God, where to begin with this?
Short form, for those of you too lazy to read the article: a Brooklyn real estate developer is pitching an idea to buy the New Jersey Nets NBA team, and move them to Brooklyn. To house them, he suggests building a massive sports center over the Atlantic Avenue transit hub. And god help us, it looks like it might happen.
Okay, first of all, Frank Gehry must be stopped. I’ll grant that this design is actually relatively restrained by Gehry standards, but it’s still yet another imposing aluminum monstrosity with detail frills that are going to look completely ridiculous in 5 years or less. As anyone who’s ever spent any time around Atlantic Avenue at 2am will attest, the last thing that neighborhood needs is more ugly architecture that will look abandoned and menacing after dark. And frankly, one of the things I like about Brooklyn is that it has so far largely avoided the plague of faceless, ugly glass-and-metal buildings that are coming to dominate Manhattan’s skyline. And not to harp or anything, but what is with Gehry’s obsession with functionless, 6-story-tall wavy sheets of metal? It was, maybe, cute once. As a career motif, it’s just embarrassing: it’s like letting a 6-year-old with a Star Wars fixation design your monuments.
Next: everyone who actually believes that this project will actually come in under budget and without any emergency cash infusions from the city, please raise your hand. Right, okay, you’re excused to go to the library: you can look up the word “gullible” in the dictionary. It’s there, promise. Also, please note:
Gehry’s preliminary plans for a 19,000-seat arena would not require public financing, city officials said. Instead, the project would be funded by Ratner, his investors and tax revenue from 4,500 residential units and more than 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space.
One of these things is not like the other, one does not belong…
And finally, the article’s money quote:
…it will require the city to raze part of the adjacent Park Slope neighborhood, displacing businesses and at least 100 residents.
Yes, you read that correctly: we are seriously proposing to destroy large underdeveloped sections of what are probably the two fastest-growing residential and small-business neighborhoods in the city (Ft. Greene being the other) in order to build this white elephant.
Folks, the jury is not out on projects like this. It came in a long time ago, and the verdict was: not profitable. Sports centers are money-losers for everyone but the building contractors, and commercial spaces attached to sports complexes are… how do I put this? Have you heard anyone complaining that the problem with downtown Brooklyn is that it lacked convenient access to TCBY and a Starter Store? For that matter, have you heard anyone complaining about Brooklyn’s lack of available office space? This thing is the Renaissance Center, version 2.0.
The really infuriating thing here is that the Atlantic Avenue hub really is in need of some redevelopment help and beautification. But as
You’d think that when you’re right next door to the Brooklyn Bridge, you’d be a little more suspicious of someone trying to sell it to you.