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May 5, 2008

Monday-Morning Tabloid War??

Yikes, a tabloid war broke out this morning over, of all things, Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project!

So Miss Brooklyn shaved her head and changed her name, a couple of buildings seem to be missing from the new architectural drawings (including all of Phase 2), there's a rumble in the "temporary" surface parking lot, but is that any reason to go mano-a-mano over a bunch of buildings?

It is if the project includes the use of eminent domain, the most expensive arena (EVER!) and many high-rise towers on 22-acres nestled in the heart of Brownstone Brooklyn, and is facing an uncertain economic climate and mounting delays.


Never mind that Bruce Ratner, who truthfully has trouble telling the truth, is waging a serious publicity campaign, promising to build the entire project in a whopping ten years, flashing his self-proclaimed "progressive" credentials and staging counter-protests.

Does this smack of desperation and vitriol on Ratner's part? Are project critics sensing vulnerability and stepping up their own pr campaign to expose more of the underbelly of the project that's gobbling up Brooklyn?

All we know is that Brooklynites woke up today to two distinct visions of the controversial Atlantic Yards megaproject.

Forest City Ratner granted the NY Daily News the exclusive sneak peek at the latest designs by Frank Gehry, which only show a partially realized redesign of Phase 1.

[Since the "exclusive" is usually reserved for The NY Times, some readers will naturally conclude that the Times has somewhat fallen out of favor with the Ratner camp after the Ratner interview and accompanying architectural criticism touched off a shockwave of indignation over the admission that major portions of the project, including most of the affordable housing, will be delayed.]

The gleaming new renderings fill a black void that might represent the rest of Brooklyn. Frank Gehry described "Building 1," which replaced the inanely named "Miss Brooklyn," as more "festive;" the News likens it to "a spiraling Lego structure."

In the other corner of the tabloid duel, the Post got the exclusive on renderings released by the Municipal Art Society (MAS), which combine Bruce Ratner's admission that the project is facing delays (that's the admission before this weekend's assertion by Ratner to the contrary) with Ratner's long-standing plan to take down every building in the footprint to make way for a temporary surface parking lot (a particularly contentious issue for MAS).

It seems that MAS guessed wrong as to what residential building Ratner planned to build first (it would be the red-n-pink one instead), but the view from Vanderbilt seems to conform with Ratner's plans to use land in the footprint that is not under construction as a staging area and "interim surface parking lot" for arena goers and and construction workers.

Nearly a year and a half after the project's official approval by the NY State Public Authorities Control Board, who knew that the "done deal" would still be in play and that Ratner would wage a pr campaign as if he had his back against the ropes, or that so many of the questions about the public costs and benefits would remain unanswered?

NY Daily News, Atlantic Yards' Miss Brooklyn is slashed more than 100 feet in massive redo
Atlantic Yards Report, New renderings show Miss Brooklyn cut (duh), renamed, "more festive," but questions unanswered
Atlantic Yards Report, In Post, visions of blight at arena block, rest of AY footprint

Posted by lumi at May 5, 2008 7:21 AM