Friday, October 27, 2006

Brooklyn Week in Review

This fourth week of October in Brooklyn was dominated by stories about things that are ending or about to come to an end, many of them via demolition.

The evictions at Coney Island made everyone stand up and take notice that an era appears to be coming to an end. The Henderson's Building, one of the spots being cleared, looks destinated for demolition. It's not that we had any particular love for the Go-Karts or the Zipper or the Batting Cages, all of which are also getting kicked out, but they are part of the Coney Island landscape and there is no reason we can fathom that one would toss them out at least a year in advance of any redevelopment project breaking ground. (Apparently, the evictions ticked off the city, so there could be a last minute reprieve for a year.) What is coming is most likely a shrinkage of the amusement area in Coney Island so that it will be limited to Astroland and Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. The rest of Coney? Condos, a hotel and a shopping mall type of thing.

Whereas the Coney story saddened us, the steady progress toward demolishing Admirals Row in the Brooklyn Navy Yard so that a supermarket can be built made us sick to our stomach, particularly the matter-of-fact spin that officials put on the story. It also led some normally even tempered people to voice a great deal of hostility toward a number of elected officials, particularly the Mayor and Borough President Marty Markowitz, who seem to have their hands on the controls of the wrecking ball. Or is it all about going shopping rather than history?

There were inklings of progress on saving Clinton Hill's Broken Angel, with an architect donating services, but the entire issue of paying for changes needs to be resolved before anyone pops open the champagne.

Of course, there was a beginning too, of sorts, to try to prevent the wrecking ball from taking bigger whacks out of Prospect Heights: the big eminent domain lawsuit against Atlantic Yards was filed on Thursday. The Bruce, though, expects final approval of Atlantic Yards by the Empire State Development Corporation sometime in November followed quickly by the Public Authorities Control Board. The Mayor, apparently is not a fan of the Control Board's "three men in a room," except for Atlantic Yards, of course.

On other fronts, it is going to get somewhat easier to cross Grand Army Plaza without being run down and killed by a car. Although Atlantic Avenue looks like it's destined to get a lot worse before it gets better. It might take a while, because people have been trying to "calm" its traffic for a long, long time. Maybe it would help to have a Richard Meier building with apartments starting at $1M like Grand Army Plaza does? On the other hand, maybe they should keep Grand Army as a Death Race against cars because a whole bunch of Brooklynites can use the exercise.

Oh, and did we mention that Williamsburg is so screwed it isn't funny? Now, go soothe any upset you feel by buying some wine and cheese on Bedford Avenue.

Yum. Yum.

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