Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jonathan Lethem Weighs in on Atlantic Yards with Open Letter to Gehry

Gowanus Lounge has been waiting for some of the notables that signed up to be on Develop-Don't Destroy Brooklyn's Advisory Board to use their names, stardom and/or intellect to try to sway public opinion about Atlantic Yards. We were pleased to Boerum Hill-raised novelist Jonathan Lethem's very well done "Open Letter to Frank Gehry" in Slate. "The subject of my letter is the ill-conceived and out-of-scale flotilla of skyscrapers you propose to build on a series of sites between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn," Mr. Lethem wrote.

To sample a bit more of Lethem's brilliant deconstruction of the Gehry-Bruce Ratner plan:
Most people, if they've heard of this proposal at all, believe you've been hired to design a sports arena...Anyone who's glimpsed the drawings and models, however, knows that other, larger plans have overtaken the notion of a mere arena. The proposal currently on the table is a gang of 16 towers that would be the biggest project ever built by a single developer in the history of New York City. In fact, the proposed arena, like the surrounding neighborhoods, stands to be utterly dwarfed by these ponderous skyscrapers and superblocks. It's a nightmare for Brooklyn, one that, if built, would cause irreparable damage to the quality of our lives and, I'd think, to your legacy. Your reputation, in this case, is the Trojan horse in a war to bring a commercially ambitious, but aesthetically—and socially—disastrous new development to Brooklyn.
Among the other phrases Lethem tosses around are "outlandish disproportion," "mendacious flimflam," "appalling," "lying to Brooklyn," and "calamity-in-progress," before urging Frank O. to walk away from the projects. GL highly recommends Lethem's love letter to Frank O. in its entirety.


Anonymous Manuel Qarlsson said...

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7:54 AM  

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