Bruce Ratner, Arch-Ironist

The Brooklyn Academy of Music and Forest City Ratner just announced a partnership to host a handful of large-scale events at the Barclays Center beginning after the Nets inaugural season there in 2012-2013. In an interview with The Times, Bruce Ratner gave an interesting explanation for the BAM/Barclays hook-up:

“I always like to put things that are a little bit ironic together. So here you have a place like BAM, which is a great contemporary-arts cultural institution, and then you have an arena, which, people think about sports and circus and so on. And then you put them together, and then I think you’ve got something special.”

Indeed, Mr. Ratner has been a master of irony through decades of development:

  • He had a rapidly gentrifying stretch of Brooklyn declared blighted, and then condemned.
  • He has acquired a taste for hip-hop.
  • He gets the light touch from the newspaper of record whose headquarters he built.
  • He lives in Manhattan.
  • He hired, then fired, Frank Gehry from the Atlantic Yards project after a lifetime of developing blasé buildings.
  • Ratner’s rats.

(If these are not exactly ironic, well, neither is a cultural institution putting on shows in a sports arena, either.) Bruce Ratner, Arch-Ironist