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May 20, 2012

Amanda Burden gets buffed (again) in the Times; what's missing: where things didn't work out as promised (BK waterfront, Downtown Brooklyn), where the city punted (Atlantic Yards), and the failure to plan

Atlantic Yards Report

City Planning Commissioner Chairwoman Amanda Burden a mostly laudatory profile in today's New York Times Metropolitan section, Amanda Burden Wants to Remake New York. She Has 19 Months Left., which lets the protagonist claim, “I like to say that our ambitions are as broad and far-reaching as those of Robert Moses, but we judge ourselves by Jane Jacobs’s standards."

The writer, real estate reporter Julie Satow, gives a nod to a few critics of Burden, but not author Roberta Brandes Gratz, who demolished that supposed Jacobs/Moses duality in her book The Battle for Gotham, or others who've blanched at Burden's arrogance.

Nor is there any sober criticism from a mainstream figure like Alex Garvin--who, the article reveals, was Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff's choice for the post Burden got--who has consistently warned that the city has failed to support "the public realm," parks and transportation improvements that would more organically support and drive growth.

There's a lot in the article about Burden's elegant appearance and Social Register background, but the reporter ignores or forgets several examples, including Atlantic Yards, Downtown Brooklyn, the Fourth Avenue rezoning, Yankee Stadium, and the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront, where things didn't work out as Burden planned or professed. (Here's an epic critique of Burden, from Noticing New York's Michael D.D. White in September 2008.)

Nor does Burden's cheerleading for eminent domain, as with the Columbia University expansion or the (very different-than-planned) Willets Point rezoning, get a nod.

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Posted by steve at May 20, 2012 11:05 AM