In front of Nathan's, Coney Island, 2007


In front of Nathan's, Coney Island, 2007

Back in 1998, Neil deMause co-authored a book called “Field of Schemes” that analyzed the slew of 1980s and 1990s stadium deals that had turned who cities into profit centers for wealthy sports franchises. The book almost instantly became a reference for those covering or fighting the next round of stadium deals: I know because, as a young Hartford Advocate reporter in 1998, I interviewed deMause when the New England Patriots came to Connecticut’s capital looking for space and money to build a new home.

The Brooklyn Wars,” deMause’s new work (from Second System Press) is a retrospective that could prove similarly prospective. A recounting of the Brooklyn land-use battles that deMause witnessed and covered, from Coney Island to Fulton Street to Atlantic Yards, the book comes as New York plunges into a new round of neighborhood rezonings.

I spoke with deMause last week about the lessons—about race, inequality, the market and more—that emerge from the Bloomberg-era rezonings. An edited version of our talk is below. If you want to hear more from him, he’s appearing at Silent Barn tonight:

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City Limits’ coverage of housing and development is supported by the New York Community Trust and the Charles H. Revson Foundation.