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November 9, 2006

A Sporting Chance

[The second of two articles about Forest City Ratner's proposed development in Brooklyn. Also read Nikil Saval's "Building Miss Brooklyn."]

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By Jonathan Liu

A Nets fan warms up to a Gehry arena:

Gehry’s proposal can’t casually be dismissed as an affront to urban history; in fact, it has a potential to be a part of that history in way that no architecture of nostalgia can claim. The authenticity of a place as volatile and heterodox as Brooklyn, and New York in general, lies in incongruity, the disorienting juxtaposition of century-old brownstones and Gehry’s warped, twisting towers. This is what built Penn Station, and this is what destroyed it—an impulse often catalyzed by objectionable individuals, and not one we should always follow. But to reject it outright, to reject any such impulse as a disruption of some putatively authentic civic reality, to reject Gehry on the basis of “context,” seems a disavowal of the progress of urban life itself.

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NoLandGrab: Liu's point is well taken when considered out of context of the historically unprecedented scale, unparalleled density, more traffic at one of the most congested intersections in Brooklyn, lack of a comprehensive regional transportation plan, more eminent domain for another Bruce Ratner project, terrorism and security concerns, super-duperblocks, lack of local land-use review, Orwellian lack of transparency, etc., etc.

To compare Atlantic Yards to Penn Station is an affront to Atlantic Yards, which dwarfs the Penn Station/Penn Plaza/MSG complex and would be a singular beacon of overdevelopment.

Posted by lumi at November 9, 2006 10:48 AM