Sunday, April 01, 2007

Atlantic Yards is Dead: Sitt Announces Barclays Cone in Coney

Developer Joe Sitt will rebuild the Revere Sugar Dome, which his firm demolished in Red Hook, in Coney Island. "We know that Brooklyn loves a joke," Mr. Sitt said. "That's why we pretended to demolish the Revere Dome. We did it so we could rebuild it as an arena it in Coney Island." Mr. Sitt announced a partnership with Forest City Ratner to develop the Barclays Cone. The Cone will be designed by Frank Gehry and be located on the current site of the Parachute Jump. The iconic jump, meanwhile, will be dismantled and rebuilt at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

"As for all you jerks who complained about losing that big tin can, bite me," he said. "I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I love Brooklyn. I would never hurt Brooklyn."

In a statement, former Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner said that although all properties in his project's former "footprint" had been leveled on Saturday via a new process called "flash demolition" that had been specifically designed for Brooklyn, he hoped that relocating the Parachute Jump there would help "enliven this great urban living room." Mr. Ratner said that while it was "unfortunate" that part of Prospect Heights had been demolished, he said that the area affected was "already blighted" and that knew that "the Cone is right for the Nets and right for Brooklyn." He also noted that he and Mayor Bloomberg were endowing a foundation that would "secure world-class talent" to "rebuild that cruddy little neighborhood from scratch."

Mayor Bloomberg urged residents to "stop whining" and said that "it could have been worse." He said "that neighborhood--what was it called?--will be back and better in no time. Sniveling won't get it rebuilt any faster. We all wish it could be done faster."

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn sent out a press release condemning the use of "flash demolition," but welcoming the Parachute Jump to the neighborhood and the selection of Coney Island for the Barclays Cone. The Jump, the group said, is a good example of a tall structure that doesn't cast a shadow because of the way it was built.

Mr. Sitt and Mr. Ratner issued a joint statement saying that Mr. Gehry would be giving the Revere Dome "a few tweaks" before it is resurrected in Coney Island. An architecture critic who was given a preview of Mr. Gehry's model said that it looked like "a deconstructed scrap heap at a junkyard" in a shape that "symbolically approximates something that calls to mind a cone."

Mr. Sitt added that he wished "everybody hadn't gotten their underwear in a bunch" over luxury condos in Coney as the proposal "was just a joke too," but that "a bunch of moron city planners were just too stupid to get it. Morons." Rather than luxury housing, Mr. Sitt announced he would build the Trailer Park of the Future in Coney Island, calling it "the Bellaggio of trailer parks." GL has learned that the trailer park would start on land but extend 2.5 miles out to sea on a series of pontoon bridge-like structures. The working name for the development is Doctoroff Village, or Danny Town, to those designing the project.

"Global warming can kiss my ass," Mr. Sitt said. "Our trailer park for the 21st Century is going to start out by floating."

While trailers are generally no more than two-stories tall, Thor secured noted Brooklyn architect Robert Scarano to design the development. By creatively using mezzanines, each trailer will actually be 15-stories tall. GL has been told that 2 million of the 3 million new residents anticipated in New York by 2030 could be housed in Doctoroff Village, which will be served by an expanded New York Water Taxi fleet. The MTA will also consult with the Venetian Municipal Transit system to design new water buses. Turning Ocean Parkway into a canal for water taxis and water buses is also under discussion. "It's going to happen, anyway, so why not be proactive?" said a source familiar with the plan. "We're conservatively estimating that property on the canal will gain 200-300 percent in value with the water views."

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said of the entire recooked Coney plan, "That's what I mean by freaky."

The revised Thor plan also calls for a 150-story highrise called the Thor Hammer, the first ten stories of which will be unoccupied in order to protect it from rising sea levels and storm surges. The Thor Hammer would be topped by a free fall roller coaster called Descent Into Hell. The Thor Hammer in Coney Island would also include an indoor mall with 300 shops, a water park on the 125th floor called "Water Sports in the Sky," six hotels and a convention center. If the Thor Hammer doesn't work out, Mr. Sitt said he would simply consider "building a really nice shopping center--the Bellaggio of malls--on the property."

In an unrelated development, the Borough President noted that the Domino Sugar Plant in Williamsburg had been illegally flash demolished overnight.

"What can you do?" he said. "I'm sure they'll be fined for work without a permit. Freaky. Freaky. Freaky."

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