Q: I’ve lived a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Avenue subway stop for 14 years, so I’m obviously way interested in this whole Brooklyn Nets deal. Know of any websites where I can keep track of the issues?
New Nets owner Bruce Ratner didn’t waste much time taking his pro-stadium case to the Web. www.Bball.net is the real estate developer’s site, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a dude with a billion bucks—slick and well designed, albeit a little short on the nitty-gritty details. There are plenty of images of what the proposed stadium will look like, including a computer model of a skybox view—which, suffice it to say, is a view you and Mr. Roboto will likely never enjoy in meatspace, unless Powerball comes through. There’s also the standard archive of press releases, and some fast facts on Brooklyn for non-New Yorkers.
What’s lacking on Ratner’s site is any in-depth discussion of how the proposed arena will affect locals like yourself, aside from a few general platitudes about doing it all for the borough’s greater glory. For the skeptical perspective, your best bet is nostadium.homestead.com, operated by some concerned Brooklynites. It’s got anti-arena statements from a number of politicians, statistics from the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, and a frequently updated log of news stories. There’s also an intriguing chat feature to connect you with fellow doubters, though don’t expect a lively discussion 24-7—Mr. Roboto logged in a couple of times and was the only soul in the digital room.
Speaking of news stories, you can also keep up with the coverage by visiting brooklynnets.blogspot.com, a spare yet helpful site run by a pro-Ratner blogger who goes by “BN2BKLYN.” The commentary might rankle you a bit if you’re an arena opponent, but there are plenty of links to stories that both criticize and praise the stadium.
If your stadium jones isn’t satisfied by examining the Nets situation alone, you can also surf some sites dealing with the proposed Jets home—and possible Olympics venue—on Manhattan’s West Side. The pro side can be found at www.westsidestadium.org, run by longtime Chelsea resident Tom McMorrow. Legendary Jets fan Fireman Ed recently gave the site his personal seal of approval, so you know it’s gotta be golden.
Fireman Ed likely wouldn’t be too happy with the blog-happy folks at newyorkgames.org, whose main focus is opposing the 2012 Olympics, but who have also been covering other stadium issues in New York and New Jersey. Another good place for the anti perspective is the community site hellskitchen.net, which has posted lots of public-domain documents that ostensibly detail how a stadium in their nabe would lead to higher taxes, higher rents, and lots of empty Doritos wrappers from wasted, inconsiderate Jets fans.
Mr. Roboto would be remiss, of course, if he didn’t mention Voice contributor Neil deMause’s fieldofschemes.com, which he runs with Joanna Cagan. The domain name, doubtless, tips you off to deMause’s point of view—he basically thinks that sports owners who beg for publicly financed stadia are swindlers, although deMause’s tone isn’t quite that fire-and-brimstone. The nicest touch is the range of links to several economic studies, which largely debunk the notion that stadia are worth the public funds.
You’ve hopefully noticed that Mr. Roboto’s tried to be as fair and evenhanded as possible in the above recommendations. That’s partly because, hey, journalistic ethics and all. But there’s also a fond hope that, if the Nets’ Brooklyn move falls through somehow, maybe Kenyon Martin will get fed up and sign with Mr. Roboto’s beloved Los Angeles Clippers. A robot can dream, can’t he?
If you’re anything like Mr. Roboto—and Lord help you if that’s the case—then you’re pretty lazy about jotting down business card info in your PDA. Worth a look, then, is the CardScan 600c, an older product that Mr. Roboto’s just starting to dig. It’ll scan and organize all the cards you’ve got rubber-banded together in your desk. Yeah, it’ll muck up the occasional contact info, especially on more creatively designed meishi. But anything that limits using Palm graffiti is OK by Mr. Roboto.