September 20, 2012
Capital New York's McGeveran: phase 1 of Ratner's rehabilitation is successful, but next phase will be harder; also, Hamill's "two-page gloat"
Atlantic Yards Report
Capital New York co-founder Tom McGeveran, who opposed the Atlantic Yards arena, writes in an email to subscribers (not on the web, thus reproduced in full), a thoughtful, more supportive-than-not essay, headlined "Bruce Ratner's apology to Brooklyn, Part One":
The builders of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will have much to celebrate at tomorrow's ribbon cutting, having made it through legal battles, financing troubles and architectural disputes to get to the opening of the giant arena.
The mood will be different outside, where some vocal Brooklynites who opposed the arena will gather. They're the ones who protested first the seizure of property to cobble the site together and then the effect the arena would have on the sensitive intersection of residential neighborhoods like Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Boerum Hill, at the crossroads of which Barclays sits.
As it turns out, the arena itself is a beautiful structure, in stark contrast to developer Bruce Ratner's previous building forays in the neighborhood. Both 1996's Atlantic Center mall and 2004's Atlantic Terminal Mall are blights, and did much to make the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues feel like some windswept highway off-ramp halfway through Connecticut, in some exurban nowhere.
I'm not totally shocked that this Ratner project came out so differently because Ratner went, in the end, with SHOP, a local architectural firm that's big on both ambition and humanness. Partner Gregg Pasquarelli has the kind of genuine excitement for this project that you just don't see with rabid capitalist-architects who want to build houses for banksters.
The arena is striking, sure, and memorable. Beauty, of course, will be in the eye of the beholder, and I've heard a real spectrum of opinions already.
Capital New York, Bruce Ratner's apology to Brooklyn, Part One
Posted by eric at September 20, 2012 9:28 PM