Last night, I met friends and fellow members of The Atlantic Yards Media Consortium (I just made up that group name). The journalist at the table had invited the other 3 out for dinner and drinks as a way to thank us for our work in providing photos and video for use on his blog. Many of us in the anti-Atlantic Yards camp try to avoid patronizing businesses and organizations which support Ratner’s Atlantic Yards plans and/or receive material support from Ratner. Boycotts like these are always less than 100%, as many businesses and institutions are often small pieces of very large puzzles of global international enterprises. Also, the entities and/or their representatives very often support many public and non-profit institutions, knowing that spreading money far and wide makes good business sense, as it’s very hard to bite the hand that feeds. To avoid contributing to Forest City Ratner’s bottom line or the balance sheets of its allies, directly or otherwise, isn’t so easy.
- Forest City Ratner: Easy to avoid? They own many real estate developments (like the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center Malls, which sit north of Atlantic Avenue from the proposed Atlantic Yards site, as well as MetroTech Center), so keeping track of each property they own may not be simple. There’s a listing of the properties on their parent company’s (Forest City Enterprises) website, so that may help.
- Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls: Obvious and pretty easy. One of the closest and best stocked office supply stores, Office Max is in the Atlantic Center Mall. Also, Target will make inexpensive photo prints from Flickr in about an hour. The NYS DMV is also located here, and this branch is relatively pleasant to deal with, as far as large bureaucracies go. I can avoid all of them.
- MetroTech Center: NEW! Easy. I rarely, if ever, venture here. The few times I have been here were for free concerts or to photograph various and assorted FCR/Atlantic Yards events. No more concerts here for me.
- UA Court Street Stadium 12 Theater: NEW! (thanks for the tip, NoLandGrab) Easy. I’ve only seen movies at this theater when I’m desperate for some Hollywood-Blockbuster-Escapism. It’s also one of “those” theaters where running commentary from the audience is inevitable, and often times better than the movie’s dialog. I’ll miss this place when I’m jonesing to be annoyed.
- 42nd St. Retail and Entertainment Complex: NEW! Drop-Dead Easy. I loathe Times Square! From FCR’s website, one feature of the property is that it “is steps away from … the 24-hour, neon signage of Times Square.” Businesses at the site’s 234 West 42nd Street address (according to Google) include AMC Empire 25 movie theater, Madame Tussauds, Applebee’s, Hilton Times Square, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Dave & Buster’s. I might miss seeing a movie here, but probably not.
- The New York Times Building: NEW! Easy. Major tenants include: The New York Times, Legg Mason, Covington & Burling LLP, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Barclays Center / New Jersey Nets, JAMS The Resolution Experts, Markit Group Limited, MUJI, Dean and DeLuca Cafe, Inakaya. Most of these tenants, I’m guessing, are law firms whom I’ve never used. I’ve cancelled my subscription to the NYT years ago (although I do still have a subscription to their crosswords), and I should be able to easily avoid the rest, particularly the Barclays Center and NJ Nets.
- Harlem Center: NEW! Easy. Tenants include: Staples, H&M, Washington Mutual, Planet Fitness, Dunkin Donuts, Marshall’s.
- East River Plaza: NEW! Easy. Tenants include: The Home Depot, Best Buy, Target.
- Museum of Jewish Heritage: NEW! Easy. I went to this museum for the first time (and possibly last time) to see the exhibit Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges. I thought the subject was very compelling, but the actual exhibit, not so much. It’s a great space on a sweet Hudson River location, but I won’t miss going there.
- New York Mercantile Exchange: NEW! Easy. I can’t imagine ever needing the services of “the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals.”
- New Jersey Nets: Obvious and easy. I was never a hard-core sports fan, and if I were to watch basketball, it would likely be NCAA March Madness. I rather play a good pick-up game with friends than spend lots of money to watch a live game, or to sit in front of a TV. And, if they ever move to Brooklyn, I can’t image I’ll ever spend money to see them at the Barclays Center (assuming that’s what the arena will be called).
- Anheuser-Busch: Easy. I want urine to leave my body, and I certainly don’t want to pay good money to drink someone else’s.
- Brooklyn Brewery: Moderate. I really do like their beers, especially their Brooklyn Lager and East India Pale Ale. I’d drink one on someone else’s tab, like I did one too many times last night.
- Brooklyn Museum: Moderate. Great all-ages First Saturday events. Sometimes, great art. I even participated in their Click! crowd-curated exhibition. However, they honored Bruce Ratner with their Augustus Graham Medal which the Museum states “is presented annually in recognition of exceptional community involvement, generous patronage of the arts, and outstanding contribution to the Museum.”
- Brooklyn Academy of Music: This is tough. Great movie theater, music and dance venue a short walk from home. A representative testified in favor of Atlantic Yards at the ESDC hearings and a pivotal MTA Board meeting. This will make it very difficult for me to enjoy myself, with a clear conscience, at future BAM events. I admit I probably won’t boycott them 100% for ever and ever, ever.
- Barclays: Easy. My finances are handled elsewhere, and I don’t think I’ll ever need what they’re peddling.
- Phillips-Van Heusen: Moderate. They’re such a huge conglomerate and I’ve bought some of their brands in the past (Calvin Klein underwear, VanHeusen shirts, Kenneth Cole shoes, Timberland boots, Tommy Hilfiger swim trunks) but could live without buying any more. I’ll miss Kenneth Cole most; I like their shoes.
- Jones Soda: Easy. I don’t drink soda, except tonic water, if mixed with the right amounts of lime and quality gin. I’m pretty sure they don’t make tonic water.
- EmblemHealth: Easy. I get my heath insurance elsewhere.
- Junior’s Cheesecake: Easy. [Updated, again] They supported Atlantic Yards at the recent ESDC Board meeting, the MTA Board meeting, the Community Board Informational Meeting, and at the ESDC public hearing. Like most of the enterprises that would be in the orbit of Atlantic Yards, they anticipate increased business from Atlantic Yards visitors and residents.
- Cushman & Wakefield: Easy. I don’t expect to be buying or selling real estate anytime soon. Hopefully, Atlantic Yards and its effect on the neighborhood (if it’s ever built) won’t make me want to move, and if it were to make me move, hopefully I wouldn’t want to buy a place they’d be selling.
- ADT: Easy. I use another security service.
- MGM Grand: Easy. I went to Foxwoods once for a blind date (who never showed). I don’t like to gamble and hate casinos (and most blind dates suck).
[ Updated August 5, 2009 to add MetroTech Center, UA Court Street Stadium 12 Theater, 42nd Street Retail and Entertainment Group, The New York Times Building, Harlem Center, East River Plaza, Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York Mercantile Exchange ]
What else have I missed?