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December 22, 2006

Miss Brooklyn, though shorter, would still block the clock

Atlantic Yards Report is too polite to say that making Miss Brooklyn one foot shorter than the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building is creating a technicality out of a real urban design concern, thus turning the debate into a joke.

It was a concession, right? Among several relatively minor changes announced Wednesday, Forest City Ratner agreed to lower the announced 620-foot Miss Brooklyn tower a sliver below that of the iconic 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank nearby.

Or was it?

Yes, it met the request of Borough President Marty Markowitz, who in his August 23 oral testimony on the Atlantic Yards plan had called for the bank to remain the borough's tallest building.

But many residents also asked that architect Frank Gehry's self-described "ego trip" not block the bank's signature clock tower. To achieve that, the developer would have had to make a much greater sacrifice: make the tower even smaller and/or move its footprint.

Indeed, Jasper Goldman, who studied the plan for the Municipal Art Society (MAS), confirmed to me: "The Williamsburgh Savings Bank is blocked by Miss Brooklyn from Grand Army Plaza because of its location, not its height. To retain this view corridor, the developer would need to move Miss Brooklyn to the east."

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Posted by lumi at December 22, 2006 9:18 AM