You remember Battle for Brooklyn, the documentary which chronicles the eminent domain fight over New York's Atlantic Yards project? (Read our review of the film here to refresh your recollection.)
Well here's the latest chapter. Or perhaps "epilogue" is more appropriate, because the former property owners have long since been evicted, the homes have been razed, and the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets are ensconced in the Barclays Center. (The promised affordable housing and "jobs, jobs, jobs?" Eh, not so much, but who's counting?)
According to this story in the New York Times, preservationists are planning to award the private beneficiaries of the city's exercise of eminent domain something called the "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal." Seriously:
The Municipal Art Society is well known for campaigns to save Grand Central Terminal and Lever House and to stop towers that would have cast long shadows over Central Park.But now the civic organization is the one defending itself, for deciding to award the developer Bruce C. Ratner its highest honor, one named for the very person who led some of those fights.Next week, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal — a recognition of “individuals who, by their work and deeds, have made an outstanding contribution to New York City” — is to be given to Mr. Ratner and his successor as chief executive of Forest City Ratner, MaryAnne Gilmartin.
See "Plan to Honor Big Developer in Brooklyn is Criticized." The critics in the NYT story are headed by none other than Dan Goldstein, the protagonist of Battle for Brooklyn and the leading spokesman for those who objected to the use of eminent domain to take their homes for a basketball arena:“By giving Bruce Ratner this award, the Municipal Art Society is condoning his actions and encouraging every other developer to follow his lead,” said Daniel Goldstein, who was among those who lost their homes to Atlantic Yards.A spokesman for Forest City Ratner expressed gratitude for the award but declined to comment further.Seems a bit odd to us to award a "medal" celebrating the preservation of the city to someone who was noted as an "innovative and tenacious builder" who has "left her mark" on the New York skyline. We think that maybe it's time to rename the medal for Jay Z, an enthusiastic supporter of Barclay's, and not Jackie O.
For more on the controversy, see "The Orwellian Award," a comment by the makers of Battle for Brooklyn.