A pair of CNN “town halls” on climate change for Democratic presidential candidates went on as scheduled Wednesday night at the cable channel’s Hudson Yards studios — no thanks to deranged Yards-haters who won’t forgive developer Stephen Ross for hosting a recent Donald Trump fundraiser.
Elected officials and save-the-earth zealots tried their worst to oust the climate-change session from the area.
A bunch of them — including Queens City Council member Costa Constantinides, Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato and members of the Democratic Socialists of America and the Women’s Action Group of Forest Hills — last month urged CNN president Jeff Zucker to move the forum to a waterfront location like the Rockaways, which is theoretically at greater risk from theoretically climate-change-driven storms than sites in Manhattan.
Ahem: Couldn’t Hudson Yards, separated from the Hudson River by only a single block with a sunken rail yard, be threatened, too? But it was never really about that at all.
Constantinides gave away the game in a tweet noting that Hudson Yards is “a luxury development built by Trump pal Stephen Ross, who’s raised millions for the climate-denier-in-chief.”
Only in a climate of ideological rigor mortis could objections to a climate-change venue gain enough traction for respected real-estate and architecture site Curbed.com to feel the need to post a lengthy article on Sept. 4 rebutting them.
In six short months since the opening, Hudson Yards has become a one-stop-shopping (pun intended) target for every kind of “intersectional” outrage. The hypocrisy of talking about climate change there! Ross is friends with Trump, who doesn’t believe in climate change!
Environmental abuse! Ugly buildings for the 1 percent! Overpriced hamburgers!
In recent weeks, Ross-bashers mounted a zero-results “boycott” of the Equinox health clubs, in which Ross is an investor, while fashion designers Vera Wang and Michael Kors pulled out of plans to show their Fashion Week collections inside the Yards’ cultural and arts facility, The Shed.
The fashionistas’ Shed snub is especially demented. Related doesn’t make a dime off the building (it’s a nonprofit, independently run operation), and its $500 million in funding came mainly from private donors, including $75 million from that well-known earth-despoiler, Michael “Ban Carbon” Bloomberg.
Hudson Yards, which brought life, commerce and oodles of free public space to a previously wasted rail yard, makes a fat and easy target for haters of capitalist enterprise and sensible urban renewal. Architectural critics slammed it long before it opened.
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“Affordable housing” advocates condemned it because most of the new apartments were expensive. Never mind that Related has created more truly affordable new units — including some at Hudson Yards — than any other developer in America.
Does Ross subscribe to Trump’s climate-change denial? The opposite: He’s a longtime advocate for solutions to the perils of climate change as a board member of the World Resources Institute. He founded and is a major donor of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.
Hudson Yards itself has been praised in nonpolitical circles as a model of sustainable design.
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But in the alternative woke universe, anyone or any organization that even slightly breaks with the party line on hating Trump is to be demonized — unless, that is, the person or company’s too much of a useful tool of the woke crowd to be called out for their transgression.
It’s easy for them to pick on Hudson Yards, which stands for everything they despise — capitalism, the reclamation of wasted land for public good, and polyglot urban energy that refutes leftists’ received wisdom about inevitable decline.
If the loudmouths who sought to shame Hudson Yards over the climate session had any guts, they wouldn’t let CNN — the media outfit most hostile to Trump, who calls it “garbage” and Perpetrator No. 1 of “fake news” — off the hook for being at the site at all.
CNN and its parent company, WarnerMedia, pay Ross’ Related Companies a fortune in rent. It isn’t as if Ross’ political leanings are a secret to them: They’ve been pals with him as far back as 2000, when what was then called Time Warner signed on to be the anchor tenant of Related’s Time Warner Center at Hudson Yards.
Surely it’s time for those leading the Equinox “boycott” to go after CNN next. But something tells us it will be a long wait.