketball fans?

I second that. But not before I first note that, to our misfortune, we happen to be in New York City, which is home to how many headquarters and corporations? (Well, at least while they're still on this side of the river.) Who will spend tens of thousands on luxury boxes? Probably some of the same people who pay millions for some houses out in Brooklyn they call brownstones or the same people who do it in the Village or either Upper ___ Side.

By the way, Brooklyn happens to be well connected to these forgotton surrounding counties via various subway lines(??), bridges, highways, and uh, buses. Can you say the same of this Essex you speak of? For extra credit, do it without including NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway. Please feel free to include any facts as well.

At any given rate, the sheer size of this entity known as New York mutes, at least business-wise, any argument, proportional or percentage-wise whereas money and selling products are concerned.

For now, I guess we Brooklyn people just have no choice but to remain stuck with these outer-borough, forgotten "leeching" counties with empty seats in MSG and a measly 8 million souls. :( :roll:

November 2nd, 2003, 01:54 PM

November 2nd, 2003, 02:26 PM
One's this place called Staten Island, which happens to have a higher income, just a mere $11,000 more, than this Essex place

Uh, from Staten Island it's easier to get to Downtown Newark than Downtown Brooklyn. It's also cheaper, $7 Verrazano, $6 for the Geothals or Bayonne Bridge.

November 2nd, 2003, 02:31 PM
Well if we want to play by those rules, guess who Brooklyn shares a border with? One's this place called Staten Island, which happens to have a higher income, just a mere $11,000 more, than this Essex place. There's also a county by the name of Queens which is almost on par, with, uh, Essex.

The household income for residents of Northern NJ is higher than Queens , Brooklyn and Staten Island, I would be willing to bet the average household income for reasidents of Morris County NJ and Bergen County NJ (borders Essex County) is higher than Manhattan's.

The best figures I could share right now is airport figures done by the Port Authority with regards to airport travelers, the typical Newark Airport traveler's household income is $86,000. The household income for the typical LGA and JFK airport traveler is $77,000.

November 2nd, 2003, 03:23 PM
Atlantic Avenue has 10 subway lines the LIRR and countless bus lines. 2.5 million people in Brooklyn. 4th largest city in the US. Neighborhoods where home prices are in excess of half a million dollars - Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Bay Ridge, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Manhattan Beach, Seagate, Sheepshead Bay, Madison, Mill Basin, Dyker Heights and on and on and on. Beyond belief that Brooklyn doesn't have a professional sports team right now

November 2nd, 2003, 07:03 PM
The household income for residents of Northern NJ is higher than Queens , Brooklyn and Staten Island, I would be willing to bet the average household income for reasidents of Morris County NJ and Bergen County NJ (borders Essex County) is higher than Manhattan's.

Very true my good man. Only one problem: What have Morris and Bergen and the rest of affluent Northern NJ done for the Nets lately?

The best figures I could share right now is airport figures done by the Port Authority with regards to airport travelers, the typical Newark Airport traveler's household income is $86,000. The household income for the typical LGA and JFK airport traveler is $77,000.

You're stretching now. What airport travelers have to do with sports teams is beyond me. But since you want to talk about them, let's proceed. I wonder where the average Newark Airport traveler is headed to. Is it the world-class attractions of Newark or Jersey City? More than likely not. Now, these airport travelers you speak about don't come here with cars, so how are they to get to the Nets current home or Newark? Almost every single subway line in this city passes through Downtown Brooklyn. There's even one, the G line, that doesn't pass through Manhattan! Wow!

Excitement aside, I understand you probably love Joisey, but keep everything in perspective and grounded in reality. Bottom line is, if Northern NJ was the best place for this team, this topic wouldn't have even come into existence. So argue for it all you want, but the facts still remain the same.

Atlantic Avenue has 10 subway lines the LIRR and countless bus lines. 2.5 million people in Brooklyn. 4th largest city in the US. Neighborhoods where home prices are in excess of half a million dollars - Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Bay Ridge, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Manhattan Beach, Seagate, Sheepshead Bay, Madison, Mill Basin, Dyker Heights and on and on and on. Beyond belief that Brooklyn doesn't have a professional sports team right now


November 2nd, 2003, 11:53 PM
Almost every single subway line in this city passes through Downtown Brooklyn. There's even one, the G line, that doesn't pass through Manhattan! Wow!


Folks taking subways to Atlantic ave don't have the money to pay $2,000 for Season tickets.

Newark has Penn Station, Broad Street station, and Newark Airport.

November 2nd, 2003, 11:55 PM
Bottom line is, if Northern NJ was the best place for this team, this topic wouldn't have even come into existence. So argue for it all you want, but the facts still remain the same.[quote]

The Newark Arena would have been done a long time ago but reluctance by Governor McGreevey to pledge State money has hurt the project, that and the fact that Bergen County is fighting Essex County for the new Arena.

November 3rd, 2003, 12:03 AM
4th largest city in the US

Lets be honest, if Brooklyn were it's own city it would be one of the poorest in the Nation, with no large corporations to which to collect taxes and dwindling manufactoring. Add on top of that the huge immigrant communities, and the needs for transportation, security etc.

Sorry but if it were not for all those Companies and jobs in Manhattan paying taxes Brooklyn would be in dire straights, where would they generate tax revenues to support the population with education, transportation etc..

Manhattan jobs subsidizes Brooklyn buses, trains, health care, Senior care, police, schools etc..

So the Brooklyn is the fourth largest city stuff is kind of irrelevant, Philadelphia or Houston is the fourth largest City. Both Houston and Philadelphia are vibrant self supporting Cities, I think Houston is home to more fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the US.

November 3rd, 2003, 12:15 AM
Very true my good man. Only one problem: What have Morris and Bergen and the rest of affluent Northern NJ done for the Nets lately?

News flash, Manhattan and Brooklyn are not doing anything for the Knicks. Knicks games are not selling out (capacity of MSG is actually less than the Continental Airlines Arena, I believe..).

Im seeing commecials all the time for Knicks tickets, NBA attendence sucks no matter how successful or where the arena's are located.

Boston, the Lakers etc do not sell out..

NBA attendance is going down, NHL attendance is even worse and the NHL is in serious trouble.

Baseball attendance is going up, football as always remains stable.

November 3rd, 2003, 12:15 AM
4th largest city in the US

Lets be honest, if Brooklyn were it's own city it would be one of the poorest in the Nation, with no large corporations to which to collect taxes and dwindling manufactoring. Add on top of that the huge immigrant communities, and the needs for transportation, security etc.

Sorry but if it were not for all those Companies and jobs in Manhattan paying taxes Brooklyn would be in dire straights, where would they generate tax revenues to support the population with education, transportation etc..

Manhattan jobs subsidizes Brooklyn buses, trains, health care, Senior care, police, schools etc..

So the Brooklyn is the fourth largest city stuff is kind of irrelevant, Philadelphia or Houston is the fourth largest City. Both Houston and Philadelphia are vibrant self supporting Cities, I think Houston is home to more fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the US.

I guess Bruce Ratner disagrees with your ludicrous post -

From NY Mag -

“I used to get guffaws,” he recalls. “I would be giving a presentation to a company and I would say, ‘Downtown Brooklyn is the best downtown in America. You’re going to laugh, but I’m going to take the next twenty minutes to prove it to you. We have 32,000 college students, more than Cambridge, Massachusetts. We’ve got the cultural institutions, the transportation. I’ve been all over the country, and this downtown is going to be the very, very best.’ ”

November 3rd, 2003, 05:06 AM
STT757, cut the petty nonsense.

November 3rd, 2003, 08:33 AM
Lets be honest, if Brooklyn were it's own city it would be one of the poorest in the Nation, with no large corporations to which to collect taxes and dwindling manufactoring. Add on top of that the huge immigrant communities, and the needs for transportation, security etc.

Sorry but if it were not for all those Companies and jobs in Manhattan paying taxes Brooklyn would be in dire straights, where would they generate tax revenues to support the population with education, transportation etc..

Manhattan jobs subsidizes Brooklyn buses, trains, health care, Senior care, police, schools etc..

So the Brooklyn is the fourth largest city stuff is kind of irrelevant, Philadelphia or Houston is the fourth largest City. Both Houston and Philadelphia are vibrant self supporting Cities, I think Houston is home to more fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the US.

That's laughable. I find it ironic that someone from Joisey can talk about Brooklyn's dependence on Manhattan. Where would your whole state be if it weren't for being wedged in between New York City and Philadelphia? Obviously, your stretching now. Let's be honest, if Brooklyn were it's own city today, who knows where it would be. Your argument is short-sighted and doesn't take into account many variables. For one, if Brooklyn were it's own city, what makes you think businesses would be flocking to Jersey City instead of Brooklyn. They might not have to deal with all the red tape currently involved in NYC and Brooklyn certainly wouldn't have to deal with Manhattan-centered development. Leave your township and come visit the borough some time, ok?

November 3rd, 2003, 11:47 AM
This is just the same inferior Jersey resident nonsense. Anyone from Jersey that downplays it's reliance on NYC is delusional. NJ... an entire state that's a cheap alternative suburb of 2 real cities. Impressive.

November 3rd, 2003, 11:54 AM
Talk about petty nonsense.....

Does anyone have any real news or statistics, or has this thread degraded to merely an exchange of insults?

November 3rd, 2003, 12:59 PM
Im actually born and raised in NYC, my family is from Bay 8th street.

I actually go to Knicks , Mets, Nets, Yankees games.

I like debating people from Brooklyn about where the best place for the Nets should be, I did not start it so please spread your critisims around.

Brooklyn is trying to steal NJ's teams, that's open for fair debate.

November 3rd, 2003, 02:15 PM
I'll reopen this thread when there's news.

November 8th, 2003, 07:22 PM
Originally posted by SCOPE-DKP.

Talk of Nets' Move Proves Unsettling

By Barbara Barker

November 7, 2003

No one knows the Nets' roster like Barry Barone. Park Cleaners, Barone's shop in Rutherford, N.J., has stitched the name and number on every Nets uniform - from No. 00 Benoit Benjamin to No. 77 Gheorghe Muresan - since 1981, when the team moved to nearby East Rutherford.

Yesterday, as he was preparing to work on a new batch of the gray jerseys, Barone was asked if he is worried about the team's pending sale. With the possibility of the team moving to Long Island or Brooklyn, Barone has had to consider that this could be his last year as the team tailor.

"I would be upset," Barone said, "but I think I could keep their business. If they moved to Long Island, I would be upset. But I would still be a Nets fan. I could never see myself rooting for the Knicks."

You've read about how Jason Kidd and Alonzo Mourning don't want the Nets to move to Long Island. But the team's players aren't the only ones who will be affected by a change of ownership. Vendors, fans and team employees would have their lives dramatically changed if the team were to pick up and move two hours east.

Pass the hankies. According to a person privy to information concerning the sale, the team's new owner likely will be announced in two weeks. The trio of prospective buyers are Bruce Ratner, who wants to move the team to Brooklyn; Charles Wang, who wants to move the team to Long Island, and a partnership between Charles Kushner and Sen. Jon Corzine, who want to keep the team in New Jersey.

Team president Rod Thorn said yesterday that he recently met with each of the prospective buyers. "They were interested in what I thought about our team, and what did I see from the team down the road," Thorn said. "They wanted to know, 'What do you see in the team three years from now? And who do you think will be on the team?' Things of that nature."

Since Thorn began running the team's basketball operations a little more than three years ago, the Nets have gone from a lottery franchise to an Eastern Conference power. Thorn said he has no feeling about which way the sale will go and that he doesn't know if a sale will affect his job security. He said it is not something he thinks about. "I don't, because whatever is going to happen is going to happen," Thorn said. "You can't worry about the things you don't have control over. If the team is sold, so be it."

Coach Byron Scott, who has said he prefers not to move to Long Island, said the pending sale has no impact on the day-to-day operations of the team. "I think not only myself but most of the guys just look at things as business as usual," Scott said. "It's not my business. We have nothing really to do with it."

Not everyone, however, is so accepting of what fate might bring. Take Frank Capece, a New Jersey attorney who has been a Nets fan since the team moved from Long Island in 1977. Capece sits courtside with his buddies - Gary the investment counselor, Danny the Israeli builder and Ed the frozen food king. Capece just can't conceive of his team playing elsewhere. "They're not going to Brooklyn. They're not going to Long Island," Capece said. "They're not going anywhere. It's ridiculous. They're staying right here where they belong."

But not all Nets fans are as rabid as Capece and his friends. In fact, not all Nets fans are even that motivated to attend games. The Nets averaged 14,465 in their first two games, the fourth-lowest attendance figure in the league.

The failure of the two-time NBA finalists to pack the house is a major reason the team is up for sale. Capece and his buddies believe the attendance problems wouldn't be an issue if they had a better arena with luxury boxes and all the trimmings. But what if the new owner decides to build that arena elsewhere, say on Long Island?

Said Capece with a wince: "I don't like to deal in ridiculous hypotheticals, but I would stay a Net fan. I would be able to get there. Even Long Island is not a foreign country."

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

November 9th, 2003, 03:21 PM
Future of Nets remains clouded

Three potential buyers face deadline tomorrow

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

As the three groups vying to buy the Nets polish their bids to meet tomorrow's deadline for second offers on the franchise, the outcome of the sale is as murky as ever.

The six-month process figures to end one of three ways: a sale that will result in the team moving to New York; a sale to a group led by developer Charles Kushner and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), which will keep the two-time Eastern Conference champions in New Jersey, or no sale at all.

That final scenario could unfold if a group of New Jersey investors within the YankeeNets conglomerate buys out unhappy New York investors, who include George Steinbrenner. A newly unified New Jersey group also could give philanthropist Raymond Chambers an opening to mount yet another attempt to build the long-stymied Newark arena.

Richard Monteilh, Newark's business administrator and the city's lead negotiator on the 5-year-old arena proposal, likened the process to "a spinning bottle" that sometimes is "spinning our way and sometimes it seems like it is going someplace else."

However it plays out, the key participants all agree the saga could get messy.

Selling the Nets is the first step in the likely breakup of YankeeNets, a company formed in 1999 when the teams merged into a powerful entity that then created its own TV network and bought a minority stake in the Devils.

For YankeeNets, however, the uncharted route to fortune has proven difficult to navigate. The venture has been plagued by clashing cultures, owners who blamed each other for financial losses and strategic missteps. Tensions boiled over in recent years over mounting financial losses for the Nets and Devils, and the failure of the Newark arena to materialize. There was even a rift between the principal New Jersey investors, Chambers and Lewis Katz.

"We really want to break up or have new players on the board of directors," a major YankeeNets investor said in a telephone interview last week.

The first step will be selling the Nets. And for now, the only thing widely agreed upon is that developer Bruce Ratner's bid to move the team to a proposed Brooklyn arena is a longshot. Here is a closer look at the possible scenarios once the financial firms Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs receive the bids tomorrow.

A quick sale to Charles Wang. The founder of Computer Associates and owner of the Islanders hockey team is a basketball enthusiast who entertains friends at his full-court gym on his Long Island estate. He has wanted to buy the Nets and move the team to Long Island for nearly a decade.

YankeeNets insiders say they expect Wang to be the top bidder in tomorrow's second round with an offer of more than $250 million. (The first round of bidding last month was to validate each group's offer, which is not unusual in the sale of sports franchises.)

Wang isn't talking, but it is clear he hopes adding the Nets to his sports portfolio will clinch a deal with Nassau County to build an arena to replace the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Nassau County has little cash for an arena, but an official close to County Executive Tom Suozzi said the county would give up tax revenues at a new arena in future years and build a rail line connecting several train stations within two miles of the coliseum site.

Wang's strategy is to make an offer so good he will be able to overcome two major obstacles: New Jersey investors in the Nets who don't want to sell; and NBA commissioner David Stern, who wants new owners to have arena financing in place before buying teams.

A quick sale to Kushner and Corzine. The New Jersey developer and the state's senior senator will bid $250 million, according to sports executives with knowledge of their proposal.

Kushner and his representatives have been working closely with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to spend $100 million on luxury suites, premium seating and wider concourses to upgrade the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, where the Nets play.

"We're working as hard to get this deal done as we are on anything else," said George Zoffinger, the sports authority's chief executive, who also wants Chambers and the Devils to sign on for the arena renovation.

As the only New Jersey group bidding for the team, Kushner could be more likely to win approval from current New Jersey investors than Wang.

The attempt by New Jersey investors to buy out Steinbrenner's interests.

Alan Landis and David Gerstein love owning the Nets. Katz also enjoys the cachet of being the front man for an NBA franchise. All things being equal, these men do not want to sell the team, but the franchise is projected to lose $42 million each of the next two years.

Chambers, meanwhile, remains hopeful for an arena in Newark. With Democrats now controlling government in New Jersey, Chambers may again have a chance to get the state to allow Newark to help finance the project with $200 million to construct the $355 million project.

"Newark is a strong venue and Raymond Chambers told me that just last week," Monteilh said. "We've got a good deal on the table and people are starting to realize that."

The New Jersey investors would need at least $100 million to buy out Steinbrenner and his partners. Finding new investors to become minority partners has proven difficult, so they could trade their shares in the YES Network for control of the Nets.

"That is where the real value of the company is," Zoffinger said of YES and YankeeNets.

A stalemate followed by a court fight.

Because no sale can happen without the approval of the New Jersey investors, Katz and Chambers have the ability to derail any proposal the bankers bring to the YankeeNets board. Such a move could prompt Steinbrenner, the driving force behind the Nets sale, to sue his partners.

The process of trying to sell the team would at least establish a value for the Nets and help lay the groundwork for a settlement leading to the breakup of YankeeNets. A prolonged court battle, on the other hand, would open the team's financial documents to public scrutiny, something everyone involved wants to avoid.


November 11th, 2003, 09:34 AM
Nets: Infighting may decide team's future

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

The three groups vying for the Nets submitted revised bids late yesterday, setting up a tense battle for control of the defending Eastern Conference champions during the next month.

The pending sale of the Nets is the first step in a major restructuring of YankeeNets, the team's parent company.

While some of the wealthiest men in the country yesterday made a major commitment to buy the team, it is not clear whether a sale will take place, with warring factions in YankeeNets from New York and New Jersey still arguing about the team's future.

"At this point, nothing would surprise me," said an executive closely involved with sale.

Several owners of the Nets who live in New Jersey are firmly against a sale, especially if either of the two bidding groups from New York emerge with the highest offer.

Several executives with YankeeNets said ongoing discussions continue among the New Jersey investors about how they might be able to buy out their partners in New York, including Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner and YankeeNets investors loyal to him no longer want to cover Nets losses projected to be as high as $42 million in each of the next two seasons.

If a sale does occur, New Jersey's hopes for keeping its NBA franchise rest with developer Charles Kushner and his partner, Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), who have spent the past month working on a deal to renovate Continental Airlines Arena, where the Nets now play.

Kushner and Corzine bid $250 million, according to officials with knowledge of the offer, but Kushner has tried to convince several current investors with the Nets to stay with the team, which would allow him to pay less money to acquire control of the franchise.

"Charles Kushner submitted a revised bid today and continues to be actively involved in the process to keep the Nets in New Jersey," said Caryl Bixon, a spokesman for Kushner.

Charles Wang, owner of the NHL's Islanders, also submitted a second bid.

If he is successful, Wang promises to move the team to Long Island, where he has been trying to develop a new arena for the Islanders since purchasing that franchise three years ago.

Executives with YankeeNets said Wang had cleared his financial representatives to bid as high as $285 million.

Chris Botta, a spokesman for Wang, declined to comment on the offer.

However, Wang's previous offers of roughly $250 million included little financing, giving him a clear advantage in his ability close the deal.

New York developer Bruce Ratner submitted the final bid, though his plan to build an arena for the team in Brooklyn remains a long shot, according to top officials in New York and New Jersey.

Through a spokeswoman, Ratner declined comment, but a member of his organization said the developer would have little trouble competing with the other bidders.

The sale is being handled by New York investment firms Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, whose bankers will sort through the proposals the next several days.

Executives involved with the sale said they expect the banks to present the offers to the YankeeNets board. A decision is expected to be made within a month.

Staff writer George E. Jordan

contributed to this report.

November 12th, 2003, 02:56 PM
Hey people listen. First of all anybody that doesn't live in Jersey City or in Hudson County, buts from Jersey shouldn't talk because all you people live in small time towns and don't know jack about actual city life. Secondly Jersey has to face the fact that if it wasn't for being by Philly or NYC, we would not be the thriving state that we are. Third, people from the other side of the Hudson should stop puttin Jersey down, because it just shows how ignorent and self centered New Yorkers can sometimes be because half of them come here only for our beaches and don't bother on foucsing on anything else. I consdier myself a New Yorker, but that does not mean that you people must rule over everything. Perfect example is with the Nets. Because the Knicks are so poor, you look to us and our team and say well the Knicks suck, the Nets have won two Eastern Confrence titles in a row and they keep getting closer to a championship each time, why don't we take them and put NYC back on top. And Godforbid they do go to NYC there will be a pro team in each borough except Staten Island. Guess what NYC TOO BAD cause it ain't gonna happen! Their OUR team NOT New Yorks, NEW JERSEY'S! The last thing we need is you being so damm greedy and takin things that don't belong to you. Let them move to Newark for however long it takes, and stay out of our affairs and mind your own crap and leave us alone!!! You gave them to us thinking they were a no where team, now its come back to bite you where the sun don't shine. It was your mistake NOW LIVE WITH IT AND MOVE ON!!! :x :evil: :twisted:

November 12th, 2003, 08:28 PM
Uh, so I guess we should act the same way with our businesses?? Now you know how it feels, and we're just talking about a sports team here. :shock:

November 12th, 2003, 09:19 PM
Um how about no. They come over here on there own will. We don't put a gun to their head and force them to come. Jersey City is a legit city that is ever evolving, and keeps getting better. In 10 years, Jersey City will become a major city in the Northeast. With the Medical Center redevelopment into like a Rockafeller Center West, the Downtown area, Liberty Harbor, the new Bayside develpment along 440 by Hudson Mall, the redevelopment a Jorunal Square, the Light Rail, PATH, the ferry stops, Liberty State Park, the Liberty Science Center, MANY historical sites, and I could keep going, makes us not just an out of the way city anymore, but a desirable alternative to NYC and quite a tourist spot. Jersey City is a growing city, and is not going to stop. We are very desireable city to many big businesses. Not everything belongs to NYC, just face it. And before you guys say it, I know becasue were so close to you, but you just can't handle the fact that not everybody wants to go across the Hudson. God don't you think you people have enough :?:

TLOZ Link5
November 12th, 2003, 09:25 PM
We don't have an NBA team that has won championships the last two years in a row :mrgreen:

November 12th, 2003, 10:58 PM

Please spare us the indignation. New York is not trying to steal the Nets. You're looking at this through a sports fan's eyes, but the decision will be based on economics.

From the article above your post:

Steinbrenner and YankeeNets investors loyal to him no longer want to cover Nets losses projected to be as high as $42 million in each of the next two seasons.

If they made money, we would not be debating this.

November 12th, 2003, 11:12 PM
Nets: High bidder Ratner faces battle for team

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

New York developer Bruce Ratner has emerged as the high bidder for
the Nets with an offer of $275 million, a move that shows how serious
he is about moving the franchise to Brooklyn.

According to three executives closely involved with the sale,
Ratner's offer during the second round of bidding sets up a tense
battle for control of the Eastern Conference champs.

The bidding process also welcomed a newcomer this week New York
financier Stu Feldman.

Feldman, chief executive of Chelsey Capital, submitted a surprise bid
of $257.5 million after doing little research on the team.

The executive received a prospectus on the team only during the past
week, the sources said.

He has held no meetings with either current Nets management or the
executives at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the
state agency that operates Continental Airlines Arena and is the
teams landlord. The sports authority has offered a deal to finance a
$100 million renovation of the arena to anyone who acquires the Nets.

"The offer came totally out of blue," a person close to the sale
said. "A lot of us don't even know who this guy is."

Feldman's surprise offer made an already complex and confusing
process even more uncertain. It remains unclear whether the fractured
YankeeNets board will agree on whether to proceed with the sale.

Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner has pushed for the sale
of the Nets because of mounting losses that will reach $42 million in
each of the next two years.

But several investors in the company from New Jersey remain opposed
to the sale and may veto any attempts to close a deal. Another option
is to buy Steinbrenner's 35 percent stake in the Nets for roughly
$100 million.

"No one knows where this process is going," said one YankeeNets
executive, who asked to remain anonymous. Even the bidders don't know
what happens next or what kind of response they are going to get for
their offers.

Feldman is known to NBA officials from a previous attempt he made to
buy the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, YankeeNets and their
investment bankers, Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, know little
about him compared with the other groups bidding -- Ratner, New
Jersey developer Charles Kushner and his partner, Sen. Jon Corzine (D-
N.J.), and Islanders owner Charles Wang.

Wang, who would move the Nets to Long Island, bid $265 million.
Kushner and Corzine, who would keep the team at the Continental
Airlines Arena, offered $250 million.

Despite being the low bidders, the Kushner-Corzine group is counting
on the NBA's desire to maintain stability and avoid moving

Also, since Kushner would keep the team in New Jersey, several
current New Jersey investors in the Nets are likely to maintain their
stake. That would limit the amount of cash Kushner and Corzine would
have to lay out to gain control.

A top New York City official supporting Ratner's bid and his plan for
a Brooklyn arena said yesterday Ratner had put himself in solid
position to get the team.

Dan Doctoroff, the city's deputy mayor for economic development and
rebuilding, said Ratner should not be discounted even if a Brooklyn
arena is at least four years away from becoming a reality and will
face serious opposition in local neighborhoods.

Until then, the Nets would remain in New Jersey, where already sparse
crowds would likely diminish even more.

"The NBA cares most about is protecting franchise values," Doctoroff
said. "The team is going to be sold to the highest bidder. If Bruce
Ratner bids the most money he is going to get the team."

November 13th, 2003, 10:45 AM
This is insane. These Jersey people really are delusional. How can anyone say that we are wrong to "steal" something from them? It just makes me laugh.

"No one is putting a gun to their head." Correct, but they wouldn't move there without massive courting and incentives from NJ specifically targetting NYC business. Hey, if Ratner win's the bid process, no one is putting a gun to the Nets ownership except the crap fans that don't come close to selling out a high-caliber team's games.

November 13th, 2003, 12:27 PM
Are there any renderings of what the stadium would look like, or maps of where it would go?

I'm confused about where they're proposing to put it. Are they going to build it OVER the Long Island Railroad lot that's southeast of Atlantic Terminal?

Personally, I'm all for it, as long as the city doesn't give away the store to overpaid athletes and team owners. It'd be cool to see some professional athletics in Brooklyn

TLOZ Link5
November 13th, 2003, 04:33 PM
No renderings yet. Frank Gehry is supposedly tapped to be the architect.

November 13th, 2003, 07:14 PM
Cut and paste for a rendering of Gehry's Atlantic Center:


Less "Gehry" than I expected but better looking than the white elephant they're in now. Better believe the Brooklyn Nets wouldn't have 7,000 no-shows for a rematch of last year's finals. Great job ESPN did last night in showing the miles and miles of empty seats!

November 13th, 2003, 08:02 PM
That's SHC's Atlantic Terminal... the old design... a retail mall.

November 13th, 2003, 08:30 PM
The mall has a glass exterior and penants on its roof? Or do you mean the picture is an old design for the LIRR terminal?

November 13th, 2003, 10:06 PM
The mall has a glass exterior and penants on its roof? Or do you mean the picture is an old design for the LIRR terminal?

no what he's saying is that's the atlantic terminal a retail mall that's almost finished being built at the intersection of Flatbush & Atlantic. Thats a different development from the Gehry designed stadium, which will be in the same basic vicinity.

But thanks for the link.

November 14th, 2003, 12:17 AM
A couple other things to ponder...

NBA commisioner David Stern was on the Mike and the Mad Dog show last week, one of the topics was the Nets.

He was asked whether he would or could prevent the sale or move of the franchise, he said he would if he had the power however the power remains in the hands of the NBA owners group which he hinted would be against the move to Brooklyn as it would hurt an existing NY franchise (Knicks).

The Knicks themselves cannot veto the move to Brooklyn, however the NBA governanance made up of NBA owners (including the Dolans) might very well vote with the Dolans against the move.

In the NHL teams do have veto rights, which is why the Devils (who have won the Stanely Cup more times in the last two years than the Rangers in the last 50) are not part of the sale/move. The Rangers ownership (who owns the Knicks as well) do not want the Devils in NY, or the Knicks.

November 15th, 2003, 01:00 PM
Great points, STT757!

Glad you finally see what I've been saying all along. Dolan is supportive of a move to Long Island (check Newsday's archives for that) and doesn't even feel it necessary to comment on a move to Newark. Brooklyn, however?

Well, Dolan is already (not-so-subtly) making the rounds to block a Nets move to Brooklyn because he knows that Brooklyn is the one place where the Nets could actually have a national identity. Brooklyn is the one place where the Knicks can easily be relegated (like the baseball Giants were to the Dodgers in the 1950's) to "second team" status. The team New York used to root for.

Bottom line is, whether the Nets play in Piscataway, East Rutherford, or Newark, they'll always be the second choice for not just the Metropolitan region, but North Jersey itself. Attendance will always be near the bottom, if not, as it was until last night's Knick game, DEAD LAST!

A move to Long Island (one I'm personally hoping for) would generate interest in Nassau and Suffolk (by the way, STT757, according to the NHL's official numbers for 2002-2003, the Devils and all their cups, still could NOT outdraw the Islanders who play in a barn and have not won ANYTHING in 20 years) but would do little to challenge the Knicks anywhere else in this region.

Brooklyn, however. The Brooklyn that Dolan wants to block, would not only make the Nets the top team here, but one of the top teams across America, if not the world!

"Heartland" teens as far away as Ohio, Iowa, Idaho, and beyond, would be looking to get their hands on any jersey that has "Brooklyn" written on it! Personally, I just don't see any national or local (as Piscataway and East Rutherford have already proven) interest in a Newark Nets jersey...

November 15th, 2003, 02:25 PM
Even better points, Scope! In all honesty, i'd love if they come to Brooklyn, but I have no problem with Long Island (By the way, isn't that where we're located??). Either way, the Nets in New York sounds good.

November 15th, 2003, 02:40 PM
You people act like your doing us a favor. If the Nets and Devils, New Jersey will no longer be represented in the sports world, in where weve been kicking a$$ is the past couple of years, and that's really unfair. You people are concerned with NYC and the rest of the state and have no regard for anybody or anything else. Let them get to Newark or have them stay out in the Meadowlands, BUT THEY ARE STAYING IN JERSEY and thats final!

TLOZ Link5
November 15th, 2003, 02:55 PM
Welcome to the world of capitalism, JC.

November 15th, 2003, 05:39 PM
Very true, 718! Brooklyn is on an island which is fairly long. And hey, 1 of the 5 universities within walking distance of your would be arena, actually goes by the name, LONG ISLAND University!

As for JCMAN, what can I say, I do like your spirit!

You're right, a move to LI or Brooklyn would not be doing do NJ a favor. It would be doing the Nets (DEAD LAST in attendance until JERSEY Knick fans helped fill up the Meadowlands) a favor! Besides, hasn't NJ had more than their share of favors? Ya do know that EVERY single one of your teams (minus the MetroStars) were stolen from somewhere else, correct?

Unfortunately, TZOZ, I have to disagree with you and ZIGGY. It's not solely about capitalism and economics. If that was the case, the Nets, who lose over 40 million dollars a year, would have been out of there years ago.

Back in 1998 (pay attention, JCMAN, b/c that's well before the Nets "got good") Charles Wang outbid Chambers/Katz by a cool 25 milly. That's right, by 25 MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS! And Wang still lost out due to all the NJ politicos who bent over backwards to keep the team. Throw Senator Corzine into the mix, and I doubt that NJ will easily let the Nets cross the Hudson.

This although, one of the JERSEY minority owners (Landis) proposed moving the Nets and Devs to MSG, just last year!

Again, I don't think the New York (L.I.) Nets or Brooklyn Nets will happen, I'm just saying that, it should happen. You can't get worse than dead last in attendance, and about a million dollars in losses for every home game.

November 15th, 2003, 07:34 PM
I understand and maybe I am just looking through a sports fans eyes, but I was brought up a Nets fan and stuck with them through the tough times as a fan. Now that the moment I've been waiting for comes when the Nets get good, it feels like there getting stripped away. I know the stats about the attenedence and money, but I feel that if they move to Newark that will all change. :(

November 16th, 2003, 05:18 PM
Don't stress JCMAN, you guys have a US Senator leading your cause!

Besides, IF somehow Wang wins the bid (or Ratner) it won't exactly be impossible for you to get to the games. :?

November 18th, 2003, 12:27 AM

Received tax breaks.
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Print Reprint

November 17, 2003 -- A Brooklyn mall built with heavy city subsidies to encourage retail development has put in state offices where large stores were supposed to be - a move local officials are blasting as a bailout for the politically connected owner.
The Atlantic Center Mall, near the busy intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, is now taking in about $1.6 million a year from the state, which rented a 44,000- square-foot chunk of the building for a Department of Motor Vehicles office.

A second state office, the Empire State Development Corp., moved into a portion of the mall's otherwise vacant third floor, where Macy's operated until last spring, paying another $35,700 a year in rent and fees.

The mall opened in 1996 with great fanfare as a much-needed retail rejuvenation for downtown Brooklyn. The city chipped in $18.55 million and gave the developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, a 23-year property-tax abatement.

City taxpayers also covered the tab for $4 million in street improvements outside the mall.

Since opening, the suburban-style Atlantic Center has seen a rapid turnover of chain stores and has been derided by neighbors as an eyesore.

But it's the recent addition of state offices at the city-subsidized retail center that has local lawmakers fuming.

"It just means that in addition to the up-front investment that the city made, the taxpayers are to a large extent bailing out the project because the retail part never worked out," said state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn).

Montgomery said the changes are disturbing since the same developer is now building another 400,000-square-foot mall next door above the MTA's Atlantic Terminal station. And he's proposed building a basketball arena across the street.

Forest City Ratner boss Bruce Ratner, a former city commissioner of consumer affairs and a Columbia University Law School classmate of Gov. Pataki, has emerged as one of the biggest developers in the city, with a major presence in downtown Brooklyn.

Ratner is also one of four bidders for the New Jersey Nets. If he is able to buy the team, he has said he wants to build a new arena above the Long Island Rail Road yard across the street from the Atlantic Center.

Newly elected City Councilwoman Leticia James, whose district includes the mall, said she plans to ask state Comptroller Alan Hevesi to audit the retail complex.

"I'm very concerned about this, and it only raises more concerns about his proposed plan to build an arena across the street," said James, a Democrat.

Joyce Baumgarten, a spokeswoman for Bruce Ratner, insisted that the mall is successful. She said a new tenant, the Burlington Coat Factory, would be moving to the third floor by spring.

"It's not vacant, but it just takes time for the next tenant to come in," Baumgarten said of the three-story mall's top floor. She also listed eight other major tenants.

State officials insist they are pleased with the location of their new offices.

Asked why the Atlantic Center was chosen as a new site for the Department of Motor Vehicles, agency spokesman Joseph Picchi would say only that the decision was prompted by a need for additional space.

Montgomery, a vocal opponent of the proposed arena, said she's seen enough. "We essentially are bailing out this white elephant," said Montgomery.

December 4th, 2003, 06:42 PM
Wang Drops Bid to Get Nets for LI

By Mark HarringtonStaff Writer

December 4, 2003, 1:45 PM EST

New York Islanders owner Charles Wang today withdrew from the bidding for the New Jersey Nets basketball team, citing a "timeframe that we didn't think was workable."

In an interview this morning at his Plainview offices, Wang said the decision to withdraw his $265 million cash offer does not affect a plan to help create a new hub for his sports teams in a joint effort with the Nassau County.

He described the creation of the hub as "plan A," while the Nets bidding "threw everything out of kilter."

Stressing he was not bitter, Wang cited a series of delays in the bidding process and lingering questions among owners of the Nets about their willingness to sell as the basis for his decision.

"They have issues they have to deal with internally," Wang said of the owners at YankeeNets. "They're good guys. we know the time frame is not really doable for us for the next season."

He said he also did not want to distract his attention from promoting his Islander hockey team as its season moves forward.

Letters to investment bankers handling the proposed sale of the Nets went out just after noon today, Wang said.

His decision whittles the list of bidders for the Nets to three: New Jersey developer Charles Kushner and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), whose $267.5 million bid would keep the Nets in a renovated Continental Airlines Arena, Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner offered $275 million, who wants to move the team to a new arena in Brooklyn, and late-comer Stuart Feldman, a Manhattan venture capitalist who bid $257 million.

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

December 6th, 2003, 01:28 AM
They are coming to BROOKLYN!!!! I got the story


TLOZ Link5
December 6th, 2003, 02:14 AM
Uhhh...can't see anything.

December 6th, 2003, 03:10 AM
A new home in Newark for the Devils is anything but certain, but
there was at least one YankeeNets executive last night who was
convinced the Nets would be moving east of the Brooklyn Bridge.

"At this point," the company executive said, "Brooklyn gets the

December 6th, 2003, 10:25 PM
I want Brooklyn to win as much as the next guy! More So! Coney Island or Downtown doesn't matter as long as its Brooklyn! But where are these quotes coming from? The only link I get is some Yahoo thing!

December 6th, 2003, 11:23 PM
Roger I got it all posted on my Yahoo group.


Newark Star Ledger

Model sports company to sing its swan song

Friday, December 05, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

The YankeeNets sports company will dissolve next week in a messy
divorce that forever will change professional sports in New Jersey
and New York.

Three executives and investors in the sports company who asked to
remain anonymous said yesterday a board of directors meeting is
scheduled for Monday to approve the breakup, which comes less than
four years after the much-ballyhooed merger of the Yankees and Nets.

If a breakup plan that will require New York-based owners to pay New
Jersey investors for their stake in the Yankees is approved as
expected, the dominoes, according to the same three company
officials, will start falling as follows:

The New Jersey partners, led by philanthropist Raymond Chambers and
businessman Lewis Katz, will surrender their stake in the Yankees to
regain full ownership of the Nets and Devils.

Chambers and Katz then are expected to sever their partnerships in
the Community Youth Organization, the nonprofit that owns the
basketball team, and Puck Holdings, a separate partnership that owns
the hockey franchise.

Katz then would buy out Chambers' stake in the Nets because that
franchise is more valuable than the Devils. Katz then will try to
move the two-time NBA Eastern Conference champions to a new arena in
downtown Brooklyn that is being proposed by New York developer Bruce

Chambers would be left with the Devils and likely will continue to
pursue his dream of bringing professional sports to a new arena in
downtown Newark. Both the Nets and Devils currently play at
Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford.

Chambers' spokesman and YankeeNets spokesman Howard Rubenstein
declined to comment when reached yesterday. Katz did not return
telephone calls seeking comment. But an executive who has worked with
YankeeNets since its formation said there will be "a total separation
of each of those pieces with different groups controlling each team."

Ownership shares in the YES television network, the most significant
asset of YankeeNets, are not expected to change hands.

This latest development, which was structured during contentious
negotiations this week, also seems to end the company's push to sell
the Nets.

The Nets were put on the auction block in late summer and drew bids
from four potential ownership groups. New Jersey developer Charles
Kushner and U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) bid $267.5 million and
were the only suitors to publicly say they would keep the team in New

Islanders owner Charles Wang, who at one point was considered the
most serious bidder for the team, abruptly withdrew his $265 million
bid Thursday. Manhattan financier Stuart Feldman, who bid $257.5
million, has made no public statements about his plans for the team.

At $275 million, Ratner was the high bidder. He said he wants the
team to anchor an elaborate Brooklyn mixed-use development and also
has the support of Katz, who has been at odds for months with

The 1999 merger of the Yankees and the Nets was the most significant
of its type in sports history. It brought all aspects of two teams in
different sports under one umbrella and was hailed as the model
sports company for the 21st century, even before the YES Network was
launched. Other prominent New Jersey investors in YankeeNets are Joe
and Henry Taub, Alan Landis and Finn Wentworth.

But company owners and officials clashed over mounting financial
losses, controversial decisions and the failure to successfully
integrate the franchises. By this year, the divide between New York
investors loyal to Yankees boss George Steinbrenner and the New
Jersey group seemed irreparable.

Katz and Chambers merged their teams with the Yankees as part of a
plan to hasten the redevelopment of downtown Newark. The centerpiece
of that plan was a $355 million arena built in the heart of New
Jersey's oldest and largest city. Three governors backed funding
packages for the arena, but it never passed in Trenton. Once
YankeeNets officials started talking of selling the Nets this year
and breaking up the company, Chambers quietly retained a team to
research the financial viability of a Newark arena solely for the

"They've done a lot of financial analysis that shows a one-team
arena, a hockey arena, could work," said Richard Monteilh, Newark's
business administrator. The study "shows a single-team arena would
throw off all sorts of benefits, not as many benefits as if there was
the Nets. But there is a good notion this could be a viable operation
for Newark."

A new home in Newark for the Devils is anything but certain, but
there was at least one YankeeNets executive last night who was
convinced the Nets would be moving east of the Brooklyn Bridge.

"At this point," the company executive said, "Brooklyn gets the

December 7th, 2003, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the post. Seems like News-12 New Jersey is reporting the same story. No mention of Ratner tho. Katz moving them solo?

December 7th, 2003, 01:41 AM
My guess is Katz, Ratner, and the rapper Jay-Z are all involved in bringing the Nets to Brooklyn. Put the news articles together and it points toward a partnership.

December 8th, 2003, 12:30 PM

YankeeNets May End Today

The YankeeNets' board of directors will meet today in Manhattan hoping to approve an agreement to dissolve their holding company.

Late Friday, the ownerships of the Yankees and the Nets agreed to a memorandum of understanding to dissolve the company, according to an executive involved with the lengthy negotiations. If the agreement is approved, it would let the Community Youth Organization, the Nets' ownership group, sell the team before the separation of YankeeNets is complete or wait until after the closing, in six weeks.

The Nets attracted bids of $275 million from Bruce Ratner, who wants to move them to Brooklyn; $267.5 million from Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey, who do not want to take the team out of the state; $265 million from Charles Wang, who sought it for Long Island; and $257.5 million from Stuart Feldman, who has indicated he would not move the Nets. But Wang withdrew his offer on Thursday, citing delays in the process and a need to complete the transaction by Dec. 31 so the team could play in Nassau Coliseum next season.

The sale could be further deferred if C.Y.O. chooses to wait until the YankeeNets' separation is concluded. C.Y.O. could decide not to sell the team and pursue again a deal for a new arena in Newark. But the executive involved in the negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the divisions within the Nets' ownership have eased and there is unanimity to sell the team.

December 8th, 2003, 11:56 PM

YankeeNets bosses agree to break up the company

Monday, December 08

YankeeNets, the company once considered the future of the sports business, officially broke up yesterday, ending a tumultuous four-year partnership doomed by clashing egos, mounting losses and rival owners from both sides of the Hudson River.

Most immediately, the breakup of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Nets principal owners Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz sets the stage for a battle for control of the Nets. Community Youth Organization, the non-profit Chambers and Katz created to buy the team in 1998, regained full control of the Nets yesterday, paving the way for a speedy sale.

"You've got seven diverse people who control CYO and they are going to sell this team to the highest bidder," said a top investor with YankeeNets who spoke after the meeting on the condition he not be identified.

The Nets have been for sale since the spring, but disputes among investors in YankeeNets have prevented a deal, despite three bids in excess of $257.5 million.

Now, YankeeNets executives said the auction for the Nets is a two-horse race: New York developer Bruce Ratner versus New Jersey developer Charles Kushner and U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine.

Ratner wants to move the team to a proposed arena in Brooklyn, while Kushner and Corzine would keep it in the Meadowlands.

Yesterday's vote by the 15-person board to break up the company, first reported in the Saturday Star-Ledger, left sports industry experts wondering how a company with so much potential became a magnet for turmoil.

"The personalities found difficulty in meshing," said Bob Gutkowski, the former chief executive at Madison Square Garden. "That has hurt a lot of good ideas in the past and it seems to have doomed this one, too."

When Chambers and Steinbrenner unveiled YankeeNets in 1999, the company appeared poised to change the way fans in the nation's biggest market watched sports on TV and bought tickets and merchandise.

YankeeNets, which also contributed to the purchase of the Devils in 2000, promised a seamless corporation that would allow companies to attach themselves to three top-flight franchises with unprecedented ease.

The premier assets would be a new regional sports network, YES, and a sparkling arena in downtown Newark. While YES is now perhaps the region's top local sports network, the Newark arena never happened, dooming the Nets and the Devils to tens of millions in annual losses that Steinbrenner grew tired of funding.

That acrimony ended yesterday in a conference room at the Regency Hotel in Manhattan. Steinbrenner, who associates said was in a particularly foul mood over the Boston Red Sox's pursuit of superstar Alex Rodriguez, joined the meeting by telephone.

Howard Rubenstein, Finn Wentworth, Morton Olshan, Jerry Cohen and other board members met for 90 minutes over coffee, tea and muffins as a fleet of chauffeured cars waited on Park Avenue.

Executives with knowledge of the meeting said the discussions were far more civil than recent board meetings, where investors divided between New York and New Jersey were openly hostile with one another. By yesterday, attorneys had worked out the framework of the breakup, and the meeting's business proceeded with only limited disruptions.

During the final 15 minutes, Sal Galatioto, the Lehman Brother investment banker advising the company on the sale of the Nets, briefed board members on bids.

At midday, Rubenstein, also the company's spokesman, released a tersely worded statement.

"The YankeeNets LLC today announced that its principal shareholders had entered into a memorandum of understanding to pursue a restructuring of the ownership interests of YankeeNets. The parties hope to conclude this matter shortly."

According to sources, the agreement will be formalized by mid-January. In addition to taking back the Nets, the New Jersey group will regain complete control of the Devils. Some owners from New Jersey also will maintain a minority stake in the Yankees. The size of that stake was not known last night.

Also, Ed Steer, a former top official with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, will now take over the CYO. The break-up agreement stipulates CYO will have final say on who buys the Nets, but executives went out of their way to say the size of the offer would be the determining factor in the sale.

"This memorandum of understanding clears away some of the corporate impediments to the sale of the Nets," said a source who has worked with YankeeNets from the beginning. "It allows auctioning to be accelerated more securely so they can maximize their market value for sale."

For the moment, that appears to favor Ratner, whose $275 million offer topped the second round of bids a month ago.

The Ratner plan relies heavily on what would be one of the biggest developments ever in Brooklyn -- a $500 million plan which will be unveiled tomorrow.

Kushner and Corzine, who have bid $267.5 million, are prepared to invest in a $120 million renovation of the Continental Airlines Arena. Gov. James E. McGreevey also has promised to build a $150 million rail connection to the arena.

December 9th, 2003, 12:01 AM

December 9th, 2003, 07:22 AM
December 9, 2003

Outline Approved for Sale of Nets


The YankeeNets board unanimously approved a breakup plan yesterday to undo the teams' 1999 merger and put the Nets' owners in charge of selling the team.

YankeeNets intended to be a modern sports conglomerate and, despite creating substantial value with the YES Network, the marriage was a fractious union; the owners of the Nets and the Yankees feuded. The company also unsuccessfully pursued a plan to build an arena in Newark.

The divorce, which will involve a stock swap between the ownership groups, was put in motion by the board at the Regency Hotel with George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' principal owner, peppering his staff and lawyers with questions by telephone.

According to two participants in the meeting, the gathering was civil, and there was a long-awaited consensus by Nets owners that it was time for them to sell. Also, some board members expressed regret that the merger was short-lived and beset by differences of opinion about Nets' losses and other subjects.

The agreement is an outline to complete the corporate separation.

"This has been a very successful partnership," said Joe Ravitch, a managing director of Goldman Sachs, one of two investment banks, with Lehman Brothers, hired to handle the Nets' sale. "Now there's a road map to liquidity."

The board talked briefly about the three offers for the team: $257.5 million from Stuart Feldman, a venture capitalist; $267.5 million from Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey; and $275 million from Bruce Ratner.

Kushner, a real estate developer based in Florham Park, N.J., said that his intention is to keep the team in New Jersey. Ratner would move the team to his downtown Brooklyn development, and Feldman has indicated an interest in Newark.

"The Nets have been a great team," Kushner, 49, a Nets season ticket holder, said by telephone yesterday. "It's a team that the state takes great pride in carrying the New Jersey name. It should remain in New Jersey."

Kushner's decision to speak comes two days before Ratner is to unveil a master plan for his project, including an arena, at Brooklyn Borough Hall, with his architect, Frank Gehry, designer of the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.

Kuchner said he would not want to buy the money-losing Nets if he were not confident that he could reverse the team's money-losing circumstances.

"There's no question that their current situation is a bad one," he said. "It's my intent to buy the team and create a new financial picture."

He has been talking to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority about a plan to renovate Continental Arena, and the benefits of the planned $1.3-billion Xanadu retail, commercial and entertainment complex at the Meadowlands.

He said: "With the arena being incorporated into Xanadu, with a new and improved arena, with a rail link, and with a quality team and quality management, it will be destination not only for a sports event, but for people to have an evening of entertainment. Those are a lot of positives."

The proposed renovation of the arena, which would cost up to $150 million, would be repaid to the sports authority though the increased revenues from adding 30 luxury suites and 1,900 premium club seats.

"They've proposed investing in the arena through a loan that would be paid back," Kushner said "We're negotiating the overall financing arrangement."

George Zoffinger, the president of the sports authority, said the new luxury boxes and club seats would generate an estimated $24 million in new revenues. "I've said they could repay it over 15 or 20 years, but it could be longer," he said. "This is a good deal, as long as they believe they can sell the suites and club seats."

Zoffinger said he had given Kushner his best offer. "They may think we're still negotiating, but they won't wear me down," he said.

Kushner also said that he was assessing the sports authority's architectural plan for a renovated arena. "We want to determine if, in fact, the dollar amounts to be spent would be adequate to having a great arena," he said.

Kushner said he was not completely tied to keeping the Nets in the Meadowlands, but said it was a more doable location than Newark. "I'm open-minded," he said. "I want to follow the path that is more realistic."

Kushner said he was being patient with the sale, which could take at least several more weeks. But the pace became too frustrating for Charles B. Wang, the co-owner of the Islanders, who withdrew his $265-million bid last week.

"All the prospective purchasers feel some frustration that that process hasn't been clearly defined," Kushner said. "But on the other hand, we have to be patient. It's a complicated group of sellers, a lot of whom have divergent interests. That creates complications."

Kushner said he had been assured that the Nets' owners would sell. "I've received a lot of assurances that they do want to sell, but it's very hard to know what's in the seller's mind," he said. "The sellers have diverse interests: maximizing value, having a charitable purpose, moving to another state."

One step taken yesterday to simplify the sale was the hiring of Edwin H. Stier, a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey, to be the voice of Nets ownership in the sale.

"I fully expect the Nets' sale process will be quickly consummated," Ravitch said.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

December 9th, 2003, 09:13 AM
So if a roadmap settled the owners' diverse interests, all that is left is the selling price. I expect Kushner to raise his bid.

Ratner and Gehry together in Brooklyn.

December 9th, 2003, 09:58 AM
"I fully expect the Nets' sale process will be quickly consummated," Ravitch said.
Who's Ravitch?

As for the Nets, I hope this doesn't sound like sour grapes since I was the one dude hopin they'd move to Long Island, but I don't see how all these arenas are going to get built.

Wang withdraws his bid but is still looking for a new Nassau Coliseum.

Chambers wants to hold onto the Devils and build them a arena in Newark.

And while this happens, Ratner will ALSO get an arena built in Brooklyn?

Why would the tax payers of NYC/LI/NJ all approve taxes for each of these single tenant arenas?

What private investors would help finance 3 separate arenas, each only capable of guaranteeing 40 dates a year. Yeah concerts, shows, boxing/wrestling, the circus, etc., can add dates, but what tour would make 3 separate stops in this area on top of the mandatory MSG stop?

I hope I'm wrong, scrap Newark and move the Devils to Houston if need be, but I just don't see how an area which hasn't done anything in terms of sports since the Meadowlands (stadium/race track/arena) was built, would suddenly add 3 new arenas. Not to mention the $1B+ stadium for the Jets.

Like I said all along, Brooklyn would make the most sense for the Nets.* It's a great location, and as someone else earlier said, is to hoops what Montreal is to hockey!* It's 1 subway ride from just about any part of NYC.* It's 1 LIRR ride from just about any part of LI.* It's even just a PATH and 1 subway ride from Newark.

But, if Ratner wins, he better get that arena built BEFORE Wang does anything on Long Island or Chambers in Newark. I can see this area approving one white elephant, even two, but there's no way a third arena new arena will be built!

December 9th, 2003, 10:25 AM

The ins and outs of the breakup

Tuesday, December 09

What happened yesterday?

Investors in the holding company that owns the Yankees and Nets and controls the Devils voted to break up. It means New York investors led by Yankees boss George Steinbrenner will regain a controlling interest in the baseball team, while New Jersey investors, led by Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz, will control the Nets and Devils. Both sides will keep their shares in the YES television network.
What happens next?

The Nets, who have been on the market several months, still figure to eventually be sold. New York developer Bruce Ratner wants to move the team to Brooklyn, while a partnership of developer Charles Kushner and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) says it will keep the team at the Meadowlands. Depending upon what happens to the Nets, the Devils could end up in Newark or remain in East Rutherford.

What does this all mean to sports fans?

Nothing, in the short run. It will not affect ticket prices or the YES Network, which will continue to broadcast Nets and Yankees games.

Is the Brooklyn arena plan for real?

Apparently. Ratner, the developer behind the Brooklyn bid, is scheduled to unveil a design for his arena in downtown Brooklyn tomorrow morning. New York officials were lukewarm to the project until recently. Now, however, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff support the project, even though it will require some $600 million in financing from New York City. Ratner bid $275 million for the Nets during the recent sale.

What does this mean for the Xanadu development at the Meadowlands?

The developers, the Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali Realty, would like the team to be remain in East Rutherford because of the foot traffic the basketball team would crate at the $1.3 billion family entertainment and retail complex. If the Nets stay, the Continental Airlines Arena would be renovated and connected to Xanadu. If the Nets leave, the arena land would likely be redeveloped with something else.

Can Newark support a hockey-only arena?

Whether two-team arena or Devils only, it's still uncertain if Newark's roadways can handle traffic. But hockey-only would mean more dates for other events, like conventions, trade shows, major concerts and circus.

Are there any other one-team hockey arenas?

Yes. The cities include Anaheim, Buffalo, Detroit, San Jose, Tampa, Pittsburgh and the Canadian cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa.

December 9th, 2003, 07:47 PM

Gehry To Unveil Nets' Arena Plans

The Associated Press
December 9, 2003

Architect Frank Gehry is scheduled to unveil a design for a Brooklyn basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday, days after the team reached a deal to dissolve its partnership with the New York Yankees.

Gehry, perhaps the world's most famous living architect, designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which opened in October.

The architect's arena design, however, will likely never make it off the drawing board unless real estate developer Bruce Ratner -- who hired Gehry -- is able to purchase the team and move it out of Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.

Ratner, president and chief executive officer of Forest City Ratner Companies, is the developer of Brooklyn's 16-acre MetroTech Center, has made a bid to purchase the team.

On Monday, the Nets and Yankees announced a preliminary agreement to end their YankeesNets partnership. That allows Nets owners Lewis Katz and Ray Chambers to proceed with their plans to sell the club, which reached the NBA Finals the past two seasons.

Besides Ratner, a partnership including developer Charles Kushner and U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., have expressed interest in purchasing the team and keeping it New Jersey.

Charles Wang, the founder of software maker Computer Associates and the owner of the New York Islanders hockey team, was also bidding on the team, but backed out last week. He had hoped to bring the team back to Long Island, where it played in the 1970s.

The team's lease in New Jersey expires in three years.

The Brooklyn arena would be located at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues in downtown Brooklyn, near a major Long Island Rail Road terminal and a number of city subway lines.

In addition to the arena, the designs are to include plans for new housing and commercial outlets in the area.

December 9th, 2003, 08:02 PM
It better be more than a crumpled metal tissue.

December 9th, 2003, 08:26 PM
This at least gives us something else to look at while waiting for Freedom Tower designs. We will probably get renderings for the entire development, including the residential towers...

December 9th, 2003, 08:30 PM
10 AM Tomorrow Brooklyn Borough Hall - Open to the Public

Ratner's Unveiling of the arena plans. Marcie and I will be
attending. Protesters are going to show up. It would be nice if some
people would show up to support the Brooklyn Nets arena. Marty told
me it will be open to the public.

December 9th, 2003, 08:39 PM
It better be more than a crumpled metal tissue.

I wouldn’t be suprised if this were the case, nor would I necessarily be disappointed. Basketball arena’s are how do you say it….Not particularly open. So don’t expect lots of glass, or something airy, it’s not the nature of the structure.

Maybe Gehry will suprise us, however with a $500 million budget I doubt it.

December 10th, 2003, 12:25 PM
View the plans here!

TLOZ Link5
December 10th, 2003, 01:49 PM
We have another contender for the tallest building in Brooklyn. The plan calls for a 620-foot office tower.

The tallest residential building is 407 feet, so there's also a contender for the tallest apartment building outside of Manhattan.

Get started now!

December 10th, 2003, 02:29 PM
They better get started before every other non-MSG teams attempt building. What do you guys think of the arena? Way more open, glassy, and airy then I ever dreamed. But is it too much? Would scaling back make it more viable?

TLOZ Link5
December 10th, 2003, 11:15 PM
I like it. Brooklyn needs to measure up to Jersey City as a commercial hub and to Manhattan as an entertainment venue. The buildings are the right size and height, views of WSB are intact, and there's plenty of new housing, hopefully much of it affordable. And it's the perfect location if it's going to be in Brooklyn.

December 11th, 2003, 12:29 AM
Again I would only give the Brooklyn Arena plan a 30% chance, Ratner may have the high bid but it's only $10 Million higher ($265 to $275 Million).

Woody Johnson was not the Highest bidder for the Jets in '99/'00, he was not even the Second highest bidder.

He was selected because the NFL people liked him, they did not care for the high bidders which were the Dolans of Cablevision, MSG, Knicks, Rangers, Liberty etc..

The group of investors who will be selling the Nets are made up of mostly New Jersey Investors, who have interests both financially and Politically in keeping the Nets in New Jersey.

TLOZ Link5
December 11th, 2003, 01:13 AM
Ratner can still jack up his offer, right? As can anyone else?

December 11th, 2003, 01:40 AM
Again I would only give the Brooklyn Arena plan a 30% chance, Ratner may have the high bid but it's only $10 Million higher ($265 to $275 Million).

Woody Johnson was not the Highest bidder for the Jets in '99/'00, he was not even the Second highest bidder.

He was selected because the NFL people liked him, they did not care for the high bidders which were the Dolans of Cablevision, MSG, Knicks, Rangers, Liberty etc..

The group of investors who will be selling the Nets are made up of mostly New Jersey Investors, who have interests both financially and Politically in keeping the Nets in New Jersey.

Yes, but one of the main owners wants to move it to BK. They would be fools not to.

December 11th, 2003, 07:15 AM
December 11, 2003


Someday, Knicks May Have Nets as Neighbors


ONE day, in about four years, James L. Dolan may be stirred from his narcoleptic leadership as Knicks chairman by a hired jostler on retainer at Madison Square Garden.

"Excuse me, sir," General Manager Scott Layden may gently say to Dolan. "Sir, the Nets are at the door."

Over the last couple of years, Dolan could dismiss the idea of a Nets threat to the Knicks' metropolitan domain as the Nets won games in a dank arena fit for vampires, "Hollywood Squares" stars and turnpike enthusiasts.

He could watch out of the corner of his eye as the Eastern Conference champions failed to draw city fans as a result of repetitive traffic stress — or Lincoln Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. He could assess the Nets' reach into the metro area as limited, given the distance in miles and the mystique between the Garden and the Swamp.

As of yesterday, the gap closed, at least as a concept in cardboard. Unveiling his basketball fantasy at Brooklyn's Borough Hall, Bruce Ratner — hyperdeveloper and charismatic bidder for the Nets — offered his vision of a future when the Nets would play in an urban arena on Flatbush Avenue, in a cozy building surrounded by affordable housing, near multiple rail lines, with tickets that are affordable to the average fan.

To give his dream tangibility, there was an elaborate mockup of the site made of paper and plastic, with building blocks from a toy chest to simulate skyscrapers and scaled-down fans the size of picture hooks glued to the landscape.

To give his hope hip appeal, the bespectacled Ratner stood as square as a Chiclet when he introduced a new investor to his group: the rap artist Jay-Z. Given Jay-Z's Brooklyn roots, his mainstream appeal and his built-in attraction as a free-agent lure, he is a brilliant addition.

"I believe there is a real passion for basketball in Brooklyn," Jay-Z said. "I believe with the kind of passion we have, an arena here could rival the Garden."

If Ratner takes a quality Nets team to Brooklyn within four years, he would help reinvent the image of the franchise, taking it from a suburban lounge act to an urban group with edge. If the Knicks continue to top uninspired moves with mediocre ones, the Garden could morph into a graveyard where cool died years ago.

The potential for this role reversal should unnerve Dolan, not that anyone would be sympathetic.

"Who cares," said Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, before adding that the Dolans would have to "deal with it" if the Nets moved into their backyard.

Reflective of Dolan's cable-guy tendencies, Garden officials are hard to pin down on specifics between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Their answers on the Nets' possible relocation to their 'hood are broad and vague. On Tuesday, Garden executives declined to comment except to reiterate their confidence in the Knicks' brand identity.

Haven't the Garden suits noticed? Brands are so yesterday. The hottest jerseys in the league are worn by a Cleveland Cavalier rookie (LeBron James) and a Denver Nugget phenom (Carmelo Anthony).

If the Knicks need more proof of how shaky their identity could become if pitted against the Nets next door, they can examine the article in The New York Times yesterday that detailed how consumers are less likely to select gifts based on brand names than they were three years ago.

Already, there are signs of the Knicks' market complacency. Almost every night, Marv Albert is turned into a carnival barker on MSG Network broadcasts, enthusiastically pitching ticket packages to fans who have abandoned what Michael Jordan once called basketball's Mecca.

The Garden is not a must-see anymore, not at the inflated ticket prices, not with a deflated product on the floor. How long before the Knicks realize their glory days are over?

Even delusions of grandeur can have an expiration date. In four years, the Nets could force Dolan into a reality check. So, there is time for the Knicks to do what they loathe (to rebuild) or make the bold moves they must (to revamp). So, there is a window for the Knicks to restore their credibility as The Team in town before the Nets swipe their turf. So, there is time for the Knicks to make themselves a worthy rival for the Nets should they cross the border.

If the Knicks can compete with the Nets, if the Nets can maintain their run on success, Ratner's vision will be even grander than his cardboard design. Imagine what a subway would do for a Knicks-Nets series that meant something.

"It would be exciting for everyone, and I think there is room for two great clubs," said Bernard King, a Brooklyn-born icon who played for the Knicks and the Nets. "There is certainly room in a borough like Brooklyn and a city like New York to accommodate two great franchises."

First things first, though. Someone has to tell Dolan that his team would not be one of those elite right now. That's Layden's job.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

December 11th, 2003, 07:38 AM
December 11, 2003

Wooing Nets, McGreevey Plans Rail Spur to Meadowlands


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Dec. 10 — Gov. James E. McGreevey stepped up his efforts to keep the New Jersey Nets in the state by announcing on Wednesday that a $150 million rail spur would be built into the Meadowlands site of a planned family entertainment complex that will surround the Continental Airlines Arena, where the Nets play.

Such a link to mass transportation that has long been promised for the Bergen County site would, when added to the planned $1.3 billion Meadowlands Xanadu entertainment, retail and sports complex, make the location "the premiere site in the nation and the region," Mr. McGreevey said.

The announcement came on the day that Mr. McGreevey accepted the first installment of a $160 million payment from the Mills Corporation and Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, the private developers of the complex. But just as significantly, it came on the day that a New York developer, Bruce Ratner, who is trying to buy the Nets, unveiled his own $2 billion plan for an arena to house the team and other amenities in downtown Brooklyn.

Mr. McGreevey made it clear that New Jersey was going to compete to keep the Nets and the New Jersey Devils in the state, "short of providing any sort of subsidy." Both teams are now on the auction block after disputes within YankeeNets, the former ownership group.

The governor noted that an arena in Newark remained a possibility, in addition to the Meadowlands site. Newark had been the location of the Nets and Devils preferred by Raymond Chambers, an important member of the former ownership group and currently the team's majority owner.

But Wednesday's announcements seemed to favor retaining the teams at the Meadowlands. George Zoffinger, the president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the Meadowlands complex, pointed to the space-age design of the planned Xanadu attraction, the proposed road improvements that the developers are planning and the rail line. "I don't know why they would want to move out of the neighborhood," he said of the teams. "It's getting better."

Mr. McGreevey added that the Meadowlands site also had the benefit of some certainty. Mr. Ratner, he said, had yet to acquire the Brooklyn site, and the effort could take years.

The proposed rail spur into the Meadowlands has been an idea in the minds of planners for the nearly 30 years that Giants Stadium and the arena have existed here, on the fringes of the wetlands. In the past, it has foundered on environmental and cost issues. Richard Roberts, a civil engineer and planner with New Jersey Transit, said that the current proposal had mastered some of the environmental problems because of a realignment that parallels existing highways. Money would come from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Mr. McGreevey said.

He said that Gov. George E. Pataki, his partner in the bistate agency, had agreed to the idea of the rail spur and that he expected it to appear on the agency's capital budget for consideration by the agency's commissioners "in the next few weeks."

Mr. McGreevey's efforts to keep the sports teams at the Meadowlands parallel his equally ardent efforts more than a year ago to aid Newark in getting nearly $200 million it needed to help finance a proposed $355 million arena for the Devils and Nets and keep the city's revitalization moving. Then as now, it was the Port Authority that the governor turned to, pressing it for a renegotiation of the lease with the city for Newark Liberty Airport that would provide the city with a lump sum payment to put into the arena project.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

December 11th, 2003, 09:27 AM
Again I would only give the Brooklyn Arena plan a 30% chance, Ratner may have the high bid but it's only $10 Million higher ($265 to $275 Million).

Woody Johnson was not the Highest bidder for the Jets in '99/'00, he was not even the Second highest bidder.

He was selected because the NFL people liked him, they did not care for the high bidders which were the Dolans of Cablevision, MSG, Knicks, Rangers, Liberty etc..

The group of investors who will be selling the Nets are made up of mostly New Jersey Investors, who have interests both financially and Politically in keeping the Nets in New Jersey.

Yes, but one of the main owners wants to move it to BK. They would be fools not to.
I'm not going to try to handicap the race, but when you do this:

One step taken yesterday to simplify the sale was the hiring of Edwin H. Stier, a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey, to be the voice of Nets ownership in the sale.

It usually means the only thing left is the price. I doubt the low bid will get the team unless there is some other economic incentive. McGreevy's moves are meant to get Kushner to raise his bid.

It's interesting now, because both NY and NJ governments are involved.

December 11th, 2003, 02:52 PM
Who can we Brooklyn Nets supporters write to, to make sure the move happens? Who can we write to in the PA to make sure the NY wing of that agency is not helping Jersey in keeping the Nets. I saw the protests yesterday, any plans for a pro-Brooklyn Nets rally? Anyway to get more involved in a grass roots sort of way? Just so yous know, NJ fans plan on protesting the move by boycotting future Net games. Of course this boycot is about 25 years old!

December 11th, 2003, 05:48 PM
Who can we quality of life Brooklyn residents write to to protest the planned arena? I'd love to have the Nets call Brooklyn home. But not at the already beaten down, overcrowded corner of Atlantic and Flatbush, and not so close to the train lines I gotta take to get to and from work every day.

Should we write to Marty Markowitz? Hillary Clinton? Puff Daddy?

Bring the Nets to Brooklyn! In Red Hook! In the Navy Yard! But not in Ft Greene or Prospect Heights! I don't want my favorite bars overrun by Frank Gehry!

December 11th, 2003, 05:49 PM
You realize that's purely selfish, right?

Unrelated second, the rail lines are one of the main reasons the arena is planned to be where it is.

December 11th, 2003, 06:26 PM
Selfishness is rampant with some of these people.

December 12th, 2003, 12:11 AM
Um, Jaybojohn, you're very selfish to oppose this arena. Name a better location in the city for an arena. The site is already very busy and urban, and has fantastic rail access- 9 subway lines, the LIRR terminal and a million bus lines. The project will be built on a platform over rail yards, meaning people and businesses are not being displaced.

You seem to typify very parochial NIMBY obstructionism.

Frankly, your neighborhood alternatives for an arena are silly. Neither the Navy Yard nor Red Hook have subway or commuter rail access. If you knew these neighborhoods, you would understand that hundreds of good blue-collar jobs would be displaced by an arena. The Navy Yard is thriving, with a shortage of available space.

December 12th, 2003, 06:03 PM
Yo New Yorkers get ready for a brawl because you are not gonna get the Nets without a big ugly fight. Get ready New Yorkers you are gonna see how us Jersey people get down and your gonna see Jersey at its toughest. NEW JERSEY: ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE!!

TLOZ Link5
December 12th, 2003, 06:11 PM
You tried to steal the Yankees in the '80s. Consider this payback.

December 12th, 2003, 06:57 PM
It's a little pointless to be using 'you'. Similar to blaming the people of a country for its government's actions. Politicians and developers did all this, not forumers.

December 12th, 2003, 07:50 PM
Um, Jaybojohn, you're very selfish to oppose this arena. Name a better location in the city for an arena. The site is already very busy and urban, and has fantastic rail access- 9 subway lines, the LIRR terminal and a million bus lines. The project will be built on a platform over rail yards, meaning people and businesses are not being displaced.

You seem to typify very parochial NIMBY obstructionism.

Yes, he's definately coming across as a dyed in the wool NIMBY. It's hard to imagine a BETTER urban location for the arena. Lots of public transportation, centrally located in an area the can easily draw crowds from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, large roads design to move traffic fast.

In addition, the area is already drawing crowds at BAM, BAM Cinematek, Mark Morris Dance recitals, the soon to be built performance Library. It's not a neighborhood to move to for peace and quiet. The added nightlife of a Nets game will only help the local bars, restaurants and other businesses further prosper.

And displacing very little and replacing the eyesore that's there now (a rail yard) we get a Frank Gehry building (and I like the design, I wasn't sure I would, I find his work usually to silly).

December 12th, 2003, 08:03 PM
Just so yous know, NJ fans plan on protesting the move by boycotting future Net games. Of course this boycot is about 25 years old!

That's very funny. I'm sure when they look out on those empty seats they're gonna feel real warm & fuzzy toward Jersey-ites.

I think you've got a good idea there, in organizing a rally. It could demostrate to politicians how they should vote. And more importantly it might demonstrate to the owners of the Nets that they'd have a waiting fan base.

The best bet would be to pick a date, and a location and just get the word out to community boards in the Fort Greene, Downtown, Prospect Heights, and surrounding areas. You might also reach out to local basketball and sport fans. Distribute flyers at a bar during a knicks game? Tack them up around basketball courts in the hood.

I'd be willing to do some research and work on it (I could design the flyers,--graphic designer here! :) ). I've already done a good deal of work countering the NIMBYs opposed to the Brooklyn Bridge Park (who, thankfully have been quieter lately). Geez, who could oppose the development of a Park!??!

December 12th, 2003, 08:04 PM
Who can we quality of life Brooklyn residents write to to protest the planned arena? I'd love to have the Nets call Brooklyn home. But not at the already beaten down, overcrowded corner of Atlantic and Flatbush, and not so close to the train lines I gotta take to get to and from work every day.

I don't know what time you work, but most games won't be beginning until rush hour is winding down.

December 12th, 2003, 08:36 PM
and not so close to the train lines I gotta take to get to and from work every day.
Completely selfish.

December 13th, 2003, 02:57 AM
Yo New Yorkers get ready for a brawl because you are not gonna get the Nets without a big ugly fight. Get ready New Yorkers you are gonna see how us Jersey people get down and your gonna see Jersey at its toughest. NEW JERSEY: ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE!!

Landfill, toxins, and being one major 2 city suburb will do that to a state.

December 13th, 2003, 03:00 AM
Just so yous know, NJ fans plan on protesting the move by boycotting future Net games. Of course this boycot is about 25 years old!

Well, damnit, where are they gonna organize these 5 people?

December 13th, 2003, 05:37 PM
Typical New Yorker ignorent and arogant. You people gotta get over this thing that everything belongs to you and that nobody else should have anything if its one up over you. You should keep you mouth shut about things about this state that you don't know about. Toxins are being removed, landfill, well every state in the country has landfill, and we have beautiful beaches, towns, and parks. So what if we have only two large cities being Newark and Jersey City. You PEOPLE should come here for a while b4 u make off color remarks about this FINE AND BEAUTIFUL STATE!

December 13th, 2003, 05:58 PM
You PEOPLE should come here for a while b4 u make off color remarks about this FINE AND BEAUTIFUL STATE!

I can agree that New Jersey is a fine an beautiful state. When I moved from Michigan to NY, I drove through Jersey (as one must) and was struck by how beautiful and Michigan-like Jersey was. It's just close to the city that Jersey looks so awful, because they in the past they allowed themselves to be NYC's whore: "Hey, we'll send some $$$ your way if you let us <dump trash><build an ugly powerplant><build an ugly factory><treat you as an annex to all the ugly things that are necessary to a big city like NYC but unsightly to actually BE in the city>on your land." But that's the impression most NYer's have of Jersey.

But "stealing" the Nets is all about economics. If they think they can fill more seats in NY, than NJ, they'll move. It's only NJ's fault for failing to show up for tip-off. Sorry. It's not a NY vs. NJ thing. It's all about the Benjamins! Get over it, and show up for the first NY game and all the beer's on me! :)

December 13th, 2003, 06:02 PM
If you are going to call people names, especially ignorent, you should use Spell Check.

At one time the Nets, Jets, and Giants were in NY State.

I have been to many places in NJ and it's very nice.

If you are more comfortable acting like a ten year old brat - "You started it!"

December 13th, 2003, 06:42 PM
ok zippy calm down

December 14th, 2003, 01:09 AM
Calm down? What do you mean? I found your rant amusing, especially the ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE. Nice touch.

December 14th, 2003, 01:25 AM
At one time the Nets, Jets, and Giants were in NY State.

And the first baseball game "ever" was played in Hoboken, the most famous NY Singer is from Hoboken.

And all those twinkling lights on Broadway, Invented by Thomas Edison in Menlo Park New Jersey.

December 14th, 2003, 02:03 AM
My statment was in response to JCMan, who bemoaned NYC wanting to take everything from NJ. Do you understand the point I was making?

What is your point? That significant things occurred in New Jersey?
OK.I agree. So what?

P.S. Just to stir the pot a bit - Edison did not invent the electric light bulb. A British inventor, Joseph Swan sued Edison for patent infringement and won in a British court.

In 1883 the U.S. Patent Office ruled that Edison's patent was invalid, based on the earlier work of William Sawyer, and revoked his rights.

Edison achieved fame and fortune when he built the world's first central generating station - the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York City

December 14th, 2003, 03:41 PM

This blog is about the move of the Nets to Brooklyn. It doesnt have scores or anything like that. Just news stories and my opinions about the move.

December 16th, 2003, 04:19 PM
P.S. Just to stir the pot a bit - Edison did not invent the electric light bulb. A British inventor, Joseph Swan sued Edison for patent infringement and won in a British court.

Now who's going to break this news to Ally (daughter of TommY) Hilfiger, star of MTV's reality show Rich Girls?

Jaime: "We must have done something really good for us to have the privileges that we do. Benjamin Franklin was born on my birthday, Muhammad Ali was born on my birthday. Like, maybe I was one of them."

Ally: "Who? Who was born on your birthday?"

Jaime: "Benjamin Franklin - who invented the light bulb."

She's already confused enough!


And is it possible to be the reincarnation of Muhammad Ali if he's still around?

December 16th, 2003, 06:43 PM
And is it possible to be the reincarnation of Muhammad Ali if he's still around?
Yes, except you have to wait for the brain - which seems to be the case here.

December 18th, 2003, 11:00 AM

Big Plans for a New Brooklyn

Nets' move would give Brooklyn a new arena and buildings complex

By Justin Davidson

December 18, 2003

Art lured him to Bilbao, classical music to downtown Los Angeles, and basketball may bring Frank Gehry to Brooklyn.

The architect, known for his sinuous forms and wavy metal rhapsodies, has come up with a master plan to redevelop a narrow X-Acto blade of land at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues into Brooklyn Atlantic Yards. A master plan is still a long way from an architectural design, but even in its rough, boxy form, it gives a powerful reason to root for developer Bruce Ratner's bid to buy the New Jersey Nets.

If the deal doesn't happen, that strip of land might remain what it is now, a no- man's-land alongside the railroad tracks, a neglected wound at the join between four neighborhoods: Fort Greene, Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Prospect Heights. If it does, Ratner would move the Nets to Brooklyn, and the basketball arena would bring with it acres of housing, greenery and much-needed glamour.

Whenever a mayor raises the possibility ofbuilding a stadium on Manhattan's West Side, residents and civic groups raise their timeless howls. But what West Siders scorn, Brooklynites would do well to welcome. Gehry, who hails from the coast where the Dodgers remain in exile, is proposing to do more than heal Brooklyn's sporting history: He is offering to knit the borough a new downtown.

This is an enormous project by metropolitan standards: 21 acres (five more than the World Trade Center site), with a lot of moving parts, a projected budget of $2.5 billion and a 10-year timeline.

Let's start with the arena, which is where the builders would begin, too. Forget about the traditional freestanding coliseum, rising amid arid plains of parking. Forget, too, about Madison Square Garden, a round, squat drum that barely registers from Seventh Avenue and, inside, provides all the romance of a slaughterhouse. Gehry's arena would be a glass palace pinched between two converging boulevards, encircled with medium-size office buildings and topped with an open garden, landscaped by Laurie Olin, the transformer of Bryant Park.

This is an arena as public forum: While office workers and neighborhood residents picnic amid arbors and enjoy views that sweep from the Brooklyn Bridge to Prospect Park and from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, restless types can take a spin around the running track. Even in winter, the roof will be peopled, since the track converts into a skating rink - not the postage-stamp kind, as at Rockefeller Center, but a quarter-mile loop.

Gehry has never designed a sports arena before. His most recent success is Disney Hall, new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he managed to create a feeling of electric communion and egalitarian intimacy in a concert hall that seats 2,200 people. Infusing those qualities into a building meant to accommodate 10 times that number will be difficult. Clearly, Gehry is not interested in producing a standard- issue stadium, but the jokes that already have begun - that he will outfit his court with elliptical hoops and undulating backboards - gloss over his genius at adapting to necessity and convention.

It is that sifting and arranging of needs - the astute assessment of the neighborhood - that makes Gehry's master plan so exciting. Forest City Ratner, Bruce Ratner's development company, already has had a hand in developing downtown Brooklyn, and the new bland, unassertive Metrotech Center, where the corporation has its offices, provides a good model for how not to go about it. Atlantic Yards, by contrast, promises a level of livability that is rare in New York City.

Atlantic Avenue will get honest-to- goodness sidewalks planted with trees, instead of the crumbling strips now petering out into weed banks. Brooklyn will get a new skyline, not the usual clump of sun-blocking skyscrapers, but a slithery sequence of low-rises, towers and midsized apartment buildings. These new residences will mingle people of various income levels and link them along a six-block corridor of greenery. The retail spaces will be geared not to chain boutiques but to coffee shops, cleaners and grocery stores. An underground garage will accommodate 3,000 cars for those determined to drive into the heart of Brooklyn, but the beauty of the site is its neighboring knot of public transportation: Nine subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road converge at Atlantic Terminal across the street.

The apartment buildings will not all swoop and twist like Gehry's celebrated icons - even people who like spectacle architecture don't necessarily want to live in it. But the site, tapering to a prow at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic, offers a built-in opportunity to amaze. For the triangle of land between the arena and the street, Gehry has proposed an "urban room," a sunken plaza beneath an office tower raised on stilts, with a restaurant suspended overhead.

The covered piazza is not a native New York form, much less a Brooklyn one, and the model as it stands does not guarantee that it will be more amicable than the Citicorp Plaza on Lexington Avenue, where a subway station and the office building spill into a soulless concourse. But Disney Hall, with its open lobbies and rooftop grounds, hints that besides being able to sculpt a postcard-worthy facade, Gehry also might be capable of crafting a great civic space.

Last year, he opted out of the scrum to design the new World Trade Center, and the Guggenheim Museum branch he designed for an East River site was shelved. Now, New York has a chance to grab a Gehry extravaganza. Let's hope it doesn't slip away.

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

December 18th, 2003, 02:17 PM
Newsday also reported, a couple of days ago that Wang will NOT jump back into the bidding wars. Looks like that paper (which had been so ra-ra for the Nets moving back to Long Island) is now backing Brooklyn. So am I. Now let's just see some more positive steps to get the arena built! Hey, 718, where have ya been??? After last week, I figured you'd be jamming this board with posts!

December 20th, 2003, 09:27 PM
December 21, 2003


Brooklyn Hard Courts


Q. With the talk of the New Jersey Nets possibly moving to Brooklyn, can you tell me if Brooklyn ever had a pro basketball team?

A. From the first pro basketball league in 1898 to the founding of the National Basketball Association in 1949, hoops circuits came and went with disconcerting regularity, frequently including Brooklyn among their short-lived franchises.

The most important Brooklyn pro team was part of the American Basketball League, which had six seasons of comparative success between 1926 and 1931. Organized by two National Football League team owners, George Halas and George Preston Marshall, and a Cleveland businessman, Max Rosenblum, this was the first truly national pro basketball circuit.

The great pro team of the era was the Original Celtics, spearheaded by their floor leader, Nat Holman, and Joe Lapchick. These two men would become noted coaches, Holman with City College of New York and Lapchick with St. John's and the Knicks.

The Celtics, who made their money barnstorming, had declined to join the nascent A.B.L., which had a Brooklyn franchise, the Arcadians. The league's magnates realized that they needed the Celtics to join their league, and when the Arcadians opened the 1927-8 season at 0-5, the Brooklyn franchise slunk away in disgrace. It was replaced by the Celtics, who were the league's dominant franchise and brought the title to Brooklyn in the one year they were based there.

The next year, the Celtics were re-christened the New York Celtics, and they played home games in Madison Square Garden, then at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street.

Among the other Brooklyn teams were the Brooklyn Triangles of the New York State League, who compiled a last-place record of 11-27 in 1913-4, their only season of existence. The Interstate Basket Ball League had two Brooklyn teams, the 1915-6 Trolley Dodgers and the 1919-20 Dodgers, and the Brooklyn Visitations played in the 1926-7 National Basketball League.

The Metropolitan Basketball League, in several incarnations, included such unlikely Brooklyn squads as the Greenpoint Knights of St. Anthony, the West Brooklyn Assumption Triangles and the Brooklyn Prospect Big Five, not to mention yet another Dodger team and a second visitation of Visitations. The Brooklyn Jewels made a significant impact, while a team called Brooklyn Hill House became in rapid succession the Brooklyn Americans, the Bronx St. Martins and defunct.

E-mail: fyi@nytimes.com

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

December 23rd, 2003, 03:06 AM
(NY Times)

Ratner Adds Millions to His Bid for the Nets

Published: December 23, 2003

Already the leading bidder for the Nets, the developer Bruce C. Ratner yesterday raised his offer to buy the team, which he would move to Brooklyn, while he and two rivals submitted proposed purchase agreements to the team's current owners.

Ratner increased his $275 million offer by millions of dollars, two executives involved in the sales process said, although they declined to reveal by how much. Ratner heads a group that would move the team to an arena designed by Frank Gehry, which would be the centerpiece of a $2.5 billion commercial and residential development project.

"Ratner wants it big time," one of the executives said.

Ratner has said there will be no project without the Nets.

Ratner is vying with Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine, of New Jersey, who have bid $267.5 million, and Stuart Feldman, who has offered $257.5 million.

The bidders did not have to submit new offers yesterday, rather they had to submit their comments on a proposed purchase and sale agreement created by the current owners, a group led by the New Jersey investors Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz. The group, along with its bankers at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, are expected to review the documents and the bids and try to complete a deal in mid-January.

Another person involved in the sale said he expected another round of bids before a decision is made.

Charles B. Wang, the co-owner of the Islanders, did not re-enter the fray. Wang withdrew his $265 million offer earlier this month out of frustration with the sale process.

"We're out of the game," said Paul Lancey, the senior vice president of the Islanders.

The sale of the Nets has been something of a roller-coaster ride over the past six months. Bickering among members of YankeeNets, the holding company whose assets included the Yankees and the Nets, led to a decision to sell the basketball team, which is expected to lose millions of dollars this season despite advancing to the N.B.A. finals the past two seasons. Chambers and Katz had seemed divided over their intentions, but two weeks ago the YankeeNets voted to dissolve, and Chambers and Katz agreed to sell the team to the highest bidder.

There are growing concerns that legal problems surrounding Kushner could undermine his bid. Last week, the F.B.I. raided an accounting firm connected to Kushner and raided the home of his former chief financial officer.

Kushner is entangled in lawsuits filed by another former employee who said Kushner misappropriated company funds and improperly reported campaign contributions. Kushner's office said he was cooperating with investigators.

The Nets are concerned that the investigation could hurt his group's chances of receiving N.B.A. approval should it submit the winning bid.

December 23rd, 2003, 12:08 PM
Nice... it's all coming together.

December 25th, 2003, 04:30 PM
As a resident of the area, I can only say this is a bad, bad idea. Maybe for you soulless bastards who think life is all about money, "setting aside an amount and a brand new apartment" would offset being displaced from your home and community. But for the people who actually live in this area, no way. This is a family neighborhood we're talking about -- families who've been in Prospect Hts for a long time and have/are adjusting to gentrification and new families who've moved to the area -- to answer someone's question about why you would move to this location and expect peace and quiet -- for these reasons:

-- Proximity to transportation for easy commute to jobs in Manhattan.

-- Proximity to the Park ... lots of people who live in this area have kids, dogs, and outdoor hobbies (cycling, rollerblading, running) that you can do living in the city if you're near to the park

-- A slightly cheaper, mellower way to live in NYC than you could have in Manhattan. Brooklyn appeals to people either because they have family ties to the place or because they want to live in NYC but also want some space and a more relaxed vibe than Manhattan can afford them.

If you're saying that people move to Flatbush and Atlantic looking for action, then you're sadly mistaken and obviously talking out of your backside. There's nothing going on around there save for residential-type activities -- shopping, restaurants, transportation, and the park. Sure, there's a small rock club in Park Slope and some great neighborhood bars ... but these are neighborhood activities that draw the ocassional annoying Manhattanites to gawk and tell their friends "I braved Brooklyn!"

Adding a stadium -- nay a virtual city -- like this to the mix will draw, as someone else said, the kinds of folks who hang out in bars near Yankee Stadium. Lame-o Bridge and Tunnlers, more stupid chain stores and restaurants (Thanks alot, Ratner, for ushering an APPLEBEE'S into Brooklyn, for God's sake), and lots of overpriced congestion.

Instead of being a mellow, classy, community-oriented area that borders on the chaotic downtown vibe of "downtown," this area will now become a giant strip mall. Prospect Heights and Fort Greene are cool because they're organic, evolving communities ... it sucks that people are already being gentrified out of these areas ... This area will be turned into run of the mill crap inhabitied by short-term richy rich Wall St workers and credit risks driving leased Hummers if this project goes through

I'd love to be able to walk to Nets games, sure, but at this cost. Put the damn arena in the Navy Yard where you're not going to destroy two neighborhoods

December 25th, 2003, 09:12 PM
Proximity to transportation for easy commute to jobs in Manhattan.
How easy would a commute to New Jersey be?

I'd love to be able to walk to Nets games, sure, but at this cost. Put the damn arena in the Navy Yard where you're not going to destroy two neighborhoods
The primary importance of the project is not to get a sports team in Brooklyn, but to develop needed office space. It is becoming increasingly difficult to create job growth in Manhattan. If viable alternatives to Manhattan are not explored, the city will lose jobs to other cities and this will erode the tax base. You live in NYC, not Nassau County.

But if you wish to view this as a battle between Brooklyn and Manhattan, consider:

1. If Brooklyn were still an autonomous city, downtown would have been filled with skyscrapers before either us were born.

2. Are the majority of the people who live in Brooklyn in favor or opposed to this project?

December 26th, 2003, 01:34 PM
Come on guys. This is for Brooklyn. We only have 16 emails so far. We need hundreds of names!

If you would like me to add your name to support our petition please
send an email with your name to Nets2Brooklyn@aol.com

To: The Mayor, Borough President, and Councilwoman James
The people of Brooklyn deserve a professional sports team.

However it is not just bringing the team to Brooklyn we support. We
support the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project.

We feel that this project will benefit the people of Brooklyn and
all of the citizens of New York. The project will bring jobs, office
space and low to middle income housing into Brooklyn.

We agree with Herbert Muschamp, of the New York Times when he
says "Brooklyn Atlantic Yards reflects a city that has regained its
faith in the future and no longer regrets its place in the present."

We feel this project will revitalize Brooklyn.

We feel the time is right for an investment of $2.5 billion in
downtown Brooklyn. We ask Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough
President Marty Markowitz, and City Councilwoman Letitia James to
support and back Bruce Ratner's plan to revitalize downtown Brooklyn.

We feel the time is right. The time is now.

We support bringing the Nets to Brooklyn.

We support the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project!

December 27th, 2003, 07:26 PM
What if Ratner ponies up the $300 mil and wins the bid but --god forbid--the NIMBYs derail the move to Atlantic Yards. Do you suppose he'll leave them where they are, move them elsewhere (where?), or just unload them and concentrate on development, as he'd see the Nets as an extraneous distraction?

December 28th, 2003, 06:45 PM
I doubt the city will allow the Nets to become a $300 million white elephant. NIMBY's only have power when they have city agencies as backing, and we all know whose court Bloomberg and Pataki are playing.

December 28th, 2003, 08:20 PM
Yup. I remember some news footage of the announcement. Bloomberg said to Marty, "Now you'd better get the team."

December 28th, 2003, 10:47 PM
I doubt the city will allow the Nets to become a $300 million white elephant. NIMBY's only have power when they have city agencies as backing, and we all know whose court Bloomberg and Pataki are playing.

Yeah, I took a tour of the site today and couldn't agree more with the Metropolis article. The site defines "Urban Wastland." There's very little there--from an architectural standpoint--worth preserving. Especially not when compared with adding that Gehry Gem to the architechtural banquette of NYC.

And as, all the major politicians have come down in full support, it must mean they think the NIMBY protests effect is negliable.

I do assume those who lose their homes will be compensated and recieve relocation assistance.

December 28th, 2003, 11:08 PM
Interesting, I just got Metropolis as a subsciption for Christmas, as a whole its not a very fulfilling magazine. I think it would be cool if we could create a Wired New York Magazine. It would be sensational, although I dont think it would be very newsworthy and somewhat shortsighted.

December 31st, 2003, 02:43 AM
True, Stern, a WiredNewYork Magazine could also have its drawbacks. But at least it wouldn't be inflated with a lot of pompous hot air. No doubt, JMGarcia and Zippy would be among those to expect a foundation close to the ground. Something tells me that Zippy's opposable thumbs could master a needle with expert precision.

In some ways, the present site and this subsidiary forum fulfil a type of online magazine function. I'm new to the forum as a participant, but WiredNY and the forum caught my eye long before. Great photography; interesting discussions; and no obnoxious "blow cards" that flutter to the floor.

December 31st, 2003, 08:24 PM
Think some NEW JERSEY Net fans might disagree with that last line!

January 4th, 2004, 10:22 AM
NY Newsday http://www.nynewsday.com/

B'klyn Arena Plan Drawing Fire

By Luis Perez
Staff Writer

January 3, 2004, 4:10 PM EST

The carolers were angry.

And the jeers that were their carols, to the tune of "The 12 days of Christmas," said it all:

"On the first day of Christmas Bruce Ratner took from me: A home for my fa-mi-ly."

Accompanied by accordion and guitar, the protesters wound their way up and down Dean and Pacific streets in Brooklyn, marching past Vanderbilt and Flatbush avenues around a dark train yard — the site of a failed late-1950s bid to keep Ebbets Field and the Dodgers in the heart of Brooklyn.

If developer Bruce Ratner has his way, six mixed-use blocks around this Long Island Rail Road site would be razed by right of eminent domain. Above the yard and over a few of the leveled streets would rise a $2.5-billion basketball arena complex housing the Nets. Seventeen buildings ranging from 20 to 60 stories each, with commercial, residential and shopping space, would rise from the westernmost end of the arena down to Vanderbilt Avenue. All 21 acres of the site would be the work of noted architect Frank Gehry.

Gone would be what opponents insist amounts to about 1,000 homes and scores of businesses. Hence the heavy-worded caroling, which, before concluding in the warmth of Freddy's Bar, at Sixth Avenue and Dean Street and also facing certain doom, went on to cite as other losses two thoroughfares, four neighborhoods, eight unclogged subways, nine cultures mixing and DE-MO-CRA-CY!

"The whole thing is nuts. It's insane," said Patti Hagan, the leader of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, a band of homeowners, renters and businesses formed last year to combat the plan.

Hagan, who purchased a brownstone a few blocks from the site 25 years ago, asked: "Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that anyone can do that?"

The plan has put a spotlight on a neighborhood already feeling tension between those who see more development as progress, and those who say it's merely further "Manhattanization" of Brooklyn. Other nearby Ratner projects, including Metrotech Center and the Atlantic Center Mall, though touted by the city, have left many in the area skeptical.

Ratner and his supporters, Mayor Michael Bloomberg among them, have said his plans would pump much needed tax revenue into the city, and help to boost the economy of the Brooklyn neighborhood. Ratner initially projected that only 100 tenants would be displaced. A spokesman for the developer later said that the figure was only an estimate and that the full impact would not be known until the project is under way.

Still, opponents are not convinced. Hagan said she has received 4,000 signatures against the plan, from residents of Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights. They would like to see more than the 4,500 units of housing Ratner has proposed, and fear that a 20,000-seat stadium will rob the area of its residential character.

Though Ratner's plan hinges on his securing the purchase of the New Jersey Nets, Borough President Marty Markowitz has publicly praised it, and the project dovetails with several multimillion-dollar development projects in the area, including the city's Downtown Brooklyn Plan and the nearby Brooklyn Academy of Music Cultural District Plan. All are slated for completion within the next 10 years.

By then, Ratner says his stadium will bring more than 10,000 permanent jobs, as well as 15,000 construction jobs in between.

"Adding a professional sports team and a world class arena, in addition to the housing and all the jobs it would create, would be a tremendous economic shot in the arm to Downtown Brooklyn," said Ed Skyler, the mayor's press secretary.

Asked about those who would lose their homes, Skyler added: "Sometimes great things require sacrifice. And it would be the government's job to make sure that everybody is made whole again."

Among the opposition is Neil deMause, a journalist who lives in Brooklyn and is the author of "Field of Schemes" (Common Ground Press), about the impact of big stadiums in cities across the country.

"Sports facilities are typically among the worst bang for the buck in terms of job creation," said deMause, noting that the Nets' Jason Kidd and company were the exception. "The only thing we can be sure of is that it will move 12 jobs from New Jersey."

The plan, by all accounts, is bold. Of four towers surrounding the arena, the first to rise, on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, would hover at 620 feet — eclipsing Brooklyn's current tallest structure, the Williamsburg Savings Bank, a 1929 landmark.

"If this happens, I'm going to lose a quarter million, easy," said Emanuel Volcy, 32, who just opened an auto-body business at the foot of the proposed 620-foot tower. "They are going to pay the owner and they are going to tell me to beat it."

But the real pain, opponents say, is for those who will be losing homes. While gentrification has brought many upper-middle class residents to the area, many who live there say they would be hard put to move — and likely pay higher rents.

Among them is Victoria Harmon, 85, who moved into a second-floor cold flat at 810 Pacific Street in 1942 and remembers the failed bid to bring the Dodgers to the site.

"A lot of people are going to be relocated," said Harmon, a retired school cafeteria worker whose rent is $178 monthly and whose sole income is social security. "I don't know if I can do that. My rent is stabilized. I don't know if I can pay it if it goes too high."

"It may be good for the neighborhood and all that," she added, "but it's the people like myself. It's going to be hard."

Like Volcy, Emily Schmitt, an art director who lives in a warehouse on Pacific Street renovated for luxury apartments, was giving in as well. A sign in the lobby read: "Don't destroy our homes."

"We're sitting on center court right now," said Schmitt, 34, the hum of the train yard behind her.

On Vanderbilt Avenue, where the residential buildings would go up, Atlas Auto Service owner David Sarnow also feels impending doom.

"I'm not ready to retire yet. But if they take the building, where am I going to go?" said Sarnow, 43, who with his brother Blaise, 49, inherited the shop from his father 15 years ago.

"Ten, fifteen years ago, this was rough stuff," said Blaise Sarnow, motioning to Vanderbilt Avenue. "We lived through that. You look now, you have all restaurants up the strip, and people moving in. It's coming back."

Hagan, who has vowed to fight the eminent domain question in court, says the open space over the train yard is "Big Sky" and would like to see a park there.

Traffic is another issue. Daily traffic on any one of the nearby thoroughfares is bad already, say opponents, who doubt that 13 subway lines and the LIRR running past the development will do much to alleviate that.

Joyce Baumgarten, a spokeswoman for Forrest City Ratner, declined to comment for this article pending the sale of the Nets other than to say that Ratner has "always gone to the community" for feedback and would do so again.

Contrary to the residents' fears, the developer also insists that the complex will have 24-hour, round-the-calendar activities for the public, from jogging to rock concerts and landscaped rooftops.

For Peter Ighodaro, however, skepticism remains.

"He who has the sugar, brings the ants," said Ighodaro, a city social worker of Nigerian descent who purchased a townhouse a few blocks from the train yard a few years ago.

Ighodaro's previous home was a few blocks from Yankee Stadium, where, he said, he saw firsthand how giant arenas attract a bad element.

"It may increase the value of my property, but can you compare that to one drop of blood from my children? The whole nature of this neighborhood now is so quiet and so nice. I can imagine what it would turn to. There's no question."

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

January 4th, 2004, 11:08 AM
I hate selfish people, and these people are the worst.

January 4th, 2004, 12:26 PM
Ighodaro's previous home was a few blocks from Yankee Stadium, where, he said, he saw firsthand how giant arenas attract a bad element.

I guess he's lived there for the 80 years the stadium has been in the neighborhood.

The tactic here is to label this a stadium, to evoke a giant structure in a parking field.

January 4th, 2004, 01:39 PM
And I guess it had nothing to do with it being in the South Bronx. If there was no stadium there would just be more projects. Some New Yorkers are pretty dumb, and there is nothing that can be done about that. Stadiums do however revitalize and instill a community pride. This stadium will go through, and it will revitalize Brooklyn. The Nets will act as a cultural boost for the area with repercussions in the arts, and learning, hopefully it will effect his children who wont have to suffer from the same idiocies.

January 4th, 2004, 03:42 PM
I had a debate with someone at a dinner party the other night. He insisted that it would ruin the neighborhood with bad elements (which I took a little personally, as I'm planning on attending a few nets games)--and that sports weren't culture and didn't belong in a cultural district. I was flabbergasted. I mean, I can see disagreeing, but to contend sports aren't a part of society's culture?

January 5th, 2004, 07:44 AM
I'm sure that many "people of culture" from writers to musicians to actors and directors will be joining you at those games!

Speaking of musicians,,, anyone else hear the rumor that Jay Z plans on changing the team's colors? I, a life long Nets fan (yeah that's right, I'm the one, and I ain't from Jersey!) cringed when I heard Marty talking about changing the team's name to the Brooklyn Attitude. But new colors to follow some fad (remember the black and silver wannabe-Raiders look, or the wannabe-Hornets teal look of the 1990's?) is almost as bad.

The Brooklyn Dodgers wore blue and white, with a touch of red. The NY/NJ Nets have always worn red, white, and blue. Move them to Brooklyn, but keep the TRADITIONAL colors, and save the neon "Mighty Ducks" look for one of those little expansion towns!

January 7th, 2004, 10:11 AM
Their starting five now features Marbury, Van Horn and Mutumbo! And who could ever forget Chris "Tubby" Childs? Even one of their all-time greats, Bernard King was originally a Net. Hell they're even stealing our long standing tradition of not selling out games!

So why stop there?

After the Nets take Brooklyn by storm, why not send the Knicks west, to the Meadowlands? Maybe by then they might even have some cap space to sign another often injured player!

January 7th, 2004, 09:04 PM
to answer someone's question about why you would move to this location and expect peace and quiet -

My question was who moves to Atlantic & Flatbush, the two busiest thoroughfares in Brooklyn, and can expect to have a REASONABLE expectation of peace & quiet

It was a question of this being a reasonable expectation

January 9th, 2004, 01:58 PM

Bruce Ratner's Nets Brooklyn bid tops $300 million

The stakes in the auction of the Nets are on the way up again.

As of yesterday, New York developer Bruce Ratner, who wants to move the Nets to Brooklyn, had told the team's owners he was prepared to offer as much as $310 million, according to three executives involved with the sale. That and this report from The Newark Star Ledger's Matthew Futterman and George E. Jordan

Ratner's bid would take the price for the two-time NBA Eastern Conference champions to an important plateau: It is twice the amount a group of New Jersey businessmen paid for the team five years ago.

His offer also puts pressure on New Jersey developer Charles Kushner to raise his own bid, drop out of the auction or take the chance that his pledge to keep the Nets at their current home in the Meadowlands will be enough to prevail.

His spokesman said last night Kushner and his partner, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ), have not changed their offer of $267.5 million.

But the executives involved in the sale said the Kushner-Corzine partners indicated they would raise their offer to as high as $290 million -- about $10 to $15 million less than Ratner.

New York financier Stuart Feldman, who bid $257.5 million, is no longer a contender for the team, the executives involved in the sale disclosed. Feldman never stated publicly his plans for the Nets.

The recent moves -- which would be some of the highest bids ever made for an NBA franchise -- further complicate the four-month auction. A new owner of the Nets could be named within the next 10 days.

"I'm trying to bring about a sale as quickly as possible," said Ed Stier, the chief executive of Community Youth Organizations, the non-profit group led by Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz that controls the Nets. "We are trying to evaluate the offers with regard to price and certainty that a deal can close."

This isn't just about the highest bid, though. Executives with CYO also must consider which buyer is most likely to gain NBA approval.

NBA commissioner David Stern has made it clear the league would prefer an owner with concrete financing and a construction plan in place for a new or renovated arena for the Nets.

Prospective owners must also be able to show the financial means to fund losses from the franchise that are projected at $25-40 million the next two years.

Ratner, who previously bid $275 million, and Kushner-Corzine, have been in extensive informal discussion with two Wall Street firms advising CYO and YankeeNets, the sports company that owns a major stake in the basketball franchise.

Executives involved with the sale say Ratner is all but certain to be the high bidder. His plan, however, to build a Frank Gehry-designed arena above the rail yards at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in downtown Brooklyn remains far from a done deal.

Ratner has received verbal support for the proposed $2.5 billion arena, office and residential complex from New York's most powerful officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki.

However, he must acquire the land and air rights from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and displace private property owners. He faces a potentially long, and nasty fight with thousands of Brooklyn residents opposed to the project. As the fight unfolds, the Nets would likely have to play in the Continental Airlines Arena in front of New jersey fans who know the team is trying to abandon them for New York of all places.

Through a spokesman, Ratner declined to comment.

Kushner and Corzine have reached an agreement with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for a $120 million renovation of the Continental Airlines arena. The arena would be part of a $1 billion makeover of the Sports Complex by Mack Cali Realty and the Mills Corp.

"We are still actively pursuing the purchase of the Nets and intend on keeping the team in New Jersey," Richard Stadtmauer, a managing partner at Kushner Cos., a Florham Park-based home and office developer.

However, Kushner also faces an intensifying federal probe into his fundraising efforts on behalf of Gov. James E. McGreevey and other Democrats. That and this report from The Newark Star Ledger's Matthew Futterman and George E. Jordan

January 9th, 2004, 04:03 PM
It must be great to be made of money. Even though now they're just milking it....

January 15th, 2004, 04:46 AM
(from Newsday)

Brooklyn Closer to Nets

By Steve Zipay and Glenn Thrush
Staff Writers

January 14, 2004, 11:31 PM EST

The New Jersey Nets appear to be Brooklyn-bound.

The finishing touches on developer Bruce Ratner's stunning $300-
million deal to buy the NBA team and move it to a proposed 19,000-
seat arena Downtown are being negotiated, and an announcement could
come this week, people familiar with the process said Wednesday night.

Brooklyn officials were being told an agreement between Nets owners
and Ratner, the head of Forest City Associates, was very close. One
source familiar with the negotiations said both sides were at the
bargaining table at 9:30 Wednesday night. One local official said
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz told him: "It looks very
good. It looks very good!"

A source involved in the negotiations said the Nets were dealing
exclusively with Ratner.

"There are a million details that have to be worked out with the
NBA," the source said, adding that Ratner's team was examining player
contracts as part of their due diligence. "We're close, but it isn't
going to be done tomorrow, unless there's a small miracle."

If the sale is approved by three-fourths of the 28 other members of
the NBA's Board of Governors, Ratner's plan is to make the $435-
million glass-sheathed arena the centerpiece of a sprawling retail
and apartment complex covering 21 acres at the Long Island Rail Road
yards at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Markowitz has touted the plan as an economic boost and envisions the
Nets as a successor to the Dodgers, who moved to Los Angeles after
the 1957 season.

Still, the proposal faces community opposition and other hurdles.
Patti Hagan, leader of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, a group
formed to combat the plan, said Wednesday of Ratner: "He's got a huge
fight on his hands, because we are not going away."

Ratner has said the project "will be almost exclusively privately
financed" but officials have said some tax revenue could be pumped
into the development. Ratner also wants the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority to turn over some of its land to the project
and the state to condemn the remainder.

The Nets have advanced to the NBA Finals in the past two seasons, but
the team is losing tens of millions of dollars a year.

In November, Ratner initially bid $275 million for the team, the
highest of four suitors, including the New Jersey duo of developer
Charles Kushner and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.).

Michele DeMilly, a spokeswoman for Ratner, declined comment Wednesday
night. Kushner could not be reached, but Bloomberg News quoted a
spokesman as saying, "It ain't over yet.

If Ratner completes the deal, the Nets apparently would still play in
New Jersey next season.

January 15th, 2004, 05:04 AM
(from NY Post)



January 15, 2004 -- A New York group has submitted the winning bid for the New Jersey Nets - bringing the team a giant step closer to moving to a new Brooklyn arena, sources said yesterday.

Real-estate mogul Bruce Ratner's bid - reportedly $300 million - topped that of a team of New Jersey investors who'd hoped to keep the Nets west of the Hudson.

Papers finalizing the team's sale to Ratner and his group are now being drawn up, said a source familiar with the deal.

It's "almost 100 percent definite," said the source. "The bankers who are making the decision have selected Ratner. It's just a matter of crossing t's and dotting i's."

The official announcement from the current and future Nets owners is expected next week, the source said.

Ratner plans to build the Nets a Frank Gehry-designed arena in Downtown Brooklyn at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

The 800,000-square- foot arena will hold 19,000 people for basketball and 20,000 for concerts and other events.

The building would be the centerpiece of an 8-million-square-foot office, retail and housing complex to include 4,500 new residential units, office space and six acres of public space, including a rooftop park with a skating rink and running track.

Ratner's group notes that the arena site - above the LIRR tracks and commuter station at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues - was considered for a new stadium for the Dodgers before they left Brooklyn.

Still, the deal isn't signed - and a spokesman for losing New Jersey bidders Sen. Jon Corzine and real-estate developer Charles Kushner insisted to Bloomberg News, "It ain't over yet."

Net principal owner Lewis Katz also said the deal isn't final.

"We've got negotiators working," Katz told The Post. "Why don't we just wait and see what the facts are?"

Ratner's plans have sparked some ire in Brooklyn.

"You're awarding this franchise to a guy who doesn't have the land and doesn't have the building to put his team in," said Patti Hagan of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition.

"He has a huge battle on his hands."

New Jerseyans are keeping the faith.

"We will see what [NBA Commissioner David] Stern has to say," said Frank Capece, a politically connected Jersey lawyer and prominent Nets fan.

"It's three or four years away," Capece said of a possible move. "I question whether New York can get the approvals it needs."

Additional reporting by Patrick Gallahue, Fred Kerber and Gersh Kuntzman.

January 15th, 2004, 04:47 PM
NY Daily News reported a similar story.

I read this story in The Post's print edition. This was their deck (or subhead, if you prefer:

almost 100 percent definite

Nice Oxymoron, huh? Almost 100 percent definate?

Almost definately pregnant anyone?

January 16th, 2004, 01:30 AM
January 16, 2004

Dodgers? No Way! Brooklyn's Revival Is Betting on the Nets


A view of the site of the proposed Nets stadium in Brooklyn, which officials hope will aid the borough's continued revival.

The revival of Brooklyn has been painfully slow, an effort eked out neighborhood by neighborhood, with chic new restaurants in Fort Greene, artists' lofts in Williamsburg, new businesses in industrial Red Hook and the transformation of derelict factory buildings into million-dollar condominiums in an area with the unlikely name of Dumbo.

But the prospect of a professional basketball team moving across two rivers to Brooklyn seemed, until recently, as remote as shipbuilding returning to the sprawling Brooklyn Navy Yard complex. Now, Bruce Ratner, the developer, is negotiating to buy the New Jersey Nets and install the team in a glamorous new home designed by a world-renowned architect at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

For many residents, politicians and economists, a move by the Nets to Brooklyn would crystallize the rejuvenation of the borough and repudiate a 50-year cycle of decline that saw the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957, the closing of the Navy Yard, the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs and the riots during the blackout of 1977.

``It would cap the rebirth of Brooklyn,'' said Fred Siegel, a history professor at Cooper Union who lives in Flatbush. ``You'd heal some of the old wounds from the Dodgers having left, and people would discover all the other changes in Brooklyn.''

The borough's resurgence will probably continue whether Mr. Ratner and his investors succeed in his effort to buy the Nets. Mr. Ratner, who has bid about $300 million, is vying with a New Jersey group headed by Charles Kushner, a developer, and Senator Jon Corzine that intends to keep the team at its current home in New Jersey. Mr. Kushner has offered $267.5 million for the team and suggested that he may yet raise his bid.

``We're reviewing all the financial information and due diligence to see if an adjustment in price is warranted,'' Mr. Kushner said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. ``I can tell you that I believe it's not done.''

Even if Mr. Ratner did win the auction and get the necessary approval of the National Basketball Association, he would still face some daunting challenges in trying to move the team to Brooklyn. He wants to move the Nets to a $435 million, 19,000-seat glass-walled arena over Long Island Rail Road yards. The arena would be the centerpiece of a $2.5 billion commercial and residential development that would stretch for three blocks along Atlantic Avenue, one of the borough's two main thoroughfares.

Mr. Ratner needs the state to condemn the properties not already owned by the railroad, as well as up to $150 million in government funds for streets and rail connections. The project faces stringent environmental reviews and local opposition, much of it from people who moved into what was a rough neighborhood 10 and 20 years ago and made it better.

``He is proposing to knock out a significant portion of Prospect Heights to create Ratnerville,'' said Patty Hagan, a leader of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition and a 25-year resident. ``This neighborhood revived in a gradual, organic way, almost building by building. It's solid. The businesses that risked opening here have grown with the community.''

But elsewhere the idea of a professional team moving into Brooklyn is dazzling. Max Stephenson, manager of the nearby Modells sports store at Flatbush and Atlantic, envisions the team in a great crosstown matchup against the Knicks.

``It would be great rivalry,'' Mr. Stephenson said. ``We could have a subway basketball series.''

The borough's resurgence mirrors the revival of other areas of the city like parts of the South Bronx and Harlem. But in Brooklyn that transformation seems more pronounced. College graduates now often steer toward Brooklyn instead of Manhattan; chefs at some of Manhattan's finer restaurants regularly open up restaurants across the river, and companies like the Bank of New York are moving large numbers of employees there, signaling the return of the borough as a commercial hub.

``Over the last 20 years, Brooklyn has crawled along,'' said Kathryn S. Wylde, president of the New York City Partnership, who lives in Bay Ridge. ``This would catapult us into being a destination location for business.''

Many Brooklynites mark the beginning the borough's downward slide to 1957, when Walter O'Malley decided to move the Dodgers to Los Angeles. In the decades that followed, the Navy yard closed. Many of the borough's breweries and printers also shut down or moved. Between 1961 and 1976, 170 major manufacturers left Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope were among the first neighborhoods to turn around, benefiting from the resurgence of Lower Manhattan in the 1980's as young people, artists and Wall Street executives renovated brownstones.

The revival spread slowly to other neighborhoods. New businesses and small manufacturers moved into South Brooklyn. Mr. Ratner, who is also planning to build a new headquarters for The New York Times in Manhattan, is completing another big complex in Brooklyn, Metrotech, a seven-million square foot office development.

The Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league team, recently took up residence at a new ballpark in Coney Island. Now even the Cunard Line wants to bring the Queen Mary II, the first trans-Atlantic liner built in 30 years, to a new passenger terminal at the foot of Atlantic Avenue.

Coincidentally, the Nets would be based at the same site that Walter O'Malley wanted as a new home for the Dodgers before moving the team to California.

``To have a team on the same corner where Walter O'Malley wanted to build a domed stadium would close the sorry chapter on the Dodgers leaving,'' said Michael Shapiro, author of ``The Last Good Season: Brooklyn, the Dodgers and Their Last Pennant Race Together.'' ``It would be enormous.''

Over at Borough Hall, Brooklyn's most voluble cheerleader awaits word of a deal.


Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

TLOZ Link5
January 18th, 2004, 05:52 PM
The NIMBYs are back on the offensive. Note their liberal use of the word "stadium" in the article.

NY Daily News

Putting up a fight

Bouton warns Brooklyn not to build arena with taxpayers' money


Jim Bouton stood at a podium at Brooklyn's cavernous Hanson Place Methodist Church Tuesday night, preaching the evils of publicly funded stadiums to the 100 or so people who braved the cold to hear his message.

Bouton reminded those in the crowd - most of whom vehemently oppose real estate magnate Bruce Ratner's plans to build a Frank Gehry-designed Brooklyn arena for the New Jersey Nets - that $16 billion has been spent in the last 20 years on new sports facilities across America, mostly tax dollars that he says could have been put to to better use.

He pointed out that the promised jobs that come with the project are often minimum-wage, and that any economic growth surrounding the stadium usually only benefits the owners and players.

"I call it America's most costly hostage crisis," Bouton told the Brooklyn audience. "Build a stadium here or you'll never see your team again. Or in this case, build a stadium and you'll see someone else's team."

Bouton, the former Yankee pitcher who scandalized the baseball world in 1970 with "Ball Four," says he knows what he's talking about. The roots of his crusade are detailed in his new book, "Foul Ball," a diary of his failed efforts to save Wahconah Park, the wooden-walled stadium built in 1892 in Pittsfield, Mass., that led to years of ill will between Bouton and the city's movers and shakers.

"Stadiums are sold as engines for economic development," Bouton says. "But studies show this is simply not true. If stadiums were a good investment, businessmen would be building them."

The proposed 20,000-seat Nets arena is the crown jewel of a $2.5 billion development at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves., which also includes office and residential towers. Ratner hopes to buy the Nets, which would pave the way for the new arena.

That concerns those who attended Bouton's Brooklyn appearance last week. They say officials seem too eager to give Ratner tax breaks and perks for a project that will increase traffic and pollution and drive out small businesses. Ratner wants the MTA to grant him the air rights over the Long Island Railroad yard - rights that could be sold on the open market, they say.

They also oppose the state's use of eminent domain to force residents and businesses out of Prospect Heights and Fort Greene. Last month, Ratner said his project would displace about 100 people, but Patti Hagan of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition says a door-to-door audit conducted by her group recently found that 864 residents would be forced out, and about 240 jobs lost.

"Many are immigrants who came to this country with nothing and they have made good," Hagan says. "They deserve to be able to operate their businesses and live their lives. Gehry has the nerve to say he wants to build a neighborhood from scratch. Well this neighborhood has been around for 100 years."

Bouton's dealings with publicly-funded stadiums came when Pittsfield's minor league franchise relocated to Troy, N.Y. in 2001 and in an attempt to lure another team the city proposed an $18.5 million stadium, funded primarily with public money and on land to be donated by the local newspaper. Bouton and partner Chip Elitzer made an alternate proposal: raise $1.5 million in private money to renovate Wahconhah Park and to sell stock to local residents to raise capital for a community-owned team. But Bouton says Pittsfield's power elite - including the town's largest law firm, the biggest bank and the newspaper - conspired to defeat his proposal and aggressively back the plan for the publicly-funded stadium.

After taxpayers soundly turned down that proposal three times and the Pittsfield parks commission rejected Bouton's plan, too, control of Wahconah Park was turned over to Jonathan Flesig, the owner of an unaffiliated minor league club who Bouton says was a shill for new-stadium proponents. Flesig announced in November that he was moving the team to New Haven, saying he was sick of criticism from Pittsfield residents. Now, Pittsfield has no team.

Bouton says he was suspicious from the beginning: The stadium would have been built on land purchased and donated by the newspapaper, the Berkshire Eagle, and he suspected the site was polluted and the ballpark proposal was a way to pass the problem on to taxpayers.

Carcinogenic chemicals from a nearby General Electric factory have been found throughout the region, and in 1999, federal authorities announced that GE agreed to spend more than $250 million to clean them up.

Bouton asked a friend, Tim Gray, executive director of a Pittsfield environmental group, to see if he could learn more. After months of digging through state records, Gray found a document that indicated the land, once the site of an automobile dealership, was contaminated by large amounts of discarded motor oil. The document was dated five months before the stadium election.

"The Eagle should have told the voters that this site was polluted before the election," Gray says. "This was not minor contamination - 948 tons of topsoil were removed. That's a lot of dump trucks."

Dean Singleton, the chief executive officer of MediaNews Group, the nation's seventh-largest newspaper chain and the owner of the Eagle, says Bouton's conspiracy theory is garbage. The motor oil was cleaned up and the site has passed an environmental review and will soon be home to a CVS pharmacy, he says. The Eagle, he adds, is hardly a friend of GE or other corporate polluters - the paper has aggressively reported western Massachussetts' environmental problems.

"Jim Bouton is a flake," says Singleton, who demanded and received an apology and clarification from veteran journalist Bill Moyers for remarks he and Bouton made about the proposal after Bouton appeared on PBS' "NOW with Bill Moyers" late last year. "There are tons and tons of inaccuracies in his account of the situation." Bouton, however, claims he is proud to have played a role in stopping a stadium that nobody except Pittsfield's power elite wanted, and he says it's time for taxpayers in other communities to fight back, too.

"How do you solve this problem when teams play cities and states off each other?" he asks his church audience. "I think the cities and states need to team up against the teams. New York should tell New Jersey 'We won't build a stadium for the Jets and Nets if you don't build a stadium for the Yankees.' Because if you don't, 20 years from now, the Nets will be saying 'We're tired of this Gehry stadium. We need a Liebskind stadium.'"

Originally published on January 17, 2004

I doubt many of you don't look like the image below after reading this:


January 20th, 2004, 06:37 PM
Maybe we need a Ghery Freedom Tower... :?


A Field of Schemes

by Letitia James
January 19, 2004


Recently New York developer Bruce Ratner announced plans to build a 20,000 seat basketball stadium and 17 skyscrapers in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights. This project depends on Ratner placing the winning bid for the New Jersey Nets. However, it also depends on the condemnation of over 1,000 homes and businesses in Prospect Heights and a risky financing system that is full of false hope.

While bringing the Nets to Brooklyn may sound like an intriguing idea, it has troubling fiscal, social, and economic implications for New York City as a whole.


Typically, backers of a new stadium promise it will bring jobs, jobs and more, jobs.

Supporters of this stadium project have been hypnotized by similar claims. The reality is that Yankee stadium at 57,000 seats, which is double the size of the proposed stadium in Brooklyn, only offers 65 full-time positions. Any claim that this proposed stadium would provide for significant and permanent employment is a pipe dream.

Other supporters argue that local schools and other not-for-profit organizations will use the proposed stadium for their recreational events. I respond that there are a number of proposed capital projects to renovate armories and other buildings in Brooklyn into recreational facilities. These facilities, however, do not involve the condemnation of homes and or divert public dollars for private purposes.

The developer also claims that the 17 skyscrapers in his second phase will create 4,500 to 5,500 new apartments. That claim is the biggest joke of all.

Organizations involved with affordable housing do not build high-rise apartment buildings anymore. They realize that people want housing on a human scale where children can play in a yard and neighbors can look out for each other. Furthermore, the total cost for the purchase and construction of this project will in all likelihood make housing so costly, that most working families will not be in a position to afford to live there.


The developer also plans to use eminent domain - the power to take private property for public use - to evict entire families and businesses for his project.

Approximately 1,000 men, women and children would be displaced if the stadium plans go through (we know the number because we counted - door to door). In addition to families being removed, blocks may be closed to accommodate the stadium separating Fort Greene and Clinton Hill from the Prospect Heights community.

The junction of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues is currently congested with traffic, and adding a stadium and 17 skyscrapers would only serve to worsen traffic conditions in a dense residential community. The massive influx of automobile traffic would tie up a main artery and create the biggest parking lot in the heart of downtown Brooklyn.

Imagine 23,000 more cars - that's nearly 1,000 more an hour - and many more children with asthma.


The biggest gamble in all of this is the method of financing the stadium.

Recently, Ratner claimed that all he wanted in exchange for this project is for New York City to kick back some of the sales and income taxes to pay off loans that he had to borrow for the project. It was reported that the total bill for the stadium and surrounding commercial, office and residential development is being estimated at $2.5 billion (not including the $300 million that he would pay for the Nets).

This project will rely upon the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Tax Increment Financing is one of the fastest growing development subsidies in the country, and it diverts future property, sales and income taxes in a designated district until a developer can pay off the costs of the project. It is just another name for corporate welfare.

Bruce Ratner's past is prologue to his future. His Atlantic Center Mall, which is directly across the street from the proposed stadium, is shrouded in a cloud of controversy. It has not resulted in any appreciable benefits to the community and has a 23-year property tax abatement with a disastrous private commercial rental history.

Not only will this be bad for Brooklyn, but for all of New York.

An Independent Budget Office report on the public financing of professional stadiums concluded that dedicating taxes for huge construction projects like this ties up a significant portion of the city's revenues, and often competes with funding for other city needs like schools, police, housing, playgrounds, and sanitation.

I was elected to protect and preserve working families, to create more affordable housing and employment opportunities, and to devise economic plans that involve and respect the character of local communities. I support development of this site, but development that make sense. We need projects that will generate revenue for the area and leave the Prospect Heights community intact.

We do not need to look like an imitation of Manhattan. We stand uniquely and proudly as Brooklynites.

Letitia James represents the district 35 neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and North Crown Heights in the New York City Council

January 20th, 2004, 06:43 PM

Netting The Nets

by Marty Markowitz
January 19, 2004


Since the announcement of the proposed Nets arena plan there has been tremendous enthusiasm generated throughout Brooklyn. I continue to believe more than ever that bringing world-class professional sports and a world-class arena to Brooklyn would tremendously benefit our borough, by boosting our profile around the nation and the world, by enhancing pride in Brooklyn, and by creating desperately needed economic development, jobs and affordable and middle-income housing for the Brooklynites who need them.

I am well aware of negative comments by some who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed project. I know there are real concerns that must be addressed - and they will be. Netting the Nets must be a win-win for all of us who call Brooklyn home, and any project of this scale must have real community involvement to be successful.

The plan as presented so far is not perfect nor is it final.

That's why if the Nets are purchased and their move to Brooklyn is approved, I will be working with the community on a variety of issues, such as parking, traffic, and city services that must be addressed for this project to work.

But in my opinion the benefits of this project for all of Brooklyn greatly outweigh the arguments against it.


Unfortunately, some of these comments in opposition are misleading, and others are simply less than accurate.

For example, referring to "20,000 extra cars," as if each and every man, woman and child would drive their own car to the game! Come on now, the reason why an arena works at this location is precisely because cars are not needed to access it.

Common sense, good urban planning, and care for the environment would tell you that the arena must be located where visitors have the best access by mass transit, and this location is Brooklyn's best for public transportation, with nine subway lines, four bus lines and the Long Island Rail Road all meeting there.

The irony is that if land were available to put an arena in another area of Brooklyn, as some have suggested, it would definitely result in the use of cars almost exclusively!


Of course nothing would make me happier than if this project didn't take a single home or business, and I have urged flexibility in the plan to limit such action if possible. However, much of this project would be constructed almost completely over empty land - yes, empty space - over the Long Island Rail Road Tracks tracks, which is not exactly one of the garden spots in Brooklyn.

The project will also create a real wealth of jobs: from construction on the project, to working in the offices and retail stores, and the boost to local businesses who will sell to both tourists and new residents, all on top of the jobs working in the arena and the ancillary businesses (sound and light technicians maintenance, catering, cleaning, etc) at the arena itself and for specific events held there.

In fact, Andrew Zimbalist, one of America's leading opponents to urban stadiums and ballparks is a consultant on this project, and he supports it fully. We have learned from the past mistakes of new facilities - there is a right way and a wrong way to build.

And with a design by the world's leading architect, Frank Gehry, I am confident this will be an attraction and a landmark that will make us all proud.

The public's investment in the proposed arena would be rather modest for a project of this magnitude. The benefits and amenities it would provide - social and economic, short- and long-term - would be the most significant project accomplished in Brooklyn in decades, especially when you factor in the overwhelming demand in Brooklyn for affordable housing and jobs.


It comes down to this. I believe very strongly that all of Brooklyn would benefit from the return of national sports to our borough; an arena for world-class attractions and high school and college athletics; the construction of affordable and middle income housing, which is the number one need in every survey of Brooklyn residents; the development of office space for more employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for residents; and the tremendous number of jobs and economic activity that would result on Atlantic Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue, Washington Avenue, and beyond.

I am confident that a national basketball franchise in Brooklyn will immediately become one of the country's best-loved teams.

As a result, this would draw new visitors to our borough and be a huge boost to Brooklyn's growing tourism industry. Brooklyn's need for an arena is perhaps just as important. Currently, we lack a large multi-purpose indoor space.

So in addition to a home for the Nets, an arena would allow Brooklyn to host college and high-school athletic events, graduations, trade shows, concerts, the kennel show, Ice Capades, conventions and numerous other events that we currently miss out on and that Brooklynites are forced to go to New Jersey, Long Island or even Manhattan to attend.

For all of these reasons and many more, I am an enthusiastic supporter.

At the same time, I understand the concerns, and on issues such as traffic and parking, they are real and need to be reviewed by experts with the participation of our community. Sadly, thus far the cry from some has not been "let's make this work," but rather, "let's stop this project totally."

Fortunately we live in a democracy that celebrates different opinions and encourages public debate. I look forward to such a debate and am confident that a successful win-win will result for the immediate neighborhood and for all of Brooklyn and New York City. I believe we can have both: an arena and a better neighborhood.

We can elevate Brooklyn to the national stage while enhancing the neighborhoods we love.

Marty Markowitz is the Brooklyn Borough President

January 20th, 2004, 06:49 PM
Unfortunately, some of these comments in opposition are misleading, and others are simply less than accurate.

For example, referring to "20,000 extra cars," as if each and every man, woman and child would drive their own car to the game! Come on now, the reason why an arena works at this location is precisely because cars are not needed to access it.

Common sense, good urban planning, and care for the environment would tell you that the arena must be located where visitors have the best access by mass transit, and this location is Brooklyn's best for public transportation, with nine subway lines, four bus lines and the Long Island Rail Road all meeting there.

The irony is that if land were available to put an arena in another area of Brooklyn, as some have suggested, it would definitely result in the use of cars almost exclusively!

Exactly. Its not even debatable anymore. The pros far outweigh the cons. Marty for president!

January 20th, 2004, 08:44 PM
But he thinks he already holds the highest possible office in the universe.

January 20th, 2004, 08:47 PM
He's super enthusiastic and quite a character, he doesn't really have much power though. But his persistence is enough to make anyone go crazy... and give in to his will, hehe.

January 20th, 2004, 08:48 PM
Admit it Gulcrapek, you're Marty Markowitz posting in disguise...

January 20th, 2004, 08:59 PM
A Brooklyn stereotype, like Buddy Hackett or William Bendix.

January 20th, 2004, 09:23 PM
He has Brooklyn in his blood, that's for sure.

He's one of those old time New Yorkers that would say something like "Brooklyn is its own state". Who else would propose a highway sign "Leaving Brooklyn, Oy Vey!"?

January 20th, 2004, 11:59 PM
January 21, 2004

Bidding for the Nets Is Down to the Wire


Bruce C. Ratner and Charles Kushner raised their bids modestly yesterday in their competition to buy the Nets, and officials involved in the negotiations said the process was moving rapidly toward a conclusion that could come as early as today.

Ratner wants to move the team to downtown Brooklyn, and Kushner's intent is to keep the Nets playing in New Jersey. It was not known how far beyond $300 million Ratner ventured, or how much more than his longstanding $267.5 million bid Kushner went.

Two officials involved in the negotiations said Kushner's new offer was two-tiered: for an all-cash purchase, the officials said, he raised his bid by a small amount, and for one that would include a longer payout to the sellers, he raised the gross amount by a somewhat larger figure. Officials provided no specifics for Ratner's increased bid.

A spokesman for Kushner, Bob Sommer, said, "Charlie had productive discussions today with Nets ownership and investment bankers, and remains confident that his aggressive pursuit of the Nets will be successful."

Kushner may be hoping that he has gone high enough to match a reduction in the actual value of Ratner's bid based on factors like projected losses during the years the Nets would still play at Continental Arena before the Brooklyn arena would be built. During that lame-duck period, it is expected that attendance and revenues would decline because many New Jersey fans would be unhappy about the pending relocation.

Although the bidding process may be close to ending after four months, Edwin Stier, president of Community Youth Organization, the owner of the Nets, said last night that it was not over. "We're talking to all of the prospective purchasers and are trying to refine all their proposals to the point where we can make a decision," he said.

The victorious bid will require approval from C.Y.O. and YankeeNets, the holding company that has voted to dissolve the teams' partnership.

Kushner, a Florham Park, N.J., real estate developer, whose primary partner is Senator Jon S. Corzine, is negotiating a financing deal with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the arena's landlord, that would pay for up to $150 million in renovations to the aging Continental Arena, including 1,900 club seats and additional luxury boxes.

If Kushner were to get the team, his bid would still need the approval of three-quarters of the N.B.A.'s teams, or 22 votes.

Ratner, whose partners include the hip-hop entrepreneur Jay-Z, would need the same three-quarters approval from the N.B.A. to own the team, but he would also need an absolute majority to move it.

He has numerous hurdles to overcome before he can build his $2.5 billion commercial and residential complex, of which the arena would be the centerpiece, in downtown Brooklyn. The league would defer voting on moving the team until Ratner has all the city and state approvals to build the arena. By the time Ratner can build the complex, the addition of the Charlotte Bobcats, an expansion franchise that begins play next season, will almost certainly require positive votes from 16 of 30 owners.

Even moves within a market — like the Washington Wizards' shift from suburban Landover, Md., to downtown Washington — require the N.B.A.'s approval. A move from East Rutherford to Brooklyn, while not very far in distance, is a transfer between states that would bring the Nets closer to the Knicks. The potential move has prompted opposition from community groups in the areas around where Ratner would build. It also evokes the possible return of a major league team to the borough for the first time since the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn in 1957 for Los Angeles.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 21st, 2004, 12:05 AM
January 21, 2004


If Stern Is Rooting, It Must Be for Brooklyn


A model of the downtown Brooklyn complex, designed by the architect Frank Gehry, that the leading bidder for the Nets, Bruce C. Ratner, hopes to build for the team.

IF ever there was a telltale sign of what it means to be the New Jersey Nets, it has come these last few weeks, from the moment Isiah Thomas became the Knicks' new head chef and began making chicken salad at Madison Square Garden. Remember that storm between Jason Kidd and Byron Scott? Alonzo Mourning's brave struggle for survival? The fluid, slick-passing team that has been to the finals two years running?

No, you don't, because the Knicks have been making news, on a roll, all the way to within five games of .500 and to a share of the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

"The Knicks win three in a row and the whole city is rocking," the N.B.A. commissioner, David Stern, said yesterday. "The New York Times, The Daily News — that's all anyone is talking about."

The defending conference champion and first-place Nets? They have virtually disappeared from the metropolitan area sports consciousness. They have become an athletic afterthought, a business-transaction-in-waiting. Don't think that Stern hasn't noticed, that he isn't relieved the wait on the sale of the Nets will soon be over and that the buyer is expected to be Bruce C. Ratner, who intends to move the team to Brooklyn.

Years ago, Stern and his people grew weary of looking out the window of Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue and seeing plenty of good parking available at Continental Arena across the Hudson. The league knows this won't change until the Nets are of sound structure and smart location, as opposed to where they have long been mired, in one ownership tug of war after another in the middle of a swamp.

"For us it's a New York metro-area team, and during the course of the negotiations we have adjusted to the notion that it might stay where it is, move to Newark, Brooklyn or Long Island," Stern said on his way out of the country yesterday, in a necessary show of neutrality.

That doesn't mean Stern hasn't been sitting in the front row, rooting like Spike Lee for his favorite Nets bidder, and getting a word in edgewise, as the commissioner whose league ultimately has to approve any deal. Without his public endorsement but by process of elimination, it wasn't too difficult to imagine Stern in a blue cap with an embroidered B chanting: "Give me an R, an A, a T, an N, an E, an R."

What does that spell? Goodbye, New Jersey.

For one thing, Long Island, in the person of Charles Wang, dropped out weeks ago, after the much-discussed Newark arena was already derailed. Even on the drawing board, the league never did view Newark as a slam-dunk site.

"Over time, they had persuaded us that in the development of the city it could be a great place for an N.B.A. and N.H.L. arena," Stern said. "We had no reason but to embrace it."

Especially when the alternative was the half-empty parking lot in East Rutherford.

For years, it was argued that the only thing preventing large numbers of fans from attending pro basketball games at the Meadowlands was the lack of pro basketball games. Then Rod Thorn built an entertaining conference power and now the explanations are that there are no dining options within walking distance and no practical public transportation and the tickets are too pricey for a suburban family crowd.

A graduate of Teaneck High School and Rutgers, Stern may be the last N.B.A. official who would want to weaken New Jersey's already fragile identity. Business is business, though. Lewis Katz, a current Nets owner, a South Jersey guy, once stood on a stage in a Newark high school auditorium alongside President Bill Clinton and promised the city a percentage of the Nets' profits as a matter of civic duty. At last report, Katz was pushing hard for Ratner — whom he wants to partner up with — over Charles Kushner's bid to keep the team in New Jersey.

Stern admitted that the mention of Brooklyn as the Nets' landing sight "sounded odd at first" and that "the average Manhattanite thinks you need a passport to go there." But he knows that if Brooklyn were a city, its nearly 2.5 million people would make it the fourth-largest one in the country. He knows about all those young working professionals with disposable income in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, and on the gentrified blocks of Williamsburg and Fort Greene.

A downtown Brooklyn arena with subway access to die for is years away and bound to be contested by businesses and residents who stand to be displaced. But the argument that New Jersey fans will disconnect from a lame-duck Nets team presumes those fans to have an emotional connection in the first place. Isn't it possible that the same suburban dads will buckle the kids into the wagon and drive off to see Kidd and Kenyon Martin before all pro games within driving distance require passage through the Lincoln Tunnel?

Stern has always scoffed at the notion that the N.B.A. needs contenders in New York to thrive nationally. Then again: "It never hurts to have strong teams in the largest media market because many attitudes are shaped there," he said. "You go to Sports Illustrated, The Times, The Post and they all want to know: `What's up with the Knicks?' "

Plenty, lately. Meanwhile, the Nets are about to be sold for approximately $300 million, a staggering sum for a failing New Jersey franchise with so little curb appeal. When New York City drives the market, even the Nets can become chicken salad to go.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 21st, 2004, 10:15 AM

Mayor: Nets Are Worth It
Says uprooted locals will be fine

By Glenn Thrush and Pete Bowles
January 21, 2004

Mayor Michael Bloomberg played defense yesterday in supporting a proposal to bring the New Jersey Nets to a massive arena in Downtown Brooklyn.

Met with complaints that the project would force the relocation of a number of residents, Bloomberg told a boisterous group of senior citizens that the displaced people would probably "get a lot of money" for their troubles.

"How do I stand? I think it will be good for Brooklyn," Bloomberg said of Bruce Ratner's $300-million bid for the Nets and his proposal to build a $2.5-billion residential and office complex - including a sports arena - at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

Ratner wants to move the Nets to a $435-million, 19,000-seat glass-walled arena over the Long Island Rail Road yards. The project would require the condemnation of about 70 buildings on six blocks around the site.

"It's about 100 units of housing and it's about 50 on another piece of property," Bloomberg said when asked about the proposed relocations by members of the Eileen Dugan Senior Center in Carroll Gardens.

"The commitment would be to build about 4,400 units of housing on the same property so the amount of units you get is dramatically more," he told the luncheon meeting.

The mayor said Ratner had proved his generosity to displaced residents during his development of MetroTech Center, a massive Downtown Brooklyn office complex he built in the 1990s.

"This developer had a pretty good reputation when he built MetroTech," Bloomberg said. "I think most of the people were very happy. He gave everybody a lot of money and got them better housing."

Ratner's proposed complex - which hinges on his acquisition of the Nets - has drawn outrage from many of the people who moved into what was a rough neighborhood 10 to 20 years ago and made improvements to their properties.

The Prospect Heights Action Coalition, which has opposed the plan since August, has threatened court fights to block the proposed move, which would use eminent domain to acquire the property.

Ratner is vying for the Nets against a New Jersey group headed by Charles Kushner, a developer, and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.). Kushner has offered $267.5 million for the team and has suggested he may raise his bid.

January 21st, 2004, 09:21 PM
Just saw Marty on TV. He was holding a cap that said Brooklyn Basketball, and said he wanted to change it to Brooklyn Nets. When asked about the tension of waiting for the outcome of the sale, he said:

"I've got shpilkes!"

January 21st, 2004, 10:16 PM
Markowitz is now celebrating. The Nets are coming to Brooklyn!

January 21st, 2004, 11:52 PM
January 22, 2004

Nets Are Sold for $300 Million, and Dream Grows in Brooklyn


Bruce C. Ratner, the developer who wants to move the New Jersey Nets to downtown Brooklyn, reached an agreement yesterday to buy the team for $300 million, defeating a similar offer by Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine, the team said.

There is no guarantee that Mr. Ratner will be able to fulfill his vision in Brooklyn, where sports fans are still haunted by memories of the Dodgers' departure to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. The arena would be built on the same site the Dodgers were rebuffed from buying in 1957.

Mr. Ratner faces numerous obstacles — including having land condemned and having railroad tracks moved — before he can move the Nets to Brooklyn when the team's lease at Continental Arena expires in 2008.

But the first step is complete in building the $2.5 billion commercial and residential complex, of which the Nets' arena would be the centerpiece: the purchase of the team. Without the team, Mr. Ratner has said, the project would be dead.

Edwin Stier, president of the Nets' ownership group, Community Youth Organization, said: "We're in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with Bruce Ratner. The contract terms have been finalized and we're putting the paperwork together."

For most of the past week, Mr. Ratner and Mr. Kushner were able to examine long-withheld and detailed financial records about the team, allowing them to form substantial, final bids.

On Monday, Ratner formalized his month-old $300 million bid and negotiators began to clarify the elements of his offer, including the long-term salary obligations he would assume.

On Tuesday, Mr. Kushner presented two offers: one, of $267.5 million in cash, and a second, consisting of $200 million up front and $100 million over several years, one official involved in the negotiations said. But that was considered inadequate and the decision was made to finalize the deal with Ratner.

Despite Mr. Kushner's willingness yesterday to raise his offer to $300 million up front, the Nets and their negotiators decided that they had finished their contract with Mr. Ratner and chose not to consider Mr. Kushner's final bid.

"He just wasn't there," one executive who has been briefed throughout the talks said of Mr. Kushner. "Ratner wanted this thing so bad, he did what it took to get it."

Bob Sommer, a spokesman for Mr. Kushner, a Florham Park, N.J., real estate developer, said, "Charlie Kushner bid $300 million in cash today to keep this team in New Jersey and is disappointed in the result."

The C.Y.O. board agreed to the terms of the deal, and the contract now goes for approval tomorrow to YankeeNets, the holding company for the Nets and Yankees, which is on the verge of being dissolved. Mr. Ratner also needs approval from three-quarters of the teams in the National Basketball Association to buy the team and a simple majority to move it.

Assuming that Ratner brings the team to Brooklyn, it would mean another move for the peripatetic franchise. It began life as the New Jersey Americans of the American Basketball Association in Teaneck, N.J., then played in Commack, Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Piscataway, and finally found permanance in 1981 when it became a tenant of what is now called the Continental Arena.

The team's value has exploded since Roy Boe paid $1.1 million for the A.B.A. franchise. At $300 million, the price represents a doubling from what C.Y.O., led by Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz, paid for it in 1998 a year before they merged with the Yankees into YankeeNets. But it ranks behing the record $360 million that was paid in 2002 for the Boston Celtics.

The sale to Mr. Ratner culminates a six-month process. First there were three bidders: Mr. Ratner, who started at $275 million; the Kushner group, which includes Mr. Corzine, the United States senator from New Jersey, and which opened at $250 million; and Charles B. Wang, the co-owner of the Islanders, at $265 million. They were later joined by Stuart Feldman, a venture capitalist who never publicly discussed his $257.5 million offer or his intentions for the team. Mr. Wang dropped out in frustration with the process, and Mr. Feldman was never a serious competitor.

"It took so long because the personality clashes at YankeeNets created an untenable situation," said Joseph Ravitch, a managing director of Goldman Sachs, one of the team's investment bankers. "The agreement reached in December to separate C.Y.O. from Yankee Holdings was a critical step in expediting the sale of the team."

Community Youth Organization bought the Nets with the idea of moving the team to Newark to help revive its economy. Mr. Katz and Mr. Chambers pledged to pour the profits into a newly formed charity. But the team lost tens of millions of dollars and failed to complete a deal for an arena in Newark, leading to a split between Mr. Chambers and Mr. Katz, and ultimately the decision to sell.

The effort to sell the Nets has been marked by recriminations between owners of the Yankees and the Nets, as well as among Nets owners themselves. In recent weeks, according to a Nets shareholder and New Jersey officials, Mr. Katz and Alan Landis, two Nets owners who have promoted the deal with Mr. Ratner, came to be regarded as traitors to New Jersey, the state in which they both live.

Earlier this week, George Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns Continental Arena, vowed to block the new owner from taking the Nets name to Brooklyn.

"We think a lot of N.B.A. owners are going to want to be in this market," he said. "I suggest Ratner name the team after himself: the Brooklyn Rats. Katz and Landis will fit right in."

In the final stages of their partnership, Nets owners refused to provide bidders with access to the necessary financial information to assess the team's value until they were assured last month that YankeeNets would adopt a plan to dissolve, one of the officials involved in the neogotiation said.

The Ratner group has been trying to create a proposal that would encounter aerodynamic resistance from government officials and community opponents. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been an enthusiastic supporter of the project, but the administration of Gov. George E. Pataki has been been relatively quiet.

A top state official said that the governor did not want to be accused of poaching on New Jersey assets and was concerned about the growing list of sports teams seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies for new arenas and stadiums, including the Jets, the Yankees, the Mets, the Knicks and the Rangers.

Mr. Ratner, 58, needs the state to condemn 21 acres on which he would build the arena, 4 office towers and 4,500 apartments. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority would have to move 11 tracks that crisscross the Long Island Rail Road's three-block-long Vanderbilt yard where Mr. Ratner plans to erect the glass-sheathed arena at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. And the project must go through public hearings and stringent environmental reviews.

Mr. Ratner has also talked to state and city officials about their doing $150 million in work on roads, sewers and utilities, and moving tracks currently at the rail yard. Mr. Ratner has also asked the state and the city to commit to using about $28 million a year in sales and income taxes generated by the project to help pay for the yearly interest on the bonds for the arena.

The project has been embraced by many Brooklyn politicians as the antidote to the loss of the Dodgers and the crystallization of the borough's economic comeback.

Patti Hagan, a leader of the Prospect Park Heights Coalition, said Mr. Ratner's project would require the demolition of homes for 864 people and 237 jobs.

"This is an example of developer imperialism," Mr. Hagan said. "The emperor has decided to take over 10 acres of private property and abolish all the jobs and homes that exist here. Mr. Ratner should know he has a fight on his hands. We will not give up or go away."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 22nd, 2004, 12:05 AM
January 22, 2004


From Texas, Nets See New Landscape


SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 21 — The Nets team that took the court against the Spurs on Wednesday night for a rematch of the N.B.A. finals is much the same as the one that could open a new arena and a new era in Brooklyn.

In an age when most professional sports teams recycle their superstars annually, the Nets appear built to last. There is plenty of construction to be done in Brooklyn over the next few years, but the two-time Eastern Conference champion Nets should not need to be part of the rebuilding effort.

From his new courtside seat, Bruce C. Ratner will be able watch Kenyon Martin bully aside opponents, Jason Kidd make no-look passes and Richard Jefferson finish reverse jams. For all the flux surrounding the Nets, those constants can remain.

Kidd signed a six-year contract over the summer that will take him through his 35th birthday. Martin is a restricted free agent after this season, but the Nets can match any offer made to him, and probably will. Richard Jefferson can become a restricted free agent after next season, but many within the organization want to make him a centerpiece.

Because the Nets have been to the finals in the past two years, they are often confused for a grizzled group of veterans. But Martin is only in his fourth season, Jefferson is in his third season and so is Jason Collins, the serviceable starting center.

"I don't know when we'd move to Brooklyn, and as far as the long term, anything can happen," Collins said. "But the way it stands right now, the future looks good."

The immediate future could be cloudier. Although the Nets are under contract with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority at the Meadowlands, they already rank second to last in the league in attendance. Since the Nets will be viewed as relatively short-term tenants, attendance could dip further.

"I think people that support us now will continue to support us," Brian Scalabrine said. "They realize we put on a good show. They are Nets fans, and they will be Nets' fans regardless. You just hope we can continue to get that support. Or maybe it will give them another excuse not to come. We've already heard them all."

Most players said they wanted to remain in New Jersey, mostly so they would not have longer commutes. But they also look forward to the possibility of a new arena. When the Nets travel around the league, they see the plush locker rooms and five-star facilities enjoyed by other teams. They are jealous.

"You go to Dallas and you feel like there's so much more energy," Scalabrine said. "Their sound system and their TV screen is so clear. Our overhead is sometimes hard to see. The atmosphere in a place like Dallas is so electric. Hopefully, we get to that point."

No one uncorked Champagne in the locker room Wednesday night, but relief was starting to spread. Although players insist they were not troubled by the uncertain ownership situation, Coach Byron Scott suggested that distractions trickled down from the front office to the floor.

The Nets, either as a result or a coincidence, have fallen short of expectations this season. They lead the anemic Atlantic Division but trail Indiana, Detroit and New Orleans in the Eastern Conference, which they were supposed to dominate. The Nets have been looking forward to the completion of a deal so they can stop answering questions about the sale and start planning their future.

"Most of the guys have kept it to themselves," Scott said. "But families are asking, wives are asking what's going on, because it affects everybody. It's affects your family and where you're going to live."

It might affect Scott more than anyone else in the organization. Two weeks ago, he joked that "no one in this room" will be around when the team moves to Brooklyn. Scott is in the final year of his contract, and a new owner will certainly play an integral role in deciding his status.

Anything can happen in an ownership change, but Rod Thorn, the team president, would seem safe. He is the one who drafted Martin in 2000, traded for Kidd in 2001 and then pulled a draft-day deal for Jefferson and Collins. That core should lead the Nets through an awkward period and into Brooklyn.

"If we are a lame duck, it will be interesting," Thorn said. "We've got a lot of games to play. Guys get hurt, things happen over the course of a few years. But we obviously have some young players here and we hope they continue to grow."


A Possible Challenge to Knicks' Supremacy


The Nets have long been jokingly referred to as the Clippers East, signifying their similarities to the downtrodden Los Angeles Clippers franchise that plays second fiddle — on its best days — to the Los Angeles Lakers.

But after distancing themselves from the Clippers performance-wise by reaching the N.B.A. finals the past two seasons, the Nets, who are on track to move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, may now be in position to rid themselves of their unflattering comparison to the Clippers altogether.

The Clippers have never been able to challenge the Lakers for the heart of Los Angeles because they have always had poor teams. But the Nets are superior to the Knicks, and if that remains true when they relocate to Brooklyn, they may put the city's dedication to the Knicks to the test.

The Washington Wizards' general manager, Ernie Grunfeld, who spent 17 years with the Knicks as a player, assistant coach and executive, disputes that notion, saying the Nets will never displace the Knicks as New York's top team.

"I don't think it will affect the Knicks adversely, if it happens," said Grunfeld, who grew up in Queens. "The Knicks are New York's team and always will be."

The Knicks would not discuss the impending move of their new neighbors and only issued a statement through their spokesman, Barry Watkins: "We don't comment about business matters regarding other N.B.A. teams."

The N.B.A. would not comment last night because the sale had not yet been officially announced. But the league has always considered the Knicks and the Nets to be in the same arket because they are within a 75-mile radius of each other.

The Knicks' recent resurgence under their new president, Isiah Thomas, and their new star, Stephon Marbury, a former Net, would seem to bode well for the Knicks now that a top-flight team is invading their turf. But even that might not come into play when the Nets finally move to Brooklyn in three or four years because both teams could be radically different.

Jason Kidd will be 34 years old in 2007. Will he still run the floor as he does today? Will he even have his relay partners Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson still at his side then? If so, perhaps the Nets can one day challenge the Knicks' position as the Lakers East.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 22nd, 2004, 12:22 AM
January 22, 2004


Confronting a Big Loss, a State Just Shrugs


As bidders in two states jockeyed over the fate of the New Jersey Nets, the basketball team's fans were mostly cool to indifferent — a little like they were during the team's entire tenure in the state, where attendance at its games was, even in the best of times, lagging.

To be sure, there were a few staunch fans who lamented the team's possible move to Brooklyn after its sale late yesterday to the developer Bruce C. Ratner.

"It's so depressing," said Shawn Belschwender, 38, an illustrator who helps direct the JoeNetsfan.com Web site. "New Jersey doesn't have anything," he said, nodding only grudgingly to the Devils, who won the Stanley Cup last season.

The Giants and the Jets, who play in the Meadowlands, have chosen to be identified with New York. It seems, Belschwender said, that living in New Jersey means never having anything to call your own.

But many more New Jerseyans were like John Tarro, 45, who shrugged when told of the team's sale and potential move. "It doesn't matter to me," said Tarro, a manager at a trucking company. "It's going to cut down on some of this traffic, that's what it's going to do."

The state's cool relationship with the team has hindered the nearly five-year effort to build an arena for the Nets and the Devils in Newark, the state's largest city.

At various times under three governors, the arena plan has advanced, stumbled and been reborn. Until last summer, when the team was put on the auction block, Newark seemed poised to use proceeds from a newly negotiated lease of Newark Liberty International Airport to help team owners finance a planned $375 million arena.

Some thought an arena in Newark might more firmly establish the teams with the state's residents.

"Part of the problem the Nets face lies in the lack of a Jersey identity," said Dr. Barry E. Truchil, a sociologist at Rider University, who added that he thought the Newark arena might have been a place "where over time, an identity with the team as a Jersey team would develop, and that over time could help foster a stronger Jersey identity."

Newark Mayor Sharpe James was in Washington at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a spokeswoman said, and unavailable to comment on the sale.

State Senator Richard J. Codey, the leader of the Democrats in New Jersey Senate, noted that it would be years before the team had a Brooklyn arena in which to play. In the meantime, the Nets were likely to continue playing at Continental Arena.

"If they have to stay there for years, think about the crowds," Codey said. "You could shoot a cannon off in there on game nights and no one would get hit."

Reinventing Nets, a Letter at a Time


Now that the New Jersey Nets may be headed to Brooklyn, the question inevitably arises: What will their nickname be?

People close to Bruce C. Ratner, the developer who reached an agreement yesterday to buy the team, have said that he has not focused on the matter of a name. And should he succeed in moving the team to Brooklyn, the borough-centric owner would most likely choose a moniker more fitting of the team's new home. In fact, plenty of suggestions were already being offered yesterday.

Granted, the Fuhgeddaboudits is an awkward name for a ball club. For one thing, it communicates a sighing resignation to inevitable failure. But people in Brooklyn yesterday were resolute in their dismissal of the team's current name. To them, keeping it would be like adopting a kitten and keeping the name used by the animal shelter.

"What is a Net, anyway?" Hamish Hamilton, 19, a student, said.

A Net, in the view of some Brooklyn residents, would simply not do given the city's illustrious sports history. Would you call a baseball team the Bats? New York players have always worn strong names with local references, like Knickerbocker, Globetrotter and Liberty. And of course, Dodger, which was said to stem from the characterization of Brooklynites as trolley dodgers.

"How about the Iconoclasts?" said Mike Menser, a philosophy professor at Brooklyn College, who was smoking a cigarette and carrying on two conversations at once.

Menser explained that his suggestion was meant to refer to the attempted overthrow of commonly held perceptions of Brooklyn as secondary to the island to the northwest.

"I think Brooklyn is generating more antipathy to Manhattan," he said. "We need to increase the rivalry."

Some people, like Gunnar Dessources, 24, a graduate student, were not even ready to accept the idea of moving the team, much less of contemplating a name.

"The Brooklyn Bridges," he said, adding a phrase that rendered impossible the publication of his complete remarks but adequately conveyed his distaste for the whole matter.

It was that first half of the name that mattered to Marty Markowitz, the relentlessly cheery and provincial borough president.

"The name Brooklyn, as long as that's in it, that's all I care about," Markowitz said, adding that he looks forward to a game pitting "the Brooklyn Whatever-They're-Calleds against the Manhattan Knicks."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 22nd, 2004, 01:33 AM
January 22, 2004

Fans in the City Feeling the Tug From a Rivalry


Perry McLaughlin, part-time student, longtime Knicks fan, 39-year-old Brooklyn resident, tried to absorb the news as he stood in front of New York City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn yesterday. The New Jersey Nets had been bought by a man determined to move them to Brooklyn.

There was a sense of celebration, yes, but of competing loyalties, too. But Mr. McLaughlin worked it out.

"I'm a Knicks follower," he said, "but I'm a Brooklyn man first."

Mr. McLaughlin's moment of soul-searching was lived out in many different ways across the borough yesterday, as word spread that the Brooklyn developer Bruce C. Ratner had bought the Nets for $300 million.

As the theoretical came closer to the real, the dreams come true forced hard reckonings.

There were the nostalgic, who were delighted at the prospect of a major league team in Brooklyn for the first time in some 50 years. There were youngsters who were excited. There were complex philosophical questions of rooting posed by the fact that while the Nets might be headed to the borough, some of Brooklyn's proudest hometown heroes, Lenny Wilkens and Stephon Marbury, are currently making good for the Knicks.

At Lincoln High School in Coney Island, alma mater of Marbury, the schoolyard legend, a custodian named Michael Guastella, 26, predicted: "There's going to be a major conflict of interest. There's Steph, but now you got a new kid on the block: the Eastern Conference champions. It's going to be a little weird now."

In sum, the quandary of the moment came down to this: The Nets are coming. Now what?

Mr. McLaughlin opined that the new team would bring jobs as well as respect to a borough that can always use more of both.

At this, his friend and former classmate Burshell Agaess shook his head. "Yeah, man, but the Nets?" Mr. Agaess, 22, said. Whether it was the New Jersey in front of the team's name or the expansion-team feel that still clings to the franchise, Mr. Agaess said he could not go there. He said he would continue rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Still, Mr. McLaughlin framed an imaginary marquee with his hands.

"It would be a great rivalry: `The Brooklyn Nets versus the New York Knicks,' " he said.

Mr. Agaess protested that his Lakers, at any rate, were winning. Mr. McLaughlin patted him on the head pityingly. "He has no pride," he said. "Once they win the championship, he'll try and ride on the bandwagon, and I'll kick him right off."

Of course, if and when Mr. Ratner clears all the financial and political hurdles in his way and builds the team a home — he seeks to erect a $435 million arena in the heart of Brooklyn — the Nets may no longer be the contending team they have been in recent years.

Mr. Wilkens, the former Boys High School player, may no longer be coaching the Knicks, and Mr. Marbury may be doing Geritol ads, or, for that matter, playing for the Lakers.

But the question will remain.

For some sports fans, the choice will be an easy one. Raymond Cameron, an electrician walking past the spot near Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues where Mr. Ratner wants to build the arena, was ecstatic at the prospect of having a local alternative to the recently hapless Knicks. "The Knicks are awful," he said. "I'm a Knick fan because I have to be. The Nets, they actually play basketball."

Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president and one of the loudest voices in support of Mr. Ratner's plans, has already started dismissively referring to New York's other N.B.A. team as the Manhattan Knicks. When told of Mr. Ratner's purchase, Mr. Markowitz declared Brooklyn's destiny completely fulfilled. "This might be the strawberries on the best cheesecake in America," he said.

Others said they would not even think of adopting a new favorite. "There's still only one true New York team," said Kevin Roberts, 18, a student at Benjamin Banneker High School in Clinton Hill. "That's the Knicks. I don't switch over on my teams. I watch other teams, but they don't mean anything to me."

Of course, there are plenty of people who oppose the venture, particularly those who stand to lose their homes or places of business if Mr. Ratner builds the arena he wants.

"Allegedly, we live in a country where we are allowed to pursue our dreams," said Nenefer Khaptah, 50, the owner of a holistic health center called Geb Hetep that potentially stands in the path of the wrecking ball. "Yet someone else's dream is being allowed to supersede ours."

Outside Brooklyn Technical High School, Jason Hargrove, 19, had a diplomatic, if unworkable, solution to the conflict over which team to root for. "They should put the two teams together and call it a day," he said. "They would have a better chance to get on top in the East."

His friend Jonathan Tricoche, 18, who welcomed the new franchise to Brooklyn but vowed not to forsake the Knicks, had one piece of advice for the new kids on the block.

"They better not lose if they come here," he said.

Ann Farmer, Jess Wisloski and Oren Yaniv contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 22nd, 2004, 01:35 AM
January 22, 2004


Brooklyn Crosses Bridge Back Into the Big Time


Fans protesting the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn in 1957.

UNTIL now, basketball in Brooklyn mostly meant schoolyard courts or the high school gyms where teenagers learned to shoot and pass, to dunk and defend. You could dream about playing for the Knicks at the Garden, but if you had big-time talent, you had to go away to a college out there in the sticks where you knew you would feel like a stranger.

Even if you went to a college close by, like St. John's over in Queens or Fordham up in the Bronx, you sometimes felt like a stranger.

Stephon Marbury, the Knicks' sudden savior out of Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, had to go to Georgia Tech before his earlier N.B.A. existence in Minnesota, New Jersey and Phoenix.

Lenny Wilkens, the new Knicks coach out of Boys High in Bedford-Stuyvesant, went to Providence College before his N.B.A. travels began.

Chris Mullin, out of Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, went to St. John's before he started hitting all those 3-pointers in the N.B.A.

But now, with the developer Bruce C. Ratner having purchased the Nets for $300 million and proposing to move this long-wandering franchise to an arena in a $2.5 billion commercial and residential project in downtown Brooklyn, the borough has a sports identity for the first time since the Dodgers departed for Los Angeles after the 1957 baseball season.

"It's eerie," Bernard King, one of Brooklyn's best athletes, was saying yesterday. "The arena site at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues has been sitting there waiting for this moment in time ever since Walter O'Malley wanted it for a Dodger ballpark that would have replaced Ebbets Field."

King, who was bused to Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge before going to the University of Tennessee, knows the neighborhood. Long before his 32.9-point average for the Knicks in the 1984-85 season led the N.B.A. in scoring, he grew up on North Oxford Street in the Fort Greene neighborhood with a basketball court on each side of his apartment house, about seven blocks from the proposed arena site.

"That's where I developed my love for basketball," he said. "That's where I honed my skills."

King, whose brother Albert played with the Nets, is an unpaid ambassador for Ratner's group.

"I want a professional arena in Brooklyn for kids to go to, to cheer for the team, to aspire to playing for the team," King said. "I'm doing it out of my love for Brooklyn, my love for basketball, my love for the neighborhood. In the winter, we used to scrape the snow off the courts to play no matter how cold it was."

As a teenager in the early 70's, King knew the names of Brooklyn's playground legends of previous years. "You heard all the names, but Connie Hawkins was the guy," he said. "The guy they called Hawk."

Hawkins, another Boys High product, who went to Iowa, is in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., along with Wilkens and Billy Cunningham, an Erasmus Hall graduate who went to North Carolina before being a three-time all-N.B.A. forward with the Philadelphia 76ers and later the coach of their 1983 championship team.

Other playground Brooklyn legends were World B. Free, who went to Guilford from Canarsie, and Fly Williams, who went to Austin Peay from James Madison. Frank Layden, the longtime coach of the Utah Jazz, went to Fort Hamilton.

Red Auerbach, who coached and assembled the Boston Celtics dynasty, grew up in Williamsburg, where his first court was on the P.S. 122 rooftop enclosed by wire — as many courts were then, prompting basketball players to be known as cagers. Auerbach was a 1935 graduate of Eastern District High School before going to George Washington in the nation's capital.

"My senior year I made second team all-Brooklyn," Auerbach, now 86, said over the phone from his Washington-area home. "When I told that to my Celtics team, they laughed, but I told them, `In Brooklyn we had more teams and better teams than the whole state of Indiana.' "

In the early 30's, St. John's, then in downtown Brooklyn, had its Wonder Five, with Matty Begovich and Mac Kinsbrunner. In the 1938-39 season, James Madison, with Fuzzy Levane, completed an undefeated season in winning the Public Schools Athletic League title. Their team photo is in the Naismith Hall of Fame.

"I think I might be the only guy in a team photo in the Hall of Fame on three levels," said Levane, later a Knicks coach and a longtime scout. "Madison, the St. John's team that won the 1943 National Invitation Tournament and the Rochester Royals that won the 1946 National Basketball League pro championship."

Before World War II, Long Island University, coached by Clair Bee and featuring Ossie Schectman, later an original Knick from Tilden High School, won the N.I.T. at the Garden in 1939 and 1941. St. John's, which then played mostly at the Garden but occasionally at its de Gray gym in downtown Brooklyn, also won the 1944 N.I.T. under Coach Joe Lapchick.

Brooklyn basketball was soon tarnished by the gambling scandals. In 1945, five Brooklyn College players admitted accepting bribes to lose to Akron in a Boston Garden game. In 1951, the nation's top-ranked team, L.I.U., starring Sherman White, was involved in the point-shaving scandals that also smudged City College, Manhattan, New York University, Kentucky and Bradley.

Despite the scandals, Brooklyn teenagers filled the schoolyard courts and the high school gyms. One of those teenagers, a left-hander at Lafayette High who could dunk, attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship before he signed as a pitcher with the Dodgers and departed with them to Los Angeles. You know him as Sandy Koufax.


A Rebirth in Brooklyn? Huh? Wha?


Contrary to popular belief, Brooklyn did not die when a rich man named Walter O'Malley took away the Dodgers after the 1957 baseball season.

Brooklyn is still there. From the edge of the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, gazing east, you can see a silhouette of towers, bridges, piers and steeples that would take your breath away if they suddenly loomed ahead of you on one of those endless flat American highways.

Brooklyn never went away, even when Reese and Furillo did. Brooklyn stayed, organically changing, sometimes through violence and poverty but always with the throb of life.

Nearly half a century later, Brooklyn may once again have a major league team. Last evening, a man named Bruce Ratner agreed to pay $300 million for the New Jersey Nets with the hope of moving them to Brooklyn in a few years.

This is no endorsement of Ratner or the subsidies he will surely seek to put up an arena in iffy downtown Brooklyn. Deferring tax dollars from the needy is a serious issue, not to be diluted by mawkish sentimentality from old Dodgers fans who have been having a temper tantrum since 1957.

But maybe, just maybe, Brooklyn will have a home team that will be worthy of this diverse and often beautiful borough. If the Nets make their move while Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd can still bounce around, the borough may have a latter-day imitator of the Boys of Summer, and that is no small thing.

Brooklyn has needed a team and the Nets have needed a home. They have roamed the earth from New Jersey to suburban Long Island and back to New Jersey, a team aching for a buzz.

Brooklyn retained the gloomy mystique of the borough that nurtured and lost Sandy Koufax; the Nets bear the dismal legend of a franchise that sent away Julius Erving.

The old Dodgers played in front of empty seats at Ebbets Field while the Nets have played in front of empty seats in the swamplands. The wisdom was that the Dodgers needed parking lots. Now the wisdom is that the Nets need a subway line. It has been insulting for New Jersey to place an urban sport beyond the reach of rail lines, almost as if it were done on purpose.

Downtown Brooklyn would definitely feel like the center of the universe to this migrant franchise. A subway stop or two away are Hasidic Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses, African-Americans and Hispanics, perhaps looking past each other but keeping the land fertile.

Now they have been followed by new waves of people with disposable income who have rehabbed old apartments and moved back into neighborhoods where you can graze for an ethnic meal and hear people speaking many languages.

A few years ago, I visited the public library in Bay Ridge to give a little talk. Half the signs in the neighborhood were in Arabic — doctors' signs, lawyers' signs — which is the way this city works, all five boroughs of it, always changing.

At the library, people remembered going to grade school with Duke Snider's child or shopping with Joan Hodges (who still lives in Brooklyn).

It being a warm evening in late spring, my first words were, "Don't you feel there should be a ballgame tonight?" Dozens of people of a certain age applauded my cheap, sentimental trick. The cheers told me Brooklyn lived.

Brooklyn is known as the borough of churches because of all the handsome steeples you can see from the B.Q.E. or the Prospect or the Gowanus. Now there are mosques and temples. I always think of Brooklyn as a holy borough, the way Iranians or Iraqis honor certain ancient spiritual sites.

What Brooklyn lacked was not energetic humanity but tangible signs of identity. The worst thing that ever happened to Brooklyn was being joined to the four other boroughs in 1898, thereby ensuring a second-rate status. Losing the Dodgers was only the second-worst thing.

Three years ago, the Wilpon family put a minor league baseball team out in Coney Island, courtesy of a great number of city dollars, thanks to Rudy Giuliani, the ball fan, who also put one in Staten Island for a Yankees farm team. I would not claim that the investment of city money was worth it, but the handsome new place in Coney Island does provide a place for Brooklynites and visitors to feel at home, to smell the sea breeze, to enjoy the bright lights after sundown.

Brooklyn draws people from all over. Watching a Saturday morning pickup soccer game in Brighton Beach a few years ago, I asked a Russian guy what he did for a living. "Just say I am in business," he said with a wink.

My wife and I love the Arab restaurants on Atlantic Avenue. I used to cover meetings at the Lubavitcher Center in Crown Heights, emerge on the sidewalk at 2 in the morning and talk to people from Brussels, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires.

Brooklyn did not die. Like America itself, it takes people in. Now it may be home to the wandering Nets. In the holy borough, there is healing to be done.

Can Former Indians Fan Be O'Malley's Avenger?


He could go down as the avenger of Walter O'Malley.

All right, partial avenger. It's impossible to imagine the treasonous Walter O'Malley ever being forgiven for transplanting the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. But by importing a New Jersey basketball team to the borough, Bruce C. Ratner, himself a childhood Cleveland Indians fan, could offer some mild retribution.

For the balding, bespectacled Ratner, though, the plan to bring pro basketball to Brooklyn has little to do with sports. He is in no sense a hyperventilating sports addict. He is described by friends as a casual sports fan. This is about development and it is about Brooklyn.

"When I first heard about the Nets, I thought it was amusing," said Mary Ann Tighe, president of CB Richard Ellis, the big commercial real estate broker based in Manhattan. "I have not known Bruce to be a basketball fan. But I knew Bruce would become a devoted basketball fan."

Like others who know him, she regards Ratner as the prototypical atypical New York real estate developer. "He's the opposite of everything you visualize when you think of New York real estate," she said. "He's a liberal Democrat, self-effacing. The non-Trump."

Ratner, whose company is also the development partner of The New York Times Company in a new building for the newspaper's headquarters, shuns publicity (he refused to be interviewed for this article), would never envision a Ratner Tower or a Ratner Plaza or a television show in which he gets to say smugly, "You're fired" every week. And though he builds in Manhattan and the other boroughs, he seems to prefer Brooklyn.

It might have something to do with growing up in an underdog city. He was born in Cleveland in 1945, part of the second generation of a prominent Cleveland real estate family. The Ratowczer family (the name was changed to Ratner) emigrated from Poland in 1920. A family lumberyard business built by Ratner's three uncles and an aunt grew into a national real estate enterprise, Forest City Enterprises, now publicly owned. Albert Ratner, Bruce Ratner's cousin, is its chairman.

As a child, Ratner rooted hard for the Cleveland Indians, who had some powerful teams. The Indians won the American League pennant in 1954. Ratner's idol was Larry Doby, Cleveland's slugging center fielder, who was the first black player in the American League.

Ratner went to Harvard and then to Columbia Law School, staying on in New York. Originally, his interest was neither in law nor real estate development but public service law. His first job out of school was as a lawyer for the Model Cities program in Queens. Next, he became the head of the city's consumer-protection division under Mayor John V. Lindsay. He taught law for four years at New York University Law School before being named commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs under Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1978.

Money — namely, its lack — became a worry. He was married with two young daughters. He quit government at the end of 1981, intent on fortifying his net worth in real estate development. In 1982, he formed the Forest City Ratner Companies, an affiliate of Forest City Enterprises.

There were likely places to develop and unlikely places. He gravitated to the unlikely: forgotten, malnourished areas, chiefly Brooklyn. He built One Pierrepont Plaza, an office building in Brooklyn Heights, and then the Metrotech office complex in downtown Brooklyn, major factors in raising the vitality of the area. His company is now based at Metrotech.

"The typical developer goes after the low-hanging fruit in Manhattan," said Michael Bailkin, who was a law partner of Ratner's after he left the Consumer Affairs job. "Bruce from the beginning tended to have a social mission as well as wanting to make money, which is why he concentrated on the other boroughs."

And so while he has built the Embassy Suites hotel in Battery Park City and the Hilton Times Square hotel, his projects spread across Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.

"My own experience with him is he's very smart, he's very dedicated to the city, he's a very reasonable person," Koch said.

He's also practiced in the art of political connections and deflecting community opposition and patience, essential traits in real estate development. "When he gets into something, he gets into it 100 percent," Bailkin said. "He's willing to stay with a project and go through all the pain and suffering to get a project done."

Ratner, who is divorced, lives on the Upper East Side. He has two daughters, Rebecca, who is involved in filmmaking in California, and Elizabeth, who is a reporter for The New York Observer.

A few years ago, Ratner even pondered what would have been total O'Malley vengeance. In 1997, he was one of six people appointed by Gov. George E. Pataki to look into bringing the Dodgers back to Brooklyn. They were for sale then. A good thought, of course, but that was dreaming.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 22nd, 2004, 04:11 AM

January 22nd, 2004, 04:32 AM
Oh, the irony: the Nets lose in the finals every year. How long before they're known as "dem Bums"?

January 22nd, 2004, 09:23 AM



January 22, 2004 -- The owners of the Nets agreed to sell the NBA team to real-estate developer Bruce Ratner, a team official said last night.

The team may be moved to Brooklyn as Ratner intends, but New Jersey state officials vow they'll fight to keep the team's name in the Garden State.

Ratner's bid was accepted over a rival offer from billionaire Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and developer Charles Kushner.

"We have a contract," said Edwin Stier, president of Community Youth Organization, which currently owns the Nets. No terms were disclosed.

But the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority said it would lobby the National Basketball Association to bar the team from being called the Brooklyn Nets.

"We'll ask to keep the name 'The New Jersey Nets,' so we can go out and get another team," said NJSEA President George Zoffinger.

"Ratner should name the team after himself," Zoffinger said. "I think the Brooklyn Rats has a nice ring to it."

Earlier this week, both sides reportedly raised their bids - Ratner from $300 million and Corzine/Kushner from $267.5 million.

Ratner wants to move the team to Brooklyn and build a Frank Gehry-designed, $500-million arena over the LIRR train yards at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Kushner would have kept the team in its Meadowlands home.

Ratner's side wasn't too impressed by Zoffinger's suggested team name.

"He's obviously having a bad day," said Joe DePlasco, a spokesman for Ratner.

Ratner would need approval for a name change from NBA team owners. But New Jersey's bid to retain the "Nets" moniker has prompted widespread speculation over the team's future name.

"It's got to have the name Brooklyn in it, and I assume it will probably wind up to be the Brooklyn Nets," said Mayor Bloomberg.

"Brooklyn Dodgers" is clearly the fan favorite, but considering how aggressively the Los Angeles Dodgers defend their supposed trademark, it probably would not be worth the hassle.


B'klyn one step closer to Nets


Yo, Brooklyn, it looks like you're getting a big-league basketball team.

The owners of the New Jersey Nets said yesterday they have agreed to sell the NBA club to city real estate developer Bruce Ratner, whose dream is to bring it to Kings County.

The deal hinges on approval by the board of YankeeNets LLC, the team's holding company, which is scheduled to meet tomorrow.

"We have a contract," declared Ed Stier, president of Community Youth Organization, which represents Nets ownership. "We reached final terms this afternoon after meetings in New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn and lots of back and forth by telephone."

Ratner declined to comment last night.

However, an insider said the Ratner camp is keeping mum rather than say anything that might jeopardize approval by the YankeeNets board.

Ratner reportedly bid about $300 million to buy the club from Lewis Katz, Ray Chambers and Finn Wentworth, who paid $150 million for it in 1998. Rap star Jay-Z is a minority investor in Ratner's bid.

Ratner beat out an offer of about $267.5 million by developer Charles Kushner and U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, who sought to keep the Nets in New Jersey.

The Brooklyn Nets would be the borough's first major-league sports team since the Dodgers took a powder in 1957.

"I'm overjoyed," said Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Although the contract brings Ratner's dream a step closer to reality, don't start lining up for tickets just yet.

The MetroTech developer can't write a check until the other NBA owners approve the sale and the move to Brooklyn. There have been rumblings the Knicks may lobby hard against the plan.

Ratner's ability to buy the team also hinges on his building an arena in downtown Brooklyn.

The city also would have to give Ratner the okay to build the proposed 20,000-seat arena. The Frank Gehry-designed stadium would be part of a $2.5 billion development that also includes Manhattan-sized office and residential towers.

If everything comes together, Ratner has said, construction on the stadium would begin next year and the arena would be ready for the 2006-07 season.

Some Brooklynites oppose the plan, especially relocating an undetermined number of families from the proposed site.

"He's got a hell of a fight on his hands here," Patti Hagan, leader of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, said last night.

January 22nd, 2004, 09:48 AM

January 22nd, 2004, 09:58 AM
Brooklyn draws people from all over. Watching a Saturday morning pickup soccer game in Brighton Beach

...or a Cricket match in Marine Park.

January 22nd, 2004, 11:19 AM
You notice they seem to move to a new area a few years after change of ownership?

January 22nd, 2004, 08:58 PM
THE DREAM HAS COME TRUE!!! Thank you Marty Markowitz and Bruce Ratner. Yesterday changed Brooklyn History!

January 22nd, 2004, 09:06 PM

NJ Nets Fans Say Good Riddance

January 22, 2004

NEWARK, N.J. -- Good riddance.

That was the overwhelming reaction of diehard New Jersey Nets fans to word that their team -- the lovable losers who only recently blossomed into championship contenders -- could soon be headed to Brooklyn.

New York developer Bruce Ratner reached an agreement Wednesday to buy the team for a reported $300 million. Ratner wants to move the team to Brooklyn, where it would play in a 19,000-seat arena he plans to build as part of a $2.5 billion office, residential and shopping complex within five years.

"I feel hurt, betrayed, angry," said Ed Marbach of Bridgewater, a front-row season ticket holder for 15 years, who punctuated his statement with a few choice expletives.

"Let 'em go," added Frank Capece, a Cranford lawyer who rooted for the team for more than two decades. "I've seen 495 losses over that time, and not nearly as many wins."

Half of his basement is filled with Nets memorabilia, including Kenyon Martin's rookie jersey, basketballs signed by Jason Kidd and the first pair of sneakers Keith Van Horn wore as a Net. Capece supported the frequently awful team through many lean seasons, including a few when they played in the Rutgers University gymnasium and were derisively nicknamed the "Piscataway Pets." Now that the Nets have made it to the NBA finals the past two seasons, the impending loss of the team to New York is a particularly bitter pill.

"Winning was a two-edged sword," Capece said. "It was wonderful. But on the other hand, there was never a warm, fuzzy relationship with the management." Marbach decried ever-rising ticket prices and the steady loss of fan amenities.

"There used to be someone assigned just to people who sat in the first two rows, to take care of them," he said. "They got rid of him. At halftime, there was someone who handed out stats to fans down front. They got rid of her.

"Ticket prices are through the roof," he said. "The first 25 rows are $150 a seat. That's $600 for a family of four to see a game. They think the people in Brooklyn are going to be able to afford that?"

The disconnect between the team and many New Jerseyans was under way long before word of the Brooklyn move surfaced. In 2002, when the Nets faced off against the Lakers in their first trip to the finals, and a proposal to build an arena for the Nets and Devils in Newark was being seriously considered, an informal survey by The Associated Press of fans in downtown Newark found more rooting for Los Angeles.

Nets fans also vented online about the pending move, with some on The Star-Ledger of Newark's Web site, NJ.com, decrying lukewarm fan support, and others urging loyalty to the team, even if it crosses the river. A fan using the name Newark said New Jersey hasn't supported the team enough.

"Team deserves big crowds and my beloved Jersey can't provide because we can't afford or are unwilling to pay the price," Newark wrote. "Don't hate. As long as they stay in the area, that's fine with me."

"Hopefully Brooklyn supports the team better than NJ does," added Net Fan. "At least they are not heading to Colorado."

There are almost always empty seats at the 20,049-seat Continental Airlines Arena for Nets games.

Attendance peaked in the 1997-98 season, when the team averaged 17,525 fans. It steadily declined until last year, when the per game average was 15,185, up from 13,761 the year before.

Some fear the new owners will purge the team of high-priced stars like Kidd, Martin and Richard Jefferson before moving to Brooklyn.

"I expect this team to go into the toilet over the next few years," a fan using the name Dc1 wrote on the NJ.com message board. "Imagine paying $82 million to Martin when they are facing tens of millions of dollars in losses per annum the next few years.

Good luck. Martin: Gone. RJ: Gone. Kidd: Traded. Welcome back to Clipperland."

"Don't go to the games," urged a fan called Tudzman. "I'm as a big a fan as anyone and if they're not going to be loyal to me, why should I support them for the next 3 years until they move? Screw them. I wish they pack up and leave now."

At a sporting goods store inside Newark's Gateway Center, a steady stream of customers sought cut-rate Nets gear.

"Yo, all the Nets stuff 80 percent off today?" one man asked.

No, he was told, but a Nets fleece top was marked down 20 percent. Store owner Alison Hender of Neptune, a season ticket holder for five years, said she's disappointed the Nets wouldn't be playing a block away.

"It would have been great if they came to Newark," she said.

"But I can't go to Brooklyn."

January 22nd, 2004, 11:35 PM
I don't think that article's from the Times.

It seems New Jersey couldn't compete with the "city comeback" movement. Its largest urban center's identity isn't strong enough.

January 23rd, 2004, 12:17 AM
It seems New Jersey couldn't compete with the "city comeback" movement.

NJ would not compete with the NY subsidies, NJ said no subsidies.

January 23rd, 2004, 03:20 AM
That's a first that it didn't offer up HUGE subsidies. Most of it's privately financed, anyway. NJ is too high on itself and thought they would have to stay in Jersey. No money = no Jersey. That goes for a lot of businesses, too.

January 23rd, 2004, 05:41 AM
January 23, 2004

Nets Sale Leaves State Looking for Alternatives


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Jan. 22 — New Jersey officials offered explanations Thursday as to why they thought the state lost the Nets to a buyer who plans to move them to Brooklyn. Although they didn't quite say "we wuz robbed," it was clearly what they felt.

George R. Zoffinger, the president and chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, all but uttered the 1932 phrase — immortalized by a disgruntled fight manager — as he criticized the decision by the Nets' owners Wednesday to sell the team to Bruce C. Ratner and not to a group led by the New Jersey developer Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine. The sports authority owns Continental Arena, where the Nets now play.

In a news conference at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, Zoffinger said good faith had been lacking in the final day of negotiations and that Lewis Katz, a key partner in the Nets' ownership group, stood to gain from the billions of dollars in real estate development that could grow out of a move to Brooklyn.

Katz did not return phone calls Thursday seeking reaction to Zoffinger's comments.

The proposed move could doom the nearly six-year-old effort to build a new home for the Nets and the Devils in Newark as part of that city's revitalization. Any new arena there now would presumably house only the Devils.

"The Brooklyn transaction was about real estate and not basketball, and we think that all along this thing was wired to go to Brooklyn," said Zoffinger, who appeared to take some solace in what he said was the uphill battle that New York politicians would face in getting a Brooklyn arena built.

"It made no difference what we did," he said.

But that said, Zoffinger did acknowledge that Gov. James E. McGreevey had made a "public policy decision" not to use state money to subsidize an effort to keep the Nets in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Zoffinger and others said that the move by the Nets ownership would require the state to reposition Continental Arena in the marketplace. He said that he was willing to work with the Nets' new owners to allow them to continue to play at the arena until their lease expires in 2008. But in the meantime, he said the 22-year-old Continental Arena would begin concentrating on attracting more concerts, circuses and ice shows and competing for the vast universe of trade shows.

The arena's attractiveness, he said, would only be enhanced by the planned construction of a $1.4 billion entertainment, office and hotel complex called Meadowlands Xanadu that is scheduled to be built on 106 acres adjacent to the arena. The economic activity of this development, said James Hughes, director of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, will dwarf the current level of activity in the Meadowlands generated by the teams now playing there.

Zoffinger said that the state agency currently loses $2 million a year because of the structure of the Nets' and Devils' leases at the arena and the dates that the teams monopolized. With the Nets eventually leaving, he said, Continental Arena will be free to attract a host of new events that would erase the $2 million loss.

But that kind of repositioning could be fatal to Newark's already sinking arena plan. For his part, Mayor Sharpe James of Newark said in a statement Thursday that he remained excited about proceeding with plans to build a $355 million arena in the city despite the state's loss of the Nets. Councilman Donald Tucker and others in Newark said that James was poised to announce next week that the city, along with the Devils, would still try to build the arena and financially bolster it by seeking to stage wrestling matches there along with N.C.A.A. basketball tournament games, concerts and auto and boat shows.

Zoffinger, who said he would seek to attract the same kind of events to Continental Arena, conceded that studies had shown that two arenas within 12 miles of each other vying for the same kinds of events would doom one or both to economic failure.

And Tucker said that James, despite his public optimism, might have to change course. He even suggested that James recognized this possibility as well because in the last few months, he has promoted a downtown "urban village" commercial and residential development that is designed to boost the city's population and take advantage of its proximity to public transportation and New York City.

One person who did talk positively Thursday of a new arena in Newark was Lou Lamoriello, the president and general manager of the Devils. Having a new arena all to themselves, he said, would help the Devils address the same kind of attendance problems that have plagued the Nets in New Jersey.

"This could be the perfect end to all of our problems," he said.

Through 23 home games, the Devils are averaging 14,497 fans at the 19,040-seat arena, which is not a particularly healthy figure for a team that has won three Stanley Cups in the last nine seasons.

But Lamoriello said he thought the Devils could do much better at the turnstiles if they played in an arena with better access to public transportation and were able to schedule more games on Fridays and Saturdays.

Because the Devils share an arena with the Nets, only two of the Devils' 41 home games are scheduled for Saturday nights this season. In contrast, the Islanders, who have Nassau Coliseum to themselves, are to play 12 home games on Saturday night.

Lamoriello also said that Continental Arena lacked the amenities that newer arenas possess and that he was skeptical that the Xanadu development would address the existing problems.

"It's something the Devils drastically need — a new facility," Lamoriello said.

The principal owners of the Devils are Katz and Raymond Chambers, who own 70 percent of the team, with other investors, through Puck Holdings. The other 30 percent is held by YankeeNets, which is to be dissolved at the end of this month.

Political Uncertainty and Voter Indifference After Sale


TRENTON, Jan. 22 - During the past year, as the New Jersey Nets' owners publicly threatened to move the team out of the state, Gov. James E. McGreevey insisted that New Jersey would be better off losing the franchise than spending tens of millions of tax dollars to keep it.

Now that the team's owners have agreed to sell to a group that intends to move it to downtown Brooklyn, Mr. McGreevey, a Democrat, will find out soon whether his economic calculation will have serious political fallout.

Articles about the Nets' impending departure dominated news coverage across the state on Thursday, and Republican leaders were quick to say Mr. McGreevey had botched the Nets transaction and "lost a professional sports franchise.''

Still, there were few signs of any widespread anguish about the plans for the Nets to move, and many political analysts said there was little to suggest that Mr. McGreevey would pay a steep price for losing a sports team. Since the 1970's and 80's, when New Jersey leaders tried to bolster the state's image by luring sports franchises from other communities, voters have grown wary of using tax money to underwrite any sports franchise, according to a variety of polls.

The state is facing its third consecutive budget squeeze and, since the state's homeowners carry the nation's highest property taxes, state officials felt they had little incentive to offer the kind of public money needed to keep the team. In fact, the Nets seemed to have become an afterthought among sports fans, and attracted sparse crowds in recent years even though they were the N.B.A. Eastern Conference champion the past two years.

"Bruce Springsteen and Tony Soprano have done more than anything to put New Jersey on the cultural map, but the Nets don't really seem to register,'' said Michael Alan Rockland, a Rutgers University professor who has written several books about New Jersey's image. "People feel better about New Jersey than they used to, they're comfortable with all its flaws, but for whatever reason, people never really bonded with the Nets.''

The sale of the Nets and the prospective move to Brooklyn occur at a time when New Jersey's budget problems and Mr. McGreevey's own miscues have left him with low approval ratings.

Losing the Nets also appears likely to strain his relationship with Democratic leaders in Essex County. In late 2001, as governor-elect, Mr. McGreevey asked the departing administration not to approve financing for an arena in downtown Newark, and pledged to prepare his own plan for a stadium.

Now the hope for a downtown Newark stadium is all but dead, but the governor said he was confident that middle-class taxpayers would be grateful that he did not use public funds to help those bidding against the group intent on the Brooklyn move. "If officials in New York commit to spending taxpayer dollars to build an arena for the benefit of team owners, that is their choice, but we will not play that game," he said in a written statement on Thursday. "I have different priorities and a greater responsibility to the people of New Jersey."

Republicans, whose opposition helped scuttle the plans for the publicly financed Newark stadium for the Nets and New Jersey Devils, still found fault with Mr. McGreevey over the loss of the team. State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr. said Mr. McGreevey's administration has harmed the state's business climate. State Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr. said the team's departure would hurt restaurants and other businesses that cater to Nets fans.

"If Governor McGreevey believes the loss of the Nets will not have a negative economic impact on the many small businesses and hardworking families in the Meadowlands region, he is sadly mistaken," said Mr. Kyrillos, state Republican chairman.

McGreevey administration officials and some independent analysts said that if the Xanadu office and entertainment complex is built adjacent to the Meadowlands as planned, it will generate more business activity, and tax revenue, than the Nets.

If the Meadowlands redevelopment falters, Mr. McGreevey could face a backlash from an electorate that still questions his decision-making. For now, though, according to Clifford Zukin, director of the Star-Ledger Eagleton poll, voters appear to be unconcerned.

"No elected official wants to be put in the position of losing a team or putting in lots of tax dollars," Mr. Zukin said. "But as far as playing a difficult hand, so far it looks like the governor has made the right decisions."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 23rd, 2004, 05:48 AM
January 23, 2004

Hoopla and Hope in Brooklyn

It sounds so sweet — the idea of bringing the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn, a borough that still winces at the betrayal by the Dodgers nearly half a century ago. The baseball team went west after it was denied a new field at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. If he gets his way, that's exactly where the developer Bruce Ratner will move the Nets, into a gleaming new arena designed by Frank Gehry. Brooklyn should be allowed a moment of exuberance. And then it will need to come back to earth.

The team's move from the Meadowlands in New Jersey — if indeed it ever happens — won't occur overnight or without a fight. The $300 million deal to sell the Nets to Mr. Ratner (whose development company is a partner of The New York Times in building the newspaper's new headquarters) is just a first step. The deal must be approved by the National Basketball Association, and the $2.5 billion plan itself will require that land be condemned, rail tracks be moved and the financially strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority give up air rights that it could otherwise sell. While opponents say hundreds of people would be displaced, the proposal includes the addition of 4,500 housing units and promises to create jobs, all welcome in Brooklyn.

The big question is how the arena will be financed. Public subsidies have come to be expected whenever a team moves in New York. The Bloomberg administration is aggressively working on a proposal to help the New York Jets build a new stadium on Manhattan's far West Side, part of a multibillion-dollar development that will require hundreds of millions in scarce city and state money. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has expressed support for the Brooklyn arena, but the city's role remains vague. With so many balls in the air, City Hall needs to allay fears that it may be overextending itself and, ultimately, the taxpayers.

There are far too many ifs right now to regard the Nets deal as more than an enticing thought — even the part about another possible subway rivalry.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 23rd, 2004, 06:39 AM
January 23, 2004

Ratner Faces Balancing Act in Wooing Fans


One of Bruce C. Ratner's challenges in buying the Nets for $300 million and moving them to a 19,000-seat arena in Brooklyn is to avoid alienating existing Nets fans while devising a plan to build a new fan base, sports marketing experts said yesterday.

It will be a delicate balance, they said, for Ratner to prevent an exodus of fans at the same time he plans the team's move. To succeed, he must make Nets games at Continental Arena inviting without plastering its corridors with "We Want You in Brooklyn" banners.

"There will be an ego backlash," said Michael Rowe, a former Nets president, because some fans will feel "that you've told me that my 23 years of investment in the Meadowlands was worthless and you don't care about me."

The cost could be steep if Continental Arena, which rarely fills for a Nets or a Devils game, grows emptier each year. The Nets are already projected to lose about $16 million this season, and a decline in attendance and revenue could make those eight-figure losses swell for years before their new arena opens. The Nets are next to last in the N.B.A. in average attendance, and the Devils rank 21st of 30 teams in the N.H.L.

Maintaining the quality of the Nets, the Eastern Conference champions the past two seasons, is crucial for Ratner. Teams like the Detroit Tigers and the Milwaukee Brewers have faltered in new stadiums by failing to time the rebuilding of their teams with the opening of their new stadiums.

"The team looks like it's plateauing, and you have to keep spending money," said Bob Gutkowski, a former president of Madison Square Garden. "There'll be some pretty big losses to remain good and stay competitive."

But the quality of the team after the 2007-8 season, the Nets' last under its current lease at Continental Arena, cannot be known. Jason Kidd would be near the end of his current contract, and there is no guarantee that Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson, who are close to being restricted free agents, will still be with the Nets.

Still, a winning team may not be enough to assuage fans angered by the Nets' pending move and the difficulty of getting to the Brooklyn arena, which would attract more fans by mass transit than by car because of its proximity to subways and the Long Island Rail Road.

But marketing experts say there are strategies that could prevent mass desertions. They include reducing some ticket prices — or at least not raising them — providing gifts and discounts to longtime season-ticket holders; creating more events for fans to meet players, like off-season caravans; greatly increasing arena entertainment to compare to the atmosphere in arenas in Dallas and other cities; and devising incentives for current season-ticket holders to receive similar seat locations in the new arena.

"The mantra of marketing is it's always more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one," said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. "If people are loyal in a less than stellar building, I'd want to reward them and keep them."

David Carter, principal of the Sports Business Group, said Ratner should surrender the Nets name and choose a new one. "To take it would be like poking the eye out of fans on the way out," he said.

Fans could choose a name through a contest.

To build fan support in New York, Ratner could also rent fleets of buses on game days to transport fans to the Meadowlands from designated locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan or other boroughs.

"You almost want to create a tailgating mentality," Gutkowski said.

Ratner will have to choose someone to run the Nets' business operations; Lou Lamoriello, who has been criticized for not marketing the team aggressively enough, said yesterday that he was giving up his job as its chief executive to concentrate exclusively on continuing to do the same job with the Devils. "I am not going to be involved going forward," he said.

Rowe, whose time with the Nets preceded Lamoriello's, said: "Lou always felt if you win, people will come. He was wrong with the Devils, and he's been wrong with the Nets."

Rowe said Ratner should meet with season-ticket holders — there are about 8,000 — and say: "If you like good pro basketball, you've still got your seat. Brooklyn may not happen and you don't want to give up your tickets."

Ratner will also have to build a relationship with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns Continental Arena and Giants Stadium and faces the loss of the Nets, the Devils and the Jets.

The Nets signed a 10-year lease in 1998 that increased their revenue and allowed them an annual escape from the Meadowlands, with six months' notice, beginning after the 1999-2000 season. In the first four years, the penalties for leaving fell from $15 million to $10 million, $7.5 million and $5 million. Now there are no penalties.

Ratner could move the Nets after the 2004-5 season if he does not like his lease, but his options are limited.

Madison Square Garden is tightly booked and may not want to house the Knicks' rival and help the Nets nurture their new fan base. Garden officials were unavailable for comment yesterday.

Nassau Coliseum would be open because it houses only the Islanders; the landlord, SMG, would welcome new revenue. But opportunities for revenue for the visiting Nets would be severely limited.

"We haven't been called," said Chris Botta, a spokesman for the Islanders, "but we'd certainly be willing to listen."

George R. Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey sports authority, said there would be no reason for Ratner to leave prematurely.

"It's our policy to act professionally and to make their stay a positive one," he said. "And we'll talk to them about their schedule with Brooklyn and accommodate them if it's for an extended period" beyond 2008.

But Zoffinger said it would be the responsibility of Ratner to market the Brooklyn-bound Nets, not that of the sports authority, which loses $2.5 million a year on its lease with the team. He added, "The team gets just about all the money."

With Brooklyn Far Off, Nets Worry About Slump


MIAMI, Jan. 22 — Bruce C. Ratner has never met Byron Scott or Jason Kidd, but he has watched them from afar.

Ratner sat courtside at Madison Square Garden this month to see the Nets beat the Knicks. He also spoke earlier in the season with the Nets' Rod Thorn, the team president, and asked him a wide variety of questions about the organization.

As much as Ratner may know about the Nets, they know little about him. Players have played down any and all consequences of this ownership change, but they are at least curious as to what kind of boss Ratner will be — free spending or penny pinching.

They will probably not feel his impact for a while. Even if Ratner is approved as the team's new owner, he will undoubtedly be occupied with issues outside of basketball, like moving the team and building it a new arena.

"I don't think this will affect anything we do in the short term," Thorn said Thursday night. "I'm concentrating on the team and how we can tweak it a little to make it better. That's the same thing I've been concentrating on. Sometime in the future, there will be meetings to spell out what's going to transpire here. But until that happens, we'll keep moving on."

What kind of owner Ratner will be could be determined by the way he approaches key decisions in the coming months. Scott is in the last year of his contract, and Ratner would have to sign off on offering him an extension or replacing him.

Likewise, he will have to open his billfold in the summer to match offers to Kenyon Martin, a restricted free agent.

Under a new regime, players, coaches and executives could feel as if they are auditioning for a place in the future. Perhaps that pressure will snap the Nets out of their recent malaise, during which they have lost four straight games and five of six.

"We can't worry about the owner," Kidd said. "Right now, it's more a matter of us figuring out what to do on the basketball court."

This franchise has often been in flux, but over the past two years, the team's play served as a stabilizing force. No matter who was bidding for the club or where it was supposedly headed, the Nets were always moving in the same direction — through the Eastern Conference and into the N.B.A. finals.

The Nets lead the Atlantic Division, but that doesn't say much. They were not competitive at Dallas or San Antonio this week and are 5-14 against opponents with records over .500. At this rate, the Nets will go into the playoffs as underdogs — trailing Indiana, Detroit, New Orleans and Milwaukee in the East.

"The N.B.A. season is an up-and-down year," Scott said. "We had our lull, then got back on top, and we're having another lull right now. We just have to fight our way out of it again."

Thorn does not know how much flexibility Ratner will afford him, but he is busy trying to solidify the fringes in cost-effective ways.

Hubert Davis, the former Knicks guard who was waived by Detroit, could sign with a new team Friday. The Nets inquired about Davis because he led the N.B.A. in 3-point shooting percentage four seasons ago, but he is 33 and has played only three games this season.

Eddie Griffin is also getting closer to a return date. He rejoined the team after being convicted of marijuana possession earlier in the week and could play for the Nets sometime in the next 10 days.

Scott does not want to rush Griffin, but at this point he might not have much of a choice.

Unlike the new owner, who is planning five years down the road in Brooklyn, the Nets must be more concerned with the here and now.


ALONZO MOURNING was supposed to be making his gallant return to Miami on Friday, but he is back in New Jersey recuperating from a kidney Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
transplant. Although teammates said they missed Mourning and would be excited to see him attempt a comeback, they do not want to see him risk his health.

"Every night you wish you still had him here, and knowing Zo, he'd love to play again," JASON KIDD said. "You can't rule out anything with him. For him to be around the guys is something I would encourage. But playing again, I would discourage."


Nets Have Their Place, but It Isn't Brooklyn


The Nets will continue to play in Continental Arena for a time, no matter where they end up.

IF I hear one more ode to the old Brooklyn Dodgers or to Ebbets Field or to Pee Wee and Jackie, I'll scream. I'm screaming now, but it's hard to hear because of the roar of misplaced celebration.

All the excited talk surrounding the agreement Wednesday to sell the Nets and eventually move the franchise to Brooklyn would have you think that the Dodgers were coming back, returning to the scene of the crime and atoning.

I don't want to step on anyone's dream, but anyone who fancies Brooklyn as the Nets' promised land had better wake up.

Bruce C. Ratner outbid Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine for the right to own one of the N.B.A.'s most enigmatic and well-traveled franchises. With the $300 million sale all but completed, Ratner wants to put the team in one of the city's most colorful and enigmatic boroughs, Brooklyn.

Two mysterious moves: paying $300 million for the nomadic Nets and moving the wobbly team to a borough that lost a major league franchise, the Dodgers, 47 years ago. The sale has been met with a dancing-in-the-street quality that seems way out of proportion to the acquisition of a zany team with a history of erratic performance.

I realize that something is going on here that has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with emotion. We're talking dreams and nostalgia. A longing each of us has, in one way or another, for the good old days.

During the months of negotiations, talk of a Nets sale and an impending move to Brooklyn sparked fond recollections of going to that first ballgame with Mom and Dad and the whole Boys of Summer thing.

But this isn't baseball, these aren't the Dodgers, and we're in the dead of winter.

This is intended to be sobering, not harsh.

I respect nostalgia; I'm surrounded in Harlem by nostalgia. Every time I cross the Macombs Dam Bridge and look north to where the Polo Grounds once stood, I try to imagine Willie Mays making that fabulous over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series. Each morning I pass by the Renaissance Ballroom, where the Harlem Rens played championship-caliber basketball for more than two decades. I understand nostalgia.

History has its place: that's why we have museums. But we don't need an arena in downtown Brooklyn.

Ratner sees a dream. I see the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, snarled in knots of traffic. At best, I see the bridges into Brooklyn choked with cars waiting to get to the game, rocking gently up and down. I do not see Manhattan fans jumping on the subway to see Nets basketball.

"That's a concern of mine," said Herb Turetzky, the longtime Nets statistician. Turetzky started with the Nets when they were the New Jersey Americans and operated out of Teaneck. The Nets have moved from Teaneck to Commack, N.Y., to West Hempstead to Uniondale and back to New Jersey. Now they are apparently headed to Brooklyn.

There are lots of basketball fans in Brooklyn. But will they be paying N.B.A. customers? Will they be fans of the Nets?

Will Brooklyn support a team? Did Brooklyn support the Dodgers? Will Brooklyn pay N.B.A. prices to see the Nets?

Turetzky suggested that the Nets, in an effort to entice young people and attract a more energetic crowd, offer $10 seats to high school students.

Ten-dollar tickets? In your dreams.

This is the N.B.A., with bills to pay. David Stern's N.B.A. will not be having any Brooklyn discounts.

The logical move for the Nets is south, to Newark. As much as the move to Brooklyn is based on happy nostalgia of the 1950's, the move to Newark has been opposed, in part, because it conjured negative and misplaced images of ruin and destruction of the 1960's.

Newark is ready for a team, more than Brooklyn will ever be, because of northern New Jersey's more diverse fan base. But Ratner has his dream, and it's in Brooklyn.

He may also want a new team nickname as a way to erase all vestiges of the old franchise's blues.

Sorry, but you can't hide from fate.

The Nets are the N.B.A.'s Ancient Mariner, and once again the franchise is following its destiny — this time in Brooklyn. Just when the Nets have gotten their act together, the franchise has to move out of its theater in the swamp.

And who will these Nets be in 2008, when the Nets' lease at Continental Arena runs out? Here's my guess: Jason Kidd? Gone. Kenyon Martin? Gone. Byron Scott? Long gone.

By the time the team moves to Brooklyn, old Dodgers fans may get back what they lost 47 years ago when their team was lovingly called Da Bums.

Now there's a name for you.


After 37 Years, Closing a Circle With the Nets


NOBODY better understands how long and potentially painful the Nets' road from New Jersey to Brooklyn might be than a man who has taken many a labored step with them, from that night in 1967 when they opened the doors to the Teaneck Armory.

The Nets were called the New Jersey Americans and the opponents in that now-ancient American Basketball Association debut were the Pittsburgh Pipers. "Pittsburgh had Connie Hawkins and our star was Tony Jackson, the best pure jump shooter I've ever seen," Herb Turetzky said.

Hoisting a colorful ball in a renegade league, it was Hawkins against Jackson, both tainted by college basketball scandal and shunned by the N.B.A. They were a couple of Kings County guys in a game officially scored by Turetzky, himself out of Brownsville and Jefferson High School and Long Island University in the downtown Brooklyn area the Nets are apparently headed to.

"Looks like it's happening, but who knows how long it will take?" Turetzky, still scoring after all these years, said yesterday, the morning after Bruce C. Ratner made a deal to purchase the Nets for $300 million. "I just wish I was a younger man so I'd have a better chance to go back with them."

Turetzky is 58, and his entire adult life has been tied to this peripatetic franchise that has just done a 180-degree spin in midair, hoping to land in a $435 million arena whose proposal has already pitted the forces of development against the protectors of small-business and residential rights.

What could take years to untangle is not his struggle, though give him a vote and he will point east. "How can I be sad about New Jersey?" he asked. "I've enjoyed the people there, but they never embraced the team."

Understandably, Turetzky's definition of a true believer is hopelessly romantic, nurtured at a time when the pro game was no billion-dollar industry, no digitized picture of high definition. When the Nets-nee-Americans left Teaneck for Commack on Long Island after one season, it was the pursuit of an arena in which the heat and hot water worked.

An educator by trade, Turetzky continued his courtside moonlighting, following Max Zaslofsky, the team's general manager and coach, who was a Brownsville connection. Working for the Nets, Turetzky said, was "never a job, always a passion," and he gladly accompanied them from New Jersey to New York and back to New Jersey, to their eclectic and humble homes. It was on the way to the Commack arena along the Long Island Expressway one evening that Turetzky took his own life-altering and near-tragic turn.

"Somehow I lost control and crashed into a westbound car," he said. "That's all I really remember." That, and the fact that it was Nov. 3, 1968, the day the Nets traded Tony Jackson.

For six weeks after the accident, Turetzky remained in a coma. For six months he was laid up, his left leg shattered. From then on, he would be saddled with neuromuscular damage to both legs, requiring great effort to walk.

Through the years, Turetzky has been a most gracious courtside figure, turning stiffly to greet the familiar voice saying hello from behind. So many people have come and gone through the Nets' revolving door. Turetzky, outlasting them all, could tell you the strangest tales about a franchise far from storied.

More recently, retirement had been on his mind, the drive from his home in Bayside, Queens, getting no easier and walking being increasingly difficult. But now comes the news that his beloved Nets may someday move in down the street from where he made adolescent visits to the orthodontist, to the borough that long ago was to him the center of the basketball universe.

His wife, Jane, is advising him to hang in there, to see if Ratner can pull this Brooklyn deal off. "It's got to be three, four years at least," Turetzky said. At this stage, who could be accused of being too skeptical by adding "if ever"?

Ratner's $300 million was obviously greener than Charles Kushner's late matching bid because Lewis Katz, one of the current Nets owners, saw a better opportunity to partner up in Brooklyn and because the N.B.A. clearly preferred New York City to New Jersey, the radical move to the status quo.

On the New Jersey side, the bitterness is profound, all the more reason for Ratner to consider exercising his right to terminate the Nets' lease before the end of this year and flee the Meadowlands the season after next. Maybe David Stern, the N.B.A. commissioner, can twist a Dolan arm at Madison Square Garden and bring about temporary coexistence with the Knicks.

More likely is a multiyear stay at an old Nets encampment, the Nassau Coliseum, so the team can begin marketing preferred seating locations to fans in the Brooklyn-Queens corridor and begin construction of a practice facility near the gated, golf-friendly suburban community Jason Kidd is bound to settle in. N.B.A. stars, Ratner will soon learn, don't do brownstone walkups.

Much sooner than later, Herb Turetzky could find himself navigating those harrowing and haunting Long Island roadways. Which would be fine, he said, as long as they eventually come full circle, bringing him all the way home.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 23rd, 2004, 10:02 AM

Escape from New Jersey
Until they're in B'klyn, Nets should revisit L.I.


The divorce may be finalized sooner than you think.

By midnight on Dec. 31, 2004, Bruce Ratner, Jay-Z and Lewis Katz should have a better idea whether their ambitious plans for the Brooklyn Nets and a residential-commercial development are still feasible. Most environmental issues will be resolved, the rights of way determined. The city's surprisingly eager politicians will have signed off on enormous subsidies for the project, hundreds of millions of dollars. Several contracts should be in place.

And right then, if the project is still a go, Ratner's group better exit the Meadowlands complex and head straight for the bridges. The Nets ought to inform the N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority, as permitted in their lease, that they have a deal to move into Nassau Coliseum on an interim basis beginning with the 2005-2006 season. They can establish their practice facility out on Long Island, relocate their players there and send for their things later.

They better do something, fast, because the Nets in New Jersey isn't going to work anymore, not now. You could see that was true already yesterday, as angry fans prepared protests and NJSEA head George Zoffinger bitterly attacked the deal.

Zoffinger said the team should leave their "Nets" jerseys in New Jersey, and change their name to "Katz and Rats." He said that Katz came into New Jersey with Bill Clinton at his side, promising to get involved with the community. Instead, Zoffinger said, Katz was only out to squeeze money from real estate in Brooklyn.

"The Brooklyn transaction is based on huge public subsidies yet to be determined," Zoffinger said. "It was based on real estate, not on basketball. You should not only talk the talk, you should walk the walk. It seems now that money's more important than community. I'm offended by that."

In some ways, Zoffinger and the residents of New Jersey should be thrilled the Nets are moving. In the calendar year 2003, the state lost about $2.5million on the Nets at the Meadowlands, while the arena lost only $1 million. The day the Nets leave, the arena theoretically becomes profitable.

As rent on a lease that expires in 2008, New Jersey receives only 2% of Nets ticket sales on the first $30 million in gate revenues. The Nets get all parking and concessions, and have the right at the end of each year to tell the NJSEA they will depart at the start of the following season. This is hardly a ripoff, but the state still offered to build new luxury suites and club seats, if the Nets would stick around.

Instead, the Nets are going - probably. The Devils may be next when their lease expires in 2007, because Zoffinger isn't eager to upgrade the arena for just one franchise. While the Rangers surely would veto a Devils move to Brooklyn, the Devils could take aim at Newark or the Pacific Northwest.

That is the way it works with these fragile marriages of sports teams and publicly subsidized arenas. We've seen the cycle of breathless romance and betrayal before. Brooklyn had its heartbreak with the Dodgers. The Nets have gone from New Jersey to New York to New Jersey and now, possibly, back to New York.

New York's taxpayers never were asked to cast ballots on the Brooklyn deal. The cost to New Yorkers of the $600 million arena (plopped inside a $2.5 billion complex) could easily rise well above the $150 million estimate for infrastructure improvements. It always does.

"They've opened a bit of a problem for themselves," Zoffinger said. "The Jets ... Steinbrenner ... Wilpon ... Madison Square Garden ... will all want a chunk of New York money. If they wanted to build pyramids to build a tomb over there, they'd probably put money into that, too."

Zoffinger was asked whether the move was understandable, because Net ownership was losing its pants at the Meadowlands.

"They lost their pants here because they're paying people who aren't even playing," he said. "New Jersey taxpayers are not going to subsidize and pay the bills of wealthy sports owners. Our priorities are health care, education, social services and homeland security."

He'd already received congratulatory phone calls on his stance from Ralph Nader and Jim Bouton, Zoffinger said. The liberals said "no" to the Nets, and now the fans will ride the team out on a rail.

Oops. There are no rails yet at the Meadowlands. Even Zoffinger had to admit that was a problem.


Think Meadowlands Arena is empty now? Just wait till Nets sale is official.

January 23rd, 2004, 05:08 PM
Basketball is not baseball, the Nets are not the Dodgers and Brooklyn is not the same town it was 55 years ago.

This is not the Dodgers returning, this is an NBA franchise.

It's part of a development of the area, the success of the Nets in Brooklyn relies on Suburbanites from Long Island utilizing the LIRR to come to games.

The demographics of Brooklyn are not what they were in the 1950s, the basketball fans that do live in Brooklyn (mainly African Americans) cannot afford the $120 a ticket costs to go to a game.

One of the reasons (which is not disscussed) why the Nets did not draw well at the Meadowlands was because they had some of the highest ticket prices in the NBA, I don't see how moving to a new Arena in Brooklyn would either change (lower) the ticket prices or provide a better pool of fans who could afford to attend the games.

They're banking on Long Island suburbanite families, not inner City Youths to buy those expansive multi-game ticket plans.

January 23rd, 2004, 05:52 PM
It's part of a development of the area, the success of the Nets in Brooklyn relies on Suburbanites from Long Island utilizing the LIRR to come to games.

You're reaching. While Long Island helps, the Nets success hardly relies on it.

The demographics of Brooklyn are not what they were in the 1950s, the basketball fans that do live in Brooklyn (mainly African Americans) cannot afford the $120 a ticket costs to go to a game.

Once again, you're reaching. In case you didn't know, which obviously you don't, Brooklyn has a large African-American middle class which is/has been constantly growing. On top of that, the tickets aren't $120 as witnessed on the Nets own website. The highest price on there is $95 and that's for the very front. Even if these "inner city youths" families couldn't afford the front row, they could certainly fill the ones in the back...After all, that's what they're there for.

They're banking on Long Island suburbanite families, not inner City Youths to buy those expansive multi-game ticket plans.

While I know Brooklyn still seems and acts like it's own city, it's not. You talk as if Queens and Staten Island aren't next door, along with the rest of the city plus Long Island. Even without them, are you trying to tell me that we can't find 20,000 people to afford/go to the games out of 2.5 million??

It's over, it's done, the Nets are coming and obviously the former owners (which weren't they from NJ??) went with the logical option. Get over it and start looking for some other place's team to steal now.

January 23rd, 2004, 07:08 PM
Net announcer Ian Eagle was just on W-FAN saying that a move to LI would help re-establish a fan base in Nassau. Once the arena is ready, you're talking about 6 million fans across Nassau, Queens, and Brooklyn itself. Sounds like a nice mix of suburbanites and inner city, to me!

January 24th, 2004, 12:35 AM
You're reaching. While Long Island helps, the Nets success hardly relies on it.

It depends entirely on Long Island, why not build the arena on vacant land in Coney Island? Because the LIRR does not go to Coney Island./

And Mike Francessa has been making all the same points I have, only Chris and Sid have taken to the plan.

January 24th, 2004, 12:55 AM
Coney Island only has 3 subway lines, as opposed to Atlantic's 9...

January 24th, 2004, 01:00 AM
The arena is not being built in Coney Island because of the four office towers.

I'm considering sharing a season ticket package with several friends. I take the IRT uptown to MSG for Knick games. I would have to take the IRT into Brooklyn for Net games.

The place will sellout.

January 24th, 2004, 07:58 AM
January 24, 2004

Ratner's Purchase of Nets Is Official


At a news conference yesterday that was filled with hugs, jokes and unabashed good cheer, Bruce C. Ratner announced that he had officially signed a contract to take control of the Nets, whom he plans to move to Brooklyn in about three years.

It was Ratner's birthday and a host of New York politicians — who had joined him at the Brooklyn Academy of Music — said there could have been no better gift than having his $300 million purchase of the Nets completed.

To house the team, Ratner plans to build an 800,000-square-foot sports arena with 19,000 seats in an unused railroad yard that lies between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

Brooklyn has not had a major league professional sports team since Sept. 24, 1957, the day of the Dodgers' last game in Brooklyn before Walter O'Malley moved them to Los Angeles. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reminded the crowd that it was 46 years, 3 months and 29 days ago.

"It's the right place to put it," Bloomberg said of the arena. "It's a huge win for Brooklyn."

Bloomberg said that he expected the arena to generate about $400 million a year through various economic activities. He said construction of the arena would create about 10,000 jobs and that its operation would create a few thousand more. In addition, Ratner plans to build some 2.1 million square feet of office space over the railroad yard. His plan also calls for the construction of about 4,000 housing units, from low-income properties to luxury apartments.

Among the public officials who spoke at the event were Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, Bloomberg, Gov. George E. Pataki and Senator Charles Schumer.

The self-deprecating Markowitz said the closest he had ever come to playing basketball had been holding coats on the sideline of games at his alma mater, Wingate High School in Brooklyn.

In what became a recurring joke, Markowitz said that he and Bloomberg, who are relatively short, were bucking for slots on Ratner's new team.

Pataki, who towered above his fellow politicians, suggested a game of two on two: Markowitz and Bloomberg versus him and Bernard King, the four-time N.B.A. All-Star forward, who was also at the news conference.

Ratner, who is the development partner of The New York Times Company in a new building for the newspaper's headquarters, spoke about his desire to include community residents in his building plans. About 100 families may have their homes seized for the project through eminent domain, and Ratner said that he would listen to their concerns.

Assemblyman Roger Green, who represents the neighborhood, spoke about the relationship between Branch Rickey, the onetime executive of the Dodgers, and Jackie Robinson. Green said he hoped that Ratner would show the same racial sensitivity and sense of social responsibility in his construction plans.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 24th, 2004, 09:47 AM


Mayor Michael Bloomberg poses with Gov. George Pataki, Bruce C. Ratner, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Vinny Viola, and Hip-Hop artist and Nets investor, Jay-Z, after a news conference to announce Ratner's investment team's successful bid to buy the Nets basketball team.


Hip-Hop artist and Nets investor Jay-Z responds to questions at a news conference to announce a successful bid by President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies Bruce Ratner and his investment team to buy the Nets basketball team.



Protesters hold signs outside a press conference announcing the approval of Bruce Ratner's plan to move the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn by the Nets' owners at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene


Mayor Michael Bloomberg joins a news conference to announce the purchase of the Nets.


Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Governor George Pataki and four-time All-Star professional basketball player Bernard King join news conference to announce purchase of the Nets by a team of investors led by developer Bruce Ratner.

January 24th, 2004, 10:00 AM

Developer to court Nets fans
Brooklyn's Ratner offers to play some games here

January 24, 2004

Even after the Nets move to Brooklyn, the team could still call New Jersey home -- at least 10 times a year.

On a day when New York celebrated its newest favorite son, Bruce Ratner, the developer who is bringing the Nets to Brooklyn declared he was now the team's No. 1 fan and owner-in-waiting and soon would be rooting from courtside at the Meadowlands.

At the same time, he was quietly telling the team's current owners that long after the team moves to Brooklyn, he will send them back 10 times a season to play "home" games in their old stomping grounds.

"I look forward to joining the New Jersey fans to cheer on the team," Ratner told reporters yesterday after formally signing contracts to buy the Nets for $300 million. "Our goal is to keep the fans. They are the Nets' fans. They're the most important thing in a business like this."

Ratner is walking a fine line.

On one hand, he is doing everything he can not to alienate the people he needs to fill the seats at the Continental Airlines Arena until his own $600 million development is ready. The team already is facing a projected $40 million in losses during the next two seasons.

But he also has to rally Brooklyn. For that audience, he hosted a pep rally yesterday and unveiled jerseys emblazoned with "Brooklyn Nets" in the script used by the old Dodgers.

"It's a proud day for Brooklyn," said Jay-Z, the rap artist, who is a partner with Ratner in the deal to buy the team. "I never got a chance to experience the Dodgers. This is the new Dodgers -- the Nets."

George Zoffinger, New Jersey's sport czar, could not be reached for comment. But on Thursday, both Zoffinger and Gov. James E. McGreevey said the state would be open to the Nets remaining as long as possible at the team's current home in the Meadowlands.

Raymond Chambers, a Nets' principal owner, said Ratner vowed the Nets would maintain a New Jersey presence -- possibly at a new downtown Newark arena for the Devils.

"We understand that the Nets intend to play 10 home games a year at a new arena in Newark, if and when it's completed," Chambers said. He called the gesture "a result of current ownership's appreciation of the fans, players, coaching staff and management."

The city of Newark and Chambers' team of lawyers and financiers are discussing another attempt to revive the long-stymied Newark arena deal, this time as a home to the Devils, which are controlled by Chambers. It is unclear if the project will go forward.

YankeeNets, the sports company that owns the Nets , voted yesterday to seek NBA approval of Ratner's purchase of the team and his plan to move the team to Brooklyn.

Ed Stier, chairman of Community Youth Organization, the nonprofit that controls the Nets, also said Ratner pledged to bring the Nets back several times a season.

"I spoke to him about it," Stier said. "He wants to do it as a way to preserve the team's New Jersey connection."

Ratner won the bidding war Wednesday for the Nets by beating out the partnership of developer Charles Kushner and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), who promised to keep the team in New Jersey.

The Brooklyn arena is the centerpiece of an enormous complex of residences, office towers, shops and restaurants planned by Ratner that faces stiff opposition from neighborhood residents and small businesses. He must still secure land, financing and zoning approval from New York City and the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the Ratner pep rally at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to lend their support to the project, along with Ratner's partners, who include Nets' legend Bernard King.

Bloomberg said only "a handful" of neighborhood residents and small businesses would be displaced, and those being relocated would be compensated well.

"You have almost 100 percent support," the mayor said, motioning toward the city and state leaders with him on stage. "This will go through."

January 25th, 2004, 01:18 AM
January 25, 2004


To Some, the Nets Are a Slam Dunk, to Others a Technical Foul


Brooklynites who would be displaced by a new arena for the Nets are howling about the proposal, while many people who live elsewhere in the borough are big boosters of the idea. But among merchants and residents who are in between - living outside the area where the arena would be built but in the close vicinity - there is no such clear consensus.

Billy Bob, a manager of Jimmy Jazz, a clothing store on nearby Fulton Street, is happy about the idea, which, if it leaps numerous regulatory and other hurdles, will bring a 19,000-seat arena and other improvements to Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in Downtown Brooklyn. Mr. Bob expects brisk sales for basketball paraphernalia emblazoned with the borough's name. "This will be great for business," he said. "It will bring more people in."

Ludlow Beckett, however, who owns a home furnishings store on Greene Avenue, is not convinced that basketball fans will patronize his shop. "They will be going to a Red Lobster, not to small, unique stores," said Mr. Beckett, president of the Fulton Area Business Association, which represents 60 merchants. "This won't bring foot traffic into our shops."

For some Brooklynites, the prospect of Manhattan-style vehicular traffic is particularly unsettling. "Whenever there is a game, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues will become parking lots," said Councilwoman Letitia James, who represents much of the area, including Prospect Heights. "People moved outside of Manhattan to get away from the traffic and noise."

Clarence Nathan, co-owner of Premium Goods, a sneaker store on Fulton Street, says he is unsure what the arena's impact will be, but he tends to pessimism as both a businessman and a resident. "I live around here, and the traffic will be really bad,'' he said. "There will be no parking. I don't think it will increase business. They're coming here for the game, and then they'll leave. But who knows? Maybe we'll get more people."

Other merchants, however, are even more optimistic than Mr. Bob, the owner of Jimmy Jazz. Bob Killen, owner of La Bagel Delight on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, sees the arena as a great economic boon for the borough. "It's going to create a lot of jobs,'' he said. "It will be great for business. We would like to open a store right there."

In some ways, reaction to the plan seems to vary according to how far someone lives from the site. Patti Hagan, who lives two blocks away, worries that the proposal will undo her eclectic, reviving neighborhood. "This great urban mix will be crushed," said Ms. Hagan, a member of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition.

Bernard Graham, who lives about 20 blocks away in Park Slope, has a rosier outlook.

"It's good for Brooklyn, it's good for Brooklyn's economy, and it's good for Brooklyn's self-esteem," said Mr. Graham, president of the Park Slope Civic Council, which represents 800 residents. "A lot of small cities identify with their professional sports teams, and Brooklyn is no different from a small city."

One group of residents seems to fully support the stadium: Nets fans. "Even at my age, I still get that feeling of being in the N.B.A. when I make a layup," said Darrell Canada, a 45-year-old construction worker who lives at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses. "Growing up in Brooklyn, I know that that court gives kids hope."

Mr. Canada added : "We're talking about bringing opportunities to an impoverished community. They're talking about losing a few parking spots."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 25th, 2004, 09:48 AM
January 25, 2004

Ratner's Path to Buy Nets Had Pitfalls and Promise


By Wednesday morning, Bruce C. Ratner had nearly sealed his $300 million offer to buy the Nets and move them to Brooklyn. But nothing was certain, not after a week in which his confidence soared and plummeted as he struggled to outnegotiate a rival.

Around 10 o'clock, a fax arrived in Skillman, N.J., at the law office of Edwin Stier, a former prosecutor who became president of the Nets' ownership group a month ago with a mandate to bring order to the sale.

The message was three lines long: Charles Kushner had raised his offer to $300 million, all cash, and he demanded an answer that day.

Kushner, a real estate developer like Ratner, thought he was on equal footing. The offer surprised Stier, who thought Kushner had placed his final bid the day before.

"Crumple it up," said Joe Ravitch of Goldman Sachs, one of the team's investment bankers, convinced the priority was to complete the remaining issues left in the contract with Ratner.

At 5 p.m., Kushner sent Stier a second fax: he withdrew his bid.

Kushner could have saved the call. He had lost. Ninety minutes later, Stier called Ratner to tell him the team was his.

"I can't believe we did this," Ratner said Friday, his 59th birthday, hours after he signed the contract. "But what a huge responsibility. It was like a big wow."

Ratner's pursuit of the Nets began 14 months ago, long before he put the team and a proposed arena at the center of Atlantic Yards, a $2.5 billion commercial and residential complex in downtown Brooklyn.

The idea was hatched in October 2002, by two men who are not sports fanatics: Ratner and Marty Markowitz, the voluble Brooklyn borough president. Markowitz placed the first of his weekly calls to Ratner to bring a sports team to Brooklyn.

As Markowitz recalls it: "I asked him: `Just look into it. It may be impossible, but I feel we owe it to the people of Brooklyn.' He said, `I don't know anything about it; I'm not into sports.' "

Ratner thought it "wasn't remotely possible" to land a team but began to learn about sports economics. He felt the Nets were the likeliest candidate to lure to Brooklyn.

Ratner and two executives of his Forest City Ratner Companies visited Coney Island, Red Hook and the Brooklyn Navy Yard but rejected them because they lacked public transportation. Then they inspected the Long Island Rail Road yard at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, where Walter O'Malley had once sought to build a stadium for the Dodgers.

"I thought it was a matter of getting them to move over," Ratner said. "Then one day, I realized one would have to buy a team to get them."

But he wanted a project that would make Brooklyn an urban wonderland and provide offices as well as housing for poor, middle-class and wealthy residents. Last February, Ratner showed his nascent plans to a potential investor and basketball fan, Vincent Viola, chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Ratner's company had built the exchange's headquarters in Lower Manhattan.

"The first thing that struck me," said Viola, who has had season tickets to the Nets for 11 years, "was that the site was only two blocks from my high school, Brooklyn Tech. After the first meeting or two, I realized it was an opportunity to work for a positive social result. I was in."

By the spring, Ratner was seriously examining the Nets, who had the unfettered right to move into New York. The team's holding company, YankeeNets, had floundered in trying to build an arena in Newark for the Nets and the Devils, in whom it owns a 30 percent stake. And tensions between the owners of the Yankees and the Nets were simmering, as were those within the Nets.

The Devils were losing money; a $50 million note, the final payment to the team's former owner, John J. McMullen, was due in August. Believing he could find a way to buy the Nets by investing in the Devils, Ratner began discussions with Lewis Katz and Raymond Chambers, principal owners of both teams.

A World-Class Architect

Ratner did not want a sports architect for his arena, let alone the entire complex. He wanted a visionary, and he found one in Frank Gehry, the Canadian-bred architect whose idiosyncratic projects include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Ratner is also the development partner of The New York Times Company in a new building for the newspaper's headquarters, and he met Gehry in 2000 during the design competition for that building. Although Gehry withdrew from the competition, Ratner vowed one day to work with him. He saw Gehry's presence as "something that could be appreciated by people who were not basketball fans," he said.

In May, Ratner flew to Los Angeles to woo Gehry. "He brings this incredible project," Gehry, who was quickly entranced, said. "I'm a hockey nut. He thought he was going to get the Devils, at first."

Ratner's friends and family listened attentively to his plans but rolled their eyes behind his back. His companion, Dr. Pam Lipton, however, supported him and even found an investor when others got cold feet.

Ratner next needed city support. He started to pitch his project, which at this point included the arena, 4,500 apartments, four office towers, and shops and public spaces. But he was unaware that the focus of the city's economic development and planning officials was on making a $1.5 billion stadium deal for the Jets on the West Side of Manhattan. Frustrated, he went directly to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "From the moment the mayor heard about it," one person involved in the talks said, "he ordered everyone to get in line."

Meanwhile, Ratner and Viola, his investor, were raising $75 million to acquire a stake in the Devils and move them and the Nets to Brooklyn. The Devils had to pay McMullen the $50 million note on Aug. 22.

At the last moment, the plan unraveled. Chambers, who held out hope that the teams could find a home in Newark, paid the note, along with other owners.

But George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' principal owner, lobbied to put the Nets on the auction block. At an acrimonious board meeting in September, YankeeNets decided to hire the investment banks Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers to explore a sale. "When that happened," Ratner said, "we were totally ready. We'd shown our master plan to the city."

Making a Deal

The bankers had four bidders: Ratner; Kushner, whose primary partner was Senator Jon S. Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey; Charles B. Wang, a co-owner of the Islanders who once thought he had a deal to buy the Nets; and Stuart Feldman, a publicity-shy financier. But Wang withdrew in December, irked by the slow pace of talks, and Feldman's plans and motives were a mystery.

Kushner wanted to keep the Nets playing at Continental Arena and was negotiating a financing plan with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for up to $150 million in renovations. He believed his strength rested in the certainty of the team's staying put.

"We were under the impression we had an advantage because of the contingencies of the Ratner transaction," Kushner said, referring to the welter of city and state approvals Ratner needs to build in Brooklyn.

About 10 days ago, the bankers began to seriously challenge the $300 million offer Ratner first made last month. Would he assume the hefty payments due former Nets like Jayson Williams, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning? At first, Ratner would not, and his offer's actual value sank below $240 million. "His people were looking at the finances and said, `By the way, we won't assume responsibility for a lot of the long-term liabilities of the team,' " Ravitch, of Goldman Sachs, said.

A few days later, Ratner made another offer with conditions that held its value below $300 million and included a threat to withdraw it, said Ravitch, who brushed off the warning.

Ratner disputed that account, saying he always expected to assume the liabilities but pressed for protection against the team's losses. "That scared the sellers, who thought we were trying to renegotiate," he said.

One official briefed by Ratner's company said: "When things were going south, Bruce was very nervous. Our team sensed there were midlevel people at the Nets who didn't want the team sold."

More than a week ago, Stier, the president of the ownership group, Community Youth Organization, reacting to a snag in talks with Ratner, tried to lure Wang back into the bidding. Wang refused.

Stier and the bankers then awaited Kushner's return Monday from a trip to Jerusalem before negotiating further with Ratner. Kushner had offered $267.5 million in November, based on preliminary financial information. "Charlie had expressed concerns early on that he didn't want us to use him against Ratner," Stier said.

So Stier structured a process in which he would not relate one bidder's offer to the other. He wanted to see passion in the game.

But upon his return, Kushner did not immediately raise his bid.

Ratner did. Concerned about the tussle over the long-term liabilities and willing to share the team's losses of upward of $15 million this season, Ratner made his final bid on Monday. In a telephone conversation Monday morning, Stier said, "Bruce said he was prepared to offer $300 million without any adjustments or conditions, `Net-net, $300 million.' "

Last-Minute Moves

Kushner struck back the next day, but he did not match Ratner: he offered a choice of $267.5 million in cash, or $200 million up front with $100 million to be paid over 10 years.

The latter option, the bankers figured, was not worth $300 million.

Kushner, two people involved in the talks said, believed he was overbidding. "The team isn't worth $267.5 million," he said during a conference call with the negotiators. Rather, he said, the right price was $225 million.

Privately, he had told his negotiating team the same thing, but that he could make the finances work for the Nets and justify the price tag, one member of his group said.

Kushner said: "I wanted an answer in a day. I thought my bid would be enough to precipitate dialogue and discussion. It never did."

Advantage Ratner, whose offer was now being negotiated round-the-clock. The talks with Ratner were so far along by Wednesday that only a collapse would leave the door open for Kushner. Kushner still felt a need to go further despite discomfort he felt because Katz, part of the selling group, was one of Ratner's investors. Stier said he barred Katz from influencing the sale.

While Kushner awaited the response to his faxed offer of $300 million, he also sought financial aid on Wednesday from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns Continental Arena. George R. Zoffinger, the agency's president, called it a request for a $25 million subsidy, one that he and Gov. James E. McGreevey considered for most of the day but rejected.

Kushner said it was a request for a $25 million loan that he and his investors would repay, as they would have for the arena renovations.

"I asked for it," he said, "because I felt a sense of urgency."

Stier said there was little choice but to try to complete talks with Ratner.

Kushner thought that as long as he bid $300 million, in what he called an "ill-defined process," he would be taken seriously.

The agreement on Wednesday was approved by the YankeeNets board on Friday, a formality that paved Ratner's path to his jubilant performance hours later at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where he was joined by a cadre of New York cheerleaders, including Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki.

"This is not only about basketball," Ratner told a crowded second-floor room. "It's about a vision, about housing, about jobs, and an urban landscape we can all be proud of."

Outside, a cluster of protesters demanded that he abandon his dream.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 25th, 2004, 02:34 PM



January 25, 2004 -- THE setting was Manhattan, inside the old Madison Square Garden on 49th Street and Eighth Avenue, but that was just a geographic technicality. For one day, Brooklyn's borders had swelled westward, and it seemed everyone from Brownsville and Bed- Stuy and Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay were crammed in side those creaky old walls.

This was March 15, 1960, and it was the greatest day basketball Brooklyn would ever know. Later on, at night, the Stith brothers, Tom and Sam, both of them out of St. Francis Prep, would help St. Bonaventure throttle St. John's (led by Thomas Jefferson's LeRoy Ellis) in the NIT, 106-71. But the Garden had already been warmed up plenty by then.

Earlier, Boys High had played Wingate in a semifinal of the PSAL playoffs, and that's what had captured the city's imagination. Boys was led by Connie Hawkins, who even then was being billed as the greatest playground alumnus of them all. Wingate had Roger Brown, who would one day become the best player in the ABA.

There were 18,000 people inside. Scalpers were making a fortune outside. No one had ever seen anything like this, not even in basketball-mad New York. Brown scored 39 points. Hawkins had 18 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out in the third quarter. Boys won, 62-59, and in certain precincts of Brooklyn, you would swear the game took place only last week, that's how vivid the memory remains.

These were the kinds of Brooklyn basketball snapshots Bernard King (Fort Hamilton, Class of '74) was talking about earlier in the week as he rhapsodized about the possibilities now looming for his hometown borough.

"I think this arena can make Brooklyn's basketball future every bit as amazing as its past has been," King said. "And that's saying something."

In truth, it says everything. No place has fed New York's rich basketball tapestry more regularly or more fully than the borough of churches, going all the way back to 1926-27, the first season of the short-lived American Basketball League. The Original Celtics, led by Joe Lapchick and Nat Holman, gave up barn storming for one year, played under the franchise name "Brooklyn Celtics," replaced a franchise that had lost its first five games and then went 32-5 in storming to a title in its only year of membership.

Five years later, the Metropolitan Pro League would feature no fewer than five Brooklyn teams, led by the Visitations (Lapchick's team) and the Jewels (led by Barney Sedran, at 5-4 the shortest member of basketball's Hall of Fame).

Still, between the demise of the Met League and the anticipated arrival of the Nets, Brooklyn's primary basketball function has been as feeder system to the world.

In the glory years of college doubleheaders at the Garden, no team was a more reliable draw than Brooklyn's own LIU, where Clair Bee won 82 percent of his games. The Knicks, who owned territorial draft rights to Bee's greatest player, Sherman White, had already begun to dream of an NBA dynasty before White's career died in the fixing scandals of 1951. LIU was finished as a national power, too.

So Brooklyn became the breeding ground, for all manner of names, all manner of games. You could bring it with style, the way all the first-name-only point guards from Pearl to Steph to Sebastian have done it. You could be pure gym rat, like Chris Mullin or Bill Cunningham, or you could just bring serious attitude, like Doug Moe or Max Zaslofsky, or a flair that could only have been hatched here, like World B. Free and Fly Williams (who, during his brief stay at Austin Peay, inspired the greatest of all arena chants: "The Fly is open, Let's go Peay!")

You could go on and become the winningest coach of all time (Boys' Lenny Wilkens) or the most legendary (Eastern District's Red Auerbach) and tell people, yeah, the NBA's a tough racket, but you should try and survive a run in the playground sometime. Or you could grow up to become the greatest player of all time, like Michael Jordan, and be able to add at the top of your resume, "Born in Brooklyn, N.Y."

So the Nets may come, and they may build this sparkling palace in the middle of Prospect Heights, and they may roll out Jason Kidd and his Brooklyn-ready passes. But they must understand at the start: They are only falling in line behind all the ones who came before. And it's a long, wonderful line, indeed.

January 25th, 2004, 03:22 PM
You're reaching. While Long Island helps, the Nets success hardly relies on it.

It depends entirely on Long Island, why not build the arena on vacant land in Coney Island? Because the LIRR does not go to Coney Island./

Long Island I'm sure will be a major contributer. But the site also allows a great deal of City folk to get there easily by many trains and even in the case of outer-borough Brooklynites & Queens residents, by car. It'll probably end up 50/50, I'm guessing.

Coney Island isn't convenient to anyone, except Coney Island. It takes an hour to get there by subway from Brooklyn Heights.

January 25th, 2004, 03:47 PM
Also, arenas and stadiums today are being built as close to the center or downtowns of cites as possible....

January 25th, 2004, 04:37 PM
"You have almost 100 percent support," the mayor said, motioning toward the city and state leaders with him on stage. "This will go through."

Frankly, that's all that matters. City and state leaders. Nimby's are out of their league. Im glad that they will be put in their place.

January 26th, 2004, 02:21 AM
January 26, 2004

Some Nets Fans Demonstrate and Don't Come in From Cold

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Jan. 25 — A small but spirited collection of Nets fans outside Continental Arena on Sunday waved signs and chanted against the team's proposed move to Brooklyn.

A few dozen people gathered in single-digit temperatures, some with paint on their faces, others carrying signs that read, "Nets Don't Move" or "Brooklyn? Fuhgettaboudit." Plastic rats were handed out as a gibe at Bruce C. Ratner, the new owner.

Mike Kozlowski, founder of JoeNetsfan.com, arranged the demonstration. Kozlowski said he planned to keep protesting at future home games and unite with Patti Hagan, a leader of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition in Brooklyn, which opposes building the arena in Brooklyn that Ratner has proposed.

"I have to continue to get support from Nets fans, which obviously isn't easy given the history of Nets fans, but I think we can do it," said Kozlowksi, who lives in Waldwick, N.J.

Protesters were incensed that they could not take their signs into the arena. Security guards said they were ordered by arena officials to confiscate signs having to do with the sale.

"It's ludicrous," said Chris Suswal, a 32-year-old marketing consultant who is from Metuchen, N.J., and grew up as a Nets fan, but who now lives in Brooklyn. "I am on both sides of this issue — I don't want to see residents in Brooklyn ousted from their homes and I don't want to see New Jersey lose its team.."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 27th, 2004, 09:36 AM

Opposition to Nets is strictly NIMBY

I'm no pollster, but the only people I hear from in multiple numbers opposing the new Brooklyn Nets sports arena complex are the people of Prospect Heights.

I've received dozens of E-mails opposing this $2.5 billion construction project that would bring Brooklyn a 19,000-seat arena, 2 million square feet of commercial space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, and 4,500 new housing units, creating 15,000 temporary construction jobs and 10,000 new permanent jobs.

But 98% of the E-mails are from people from Prospect Heights, where some 800 people say they will lose their homes to eminent domain.

Eminent domain is never pretty. But we should remember that without it we would have no Lincoln Center, no Rockefeller Center, no Brooklyn Bridge and no Verrazano Bridge. We would never have had The World Trade Center.

Last week, I printed in this space a sampling of those E-mails from residents of Prospect Heights who would be displaced by eminent domain to make way for the new Nets complex. The angry letters made valid arguments taking issue with my support for the project in an earlier column.

Their voices deserved to be heard because they have a legit beef. Anyone who is forced to move out of his home has a right to rant, protest and sue. Most were furious with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who hatched this idea, and persuaded developer Bruce Ratner to bring his dream to life.

Most haven't been in Brooklyn long enough to remember his record, but I first met Markowitz in the 1970s when I was a young reporter for Flatbush Life and he was making his political bones fighting slumlords and greedy real estate swindlers in Flatbush. I carry no banners for politicians, but in my lifetime, no one has done more for tenants' rights in Brooklyn than Markowitz. So he doesn't arrive at eminent domain in the back of Ratner's limo. He arrives at it because he knows it's the best thing for Brooklyn, all of Brooklyn.

When I asked some Prospect Heights residents if they would still oppose the sports complex if Ratner found a way to spare their homes, about 98% said they would. They cited traffic, pollution, asthma and crime issues. One guy said he opposed the complex because it would bring in bars that "unfortunately tend to breed less than friendly behavior." Heaven help us, saloons in Brooklyn! All of which tells me that this comes down to old-fashioned Not In My Backyard.

I didn't receive one negative E-mail from Bay Ridge, Red Hook, Bed-Stuy, East New York, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gravesend, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Greenpoint, Windsor Terrace, Midwood, Crown Heights or Flatbush, where the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field.

I received a smattering of E-mails opposing the project from Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, from hypocritical yuppies who had no problem giving blue-collar natives the bum's rush from their homes with their eminent checkbooks, driving up the price of real estate beyond the borders of sanity, and then giving tenants the option of hitting the road or paying 300% rent increases.

But I've communicated with real people from all over Brooklyn who can't wait to root for a home team. And it has nothing to do with some syrupy nostalgia for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lammed west in 1957.

To begin with 39% of Brooklynites are new immigrants. Only about 30% of the population remembers Dem Bums.

So this isn't some hazy look back. It's a clear-eyed look ahead at an evolving Brooklyn in a new century. A home team will give wonderfully diverse Brooklyn something to collectively root for.

My brother Pete always reminds me that the most important thing that Jackie Robinson did for baseball when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 was not that that he integrated the playing field but that he integrated the stands.

Black and white, Brooklyn rooted for the home team.

Brooklyn needs that kind of common ground, that kind of allegiance, that kind of pride again.

If the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones proved anything, it was that Brooklyn craves a home team. Go there on a hot summer night when a cool breeze is blowing in off the Atlantic and you'll find Brooklynites of every racial, ethnic and socioeconomic group drinking beer and rooting for Brooklyn. The games sell out on a regular basis. It's helped give Brooklyn an identity.

Give Brooklyn a professional basketball team downtown near nine subway lines and Brooklyn will rock the rafters at every home game. People will be out before and after games, bringing light, density, commerce and safety to the streets, eating in restaurants and, yes, drinking in saloons, shopping in stores in places where Brooklynites will have permanent jobs.

This project will give Brooklyn a soul to match its enormous heart.


January 27th, 2004, 02:33 PM
I received a smattering of E-mails opposing the project from Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, from hypocritical yuppies who had no problem giving blue-collar natives the bum's rush from their homes with their eminent checkbooks, driving up the price of real estate beyond the borders of sanity, and then giving tenants the option of hitting the road or paying 300% rent increases.

this is such a good point. Gentrification cost many, many lower income people their homes every year, but it goes on...

January 27th, 2004, 03:16 PM
The Nets need approval of 75% of the NBA to make the move, does anyone know when this vote will take place?

January 27th, 2004, 03:50 PM
The sale proposal goes to review by an NBA finance committee, then a vote by team reps. I don't know when that happens.

One correction: The sale of the team requires 75% approval; the move requires a majority.

February 1st, 2004, 10:42 AM

Figuring in arena battle
News finds 383 residents would be displaced


In the escalating war between Bruce Ratner and Brooklyn activists trying to block his giant Nets arena project, the first casualty has been the truth.

The billionaire developer has been quoted as saying only 100 people would have to pack their bags and vacate the Prospect Heights site where the arena would rise, while opponents say 864 residents are threatened.

As it turns out, the real number is closer to Ratner's figure - about 383 people live in the footprint of the proposed sports arena and high-rise complex, the Daily News has learned.

Moreover, nearly half of the people included in the activists' estimate aren't renters or homeowners but clients of a city-operated homeless shelter, a leader of the arena's opponents has conceded.

Patti Hagan, president of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, said there are about 400 people in the shelter at 603 Dean St. They are included in the total of 864 people the coalition says would be displaced when Ratner moves his newly purchased Nets basketball team to Brooklyn.

"I think both Ratner and the activists have reasons for putting out their own figures," said Jonathan Bowles, research director of the Center for an Urban Future. "And I don't know that either side is believable."

Ratner envisions the area above the Long Island Rail Road yards on Atlantic Ave. between Flatbush and Vanderbilt Aves. - favorably located near a mass-transit hub - as a 19,000-seat arena surrounded by apartment towers and office and retail space.

Ratner spokesman Barry Baum has since clarified that the developer originally meant 100 units of housing would be destroyed - not that 100 people would be displaced. According to Baum, the Ratner camp is now saying that 146 individual homes will have to be condemned.

Meanwhile, Hagan defended the inclusion of the homeless center clients in her count, which she said she got by doing a door-to-door survey of the neighborhood.

"It is fair to count them in our census because they live on a block that will be condemned, and they belong here," Hagan said. "In any war, you use all the ammunition at hand."

However, according to Department of Homeless Services spokesman Jim Anderson, families staying at the 93-room facility aren't permanent residents. He said the homeless families - a total of about 350 people right now - stay there for up to 11 months before being placed in permanent housing.

But Hagan retorted: "While the Department of Homeless Services says these are temporary lodgings, in fact, it's a fairly stable population."

The Dean St. shelter opened in 2002 in the face of resistance from neighborhood groups, including the Prospect Heights Action Coalition.

Anderson called it "baffling, given [Hagan's] vocal and longstanding opposition to the shelter" that she would now include them in the area's "stable population."

If the city does bulldoze the homeless shelter, Anderson added, its clients would simply be placed in other city-run shelters.

The News' figure of 383 people who live in the stadium's footprint is derived from Census 2000 records that indicate about 250 people are residents of the six square blocks Ratner covets. The paper found in its survey that 133 additional people live in three recently occupied residential buildings that weren't included in the census, and added them to the final tally.

The city's latest development battleground is a neighborhood of low-rise industrial buildings and brick rowhouses interspersed with a handful of auto repair shops, bars and bodegas. Its dominant feature is the rail yards that lie east of Flatbush Ave. and to the north of largely residential Dean and Pacific Sts.

While Ratner's $2.5 billion plan to build the Nets arena, 4,400 apartments and 2.4 million square feet of office and retail space would certainly transform the neighborhood, real estate sources said the area already was on the upswing.

"I know developers who are planning to build straight through this area," said Hal Lehrman Jr., co-owner of Brooklyn Properties, a local real estate office. "That has nothing to do with the Nets; it will happen anyway."

And local residents facing eviction want to dispel the notion that their neighborhood is a gritty urban wasteland.

"It's disheartening to hear this block described in terms of factories and tenement houses," said Zafra Whitcomb, 32, who lives at 475 Dean St. "It's a thriving residential block because people put sweat and tears into converting industrial spaces."


Zafra Whitcomb vows to fight to keep his home from being taken away to make way for the Ratner Development to begin on Atlantic Avenue.


Violin maker Samuel Zygmuntowicz opposes arena. His apartment at 475 Dean St. overlooks the Prospect Heights site.

February 9th, 2004, 01:00 AM
Activists Rally in Support of Brooklyn Nets Project

By Glenn Thrush
Staff Writer

February 8, 2004, 6:04 PM EST

About 50 Brooklyn Nets boosters rallied at City Hall yesterday to
announce their support for the controversial arena, residential and
office complex.

"We want the community benefits that this project can bring," said
Darnell Canada, president of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local
Development, or BUILD.

Leaders of the new group, which represents local unions, businesses
and community organizations, say they aren't in cahoots with
developer Bruce Ratner, who bought the Nets last month for $300

BUILD is renting offices and will register as a nonprofit so they
can raise money, said executive director Eric Blackwell, who
wouldn't disclose the group's donors.

Blackwell said the group was formed to counter efforts of anti-Nets
activists who claim the project will hurt surrounding neighborhoods
of Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Fort Greene. Between 150 and 854
residents would be displaced under eminent domain, depending on who
you ask.

Rev. Herbert Daughtry, who has opposed the plan, said he wasn't
surprised that pro-Net groups were surfacing. "Obviously there are
two sides to this question," said Daughtry, whose church is located
a few blocks from the arena. "Our position is that the people who
are doing this development need to go through the process of meeting
with community leaders. I have lived in this community for 35 years
and they haven't invited me yet."

In addition to the arena, Ratner plans to build 4,500 using of
housing and commercial towers and millions of square feet of office

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who backs the project, has said it will
generate as much as $400 million a year in economic activity. The
city is considering a package of deferred tax payments or tax
exemptions to make the project economically viable, officials have

Blackwell said he would withdraw his support if Ratner doesn't
guarantee him "a real benefit agreement that ensures that this
project and any other project downtown addresses our critical

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

February 9th, 2004, 08:57 AM
From the Daily News. Glad to see it's not only the NIMBYs that can make noise. :D


Nabe plays 'D' for Nets


The neighborhood cheering section for the Brooklyn Nets has arrived.

Trying to drown out criticism, a newly formed coalition of area residents gathered yesterday to show support for the $2.5 billion plan for an arena, apartments, office and retail space at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves.

"We're coming from across the board - tenants association, merchants association," said Darnell Canada, president of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD). "We want the community benefits that this project can bring: jobs, opportunities in every facet that will help our community. Too long have we been deprived of economic growth inside our community."

Organizers said BUILD was not bankrolled by developer Bruce Ratner, who bought the New Jersey Nets basketball team last month and wants to move it to Prospect Heights.

"Mr. Ratner had no role in helping this group mobilize - this is an independent group of community-minded people who read papers every day just like everyone else," said Eric Blackwell, executive director of BUILD.

Opponents have said the project will displace hundreds of residents and destroy the neighborhood.

But BUILD members said they hope the new development will provide jobs and opportunities for people who live in surrounding housing projects, such as the Fort Greene and Farragut Houses, where unemployment rates are high.

Originally published on February 9, 2004

February 10th, 2004, 09:13 AM

The plan's a Net plus

As far as Virginia Martinez is concerned, we all should be so lucky as to be bought out by Bruce Ratner. The Brooklyn-born mother of four was relocated in the mid-1980s to make way for Ratner's glittering MetroTech office complex.

"Bruce Ratner is my hero," says the 65-year-old Martinez. Quite a statement from someone who originally opposed MetroTech. She signed on when Ratner personally intervened to assure she and her family would get an apartment of equal size and rent within a block of the old address.

"Ratner keeps his promises," says Martinez.

Today, Ratner is the man behind a $2.5 billion development that would bring millions more square feet of office space, 4,500 new homes, an estimated 10,000 permanent jobs and the NBA's Nets to downtown Brooklyn.

This chunk of New York, with its impossible-to-replicate infrastructure, was built for density, for a grand-scale urban vision. Yet its only landmark is the lovely, lonely Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower, known for housing more dentists' offices than any building in America.

Unless Brooklyn's economic future is to depend on a brisk trade in mouth rinse and dental floss, this won't do.

Ratner's arena is a transformative, visionary project that would make Brooklyn the preeminent business center and tourist destination between Manhattan and Boston. But this being New York, there are those who would gladly do the project in.

First-term City Councilwoman Letitia James wants to torpedo the deal. "Develop, don't destroy," is her mantra. The argument: Ratner's plan would "crush" the residential community and "strain" its roads and mass transit.

Further from the truth one could not be. The 21-acre development site, known as Atlantic Yards, consists mostly of a canyon-size void created by Long Island Rail Road tracks that slice the community in two. Ratner's project would knit together several diverse neighborhoods including Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill and Park Slope.

As for getting there, the Atlantic Ave. station, which faces the site, houses nine subway lines and the LIRR station.

The real sticking point in Ratner's plan is that roughly 140 residences must be relocated. "Moving people from their homes is understandably anxiety-producing," said Ratner.

But based on his record and Mayor Bloomberg's assurance that folks will be well handled, it's hard to imagine that anyone will be left feeling mistreated. Some officials believe condo owners and landlords will be paid upward of 150% of the value of their properties. Renters can expect to be moved to comparable nearby apartments, just as Virginia Martinez was.

Sometimes, though, opponents win. Think back to Westway's failure, which hobbled the development of the West Side for a generation. For history to repeat itself on this project - which would return major-league sports to Brooklyn in a setting designed by genius architect Frank Gehry - would be shameful. If you don't like this project, you don't like urbanism writ large.

If, however, an opponent like Letitia James is just out to extract the best deal for her constituents, fair enough - as long as she understands that the worst deal for them would be no deal at all.