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October 1, 2008

Pete Hamill suggests violation of Brooklyn scale animates the AY opposition, but there's much more

Atlantic Yards Report

Native Brooklynite and author Pete Hamill returns to the South Slope for New York Magazine's 40th anniversary issue, in a piece headlined Brooklyn Revisited, and eventually touches on Atlantic Yards.

However, because he's only a casual observer of the Atlantic Yards fight, I think he misses a key point: much of the opposition to and criticism of Atlantic Yards goes beyond issues of scale.

Hamill writes:

...when the scale has been violated, by apartment houses or housing projects, two things are always lost: a sense of community, and beauty. The big Stalinesque apartment houses now rising on Fourth Avenue seem like faceless transients from Area Code 800. An apartment house, after all, is rarely a community. But above all, they violate any sense of Brooklyn scale. That is why much of the opposition to the Atlantic Yards project is so bitter. Brooklyn is not Frank Gehry. It’s Edward Hopper.

Atlantic Yards Report blogger Norman Oder adds:

Still, the eight- or ten- or 12-story apartment houses along Fourth Avenue are considerably smaller than the buildings--20, 30, 40, and 50+ stories--planned for Atlantic Yards. (Heck, the arena itself would be 150 feet tall, or 15 stories.)

Oder continues:

An updated analysis of the Atlantic Yards opposition would acknowledge that it's driven less by a violation of scale than a violation of process, the bypass of democratic accountability, leaving four underinformed political appointees on the board of the Empire State Development Corporation 15 minutes to approve the project, without the local input that would've been required in the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

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Posted by lumi at October 1, 2008 6:42 AM