Guess what tidbit slipped in almost unnoticed among the ecstatic fiscal prognostications of Bloomberg’s recent budget speech? Turns out Mayor Mike — in between doling out tax breaks like the Republican he purports to be and money for the arts like the Democrat we know he secretly is — hasn’t forgotten his pal Bruce Ratner. He is doubling the city’s direct subsidy to the Atlantic Yards megaproject. Yup, City Hall is now set to kick $205 million across the Manhattan Bridge; for context, that’s more than 5 percent of New York’s overall budget surplus. How did the mayor avoid media hoopla over this? (Other, that is, than a dutifully outraged press release from Develop Don’t Destroy?) Here’s how: The funding is for “infrastructure improvements” that are supposedly independent of the construction. They just happen to be, um, concurrent with it.
Sometimes we forget that, taxer or spender, Bloomberg is first and foremost a businessman.