(pic swiped from the Atlantic Yards Report)
While Forest City Ratner has yet to deliver affordable housing the immediate area surrounding Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, they did manage to build what is surely the only open-to-the-public meditation room in an NBA arena. Though the New York Times’ Andrew Keh claims the room has few, if any visitors, he credits it’s existential existence to the Reverend Herbert Daugherty, “a Brooklyn pastor who has long been one of Atlantic Yards’ most ardent supporters.”
“Life is more than stone and steel and stuff,” said Mr. Daughtry, who heads the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church. “It’s about values, decency, fairness, trying to teach people that there’s more to life than materialism.”
Mr. Daughtry’s opponents argue that he has been co-opted by Forest City, and they point to the group he founded, the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance, which was seeded with $50,000 from the developer. Mr. Daughtry’s family members oversee other programs that the developer funds to benefit the community. One of Mr. Daughtry’s daughters is in charge of distributing dozens of free tickets for each Nets game. Another daughter will run the arena’s community events program. His wife picked out the meditation room’s furnishings.
Mr. Daughtry said he was used to being criticized as “a sellout,” but he has taken a pragmatic approach. “Can you imagine all this is happening three or four blocks from my church, and all I had done was criticize from the side?” he said. “And my members and children are asking: ‘Can we get tickets? What happened? Why aren’t you involved?’ ”
A fan wearing a Nets shirt said he had seen a sign on the concourse for the meditation room but had never bothered to see what it was. The fan, who gave his name only as Sayani, said he did not think he ever would.
“The only time I would have used it was the game we blew to Toronto, when Deron Williams made that stupid pass into the backcourt,” said the fan, a manager at a nearby P. C. Richard & Son store. “Then I would have needed to meditate.”