February 24, 2010
Brooklyn authenticity, Atlantic Yards, and those "Brownstone" and "Loft" suites now being marketed for the Barclays Center
Atlantic Yards Report
The term "authenticity" is being bandied about a lot these days, thanks to sociologist Sharon Zukin's new book Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, subject of a major article in Sunday's New York Times and a forum at CUNY's Gotham Center for New York History. (Also see this interview with Zukin.)
And the concept has been used, rather aggressively, both to justify a new basketball arena in Brooklyn and to market arena suites named Loft and Brownstone, both references to Brooklyn features erased for the project.
But what exactly is authenticity? Zukin writes:
Claiming authenticity becomes prevalent at a time when identities are unstable and people are judged by their performance rather than by their history or innate character. Under these conditions authenticity differentiates a person, a product, or a group from its competitors; it confers an aura of moral superiority, a strategic advantage that each can use to its own benefit. In reality, few groups can be authentic in the contradictory ways that we use the term: on the one hand, being primal, historically first or true to a traditional vision, and on the other hand, being unique, historically new, innovative, and creative. In modern times, though it may not be necessary for a group to be authentic; it may be enough to claim to see authenticity in order to control its advantages.
If authenticity has a schizoid quality, it can also be deliberately made up of bits and pieces of cultural references...
NoLandGrab: Authenticity is most definitely not Brett Yormark's "Loft" and "Brownstone" suites.
Posted by eric at February 24, 2010 11:06 AM