There's been quite a few articles about Atlantic Yards recently. One thread was started by the Times article of the 12th, "Perspectives on the AY Development Through the Prism of Race,", with extensive comments in Atlantic Yards Report, No Land Grab, etc.
AYR also puts it well today: "...the most important piece of information about the Atlantic Yards plan that hadn't gotten through to the general public...was the scale of the project, depicted visually."
Without rephrasing all the points, it's obvious that the 'race card' is being played well by Ratner.The mantra about 'jobs' is well calculated to relate to unions, and others like James E. Caldwell, the president of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development, a job-training group known as Build, and Bertha Lewis, the New York executive director of Acorn, a national advocacy group for low-income people, both of whom act as if they have been co-opted by FCR.
As if the only issue of building a mega-construction like this is about jobs. The quality of life should be important to everyone, and if there are groups that believe the destruction of the built environment is compensated by the jobs, then we need more enlightened people to cast a balancing vote. Ms. Lewis and others have been amply rewarded by Ratner and cannot, apparently, even legally criticize the project---in other words, they have voluntarily signed away their First Amendment rights, and we would be right in ignoring their biased bleats.
Then we have Jonathan Liu, who begins and concludes in his piece "A Sporting Chance," in n+1:
"So, as reasoned as Lethem’s letter to Gehry was, I could not shake the sense that the architect stood on the side of an expansively ambitious urban project, while the writer yearned for a comfortable, impossible stasis—the city as novelist’s milieu instead of living, breathing organism. Lethem was right: Brooklyn will not be the same once Atlantic Yards is built, but it won’t stay the same regardless. Gehry’s proposal can’t casually be dismissed as an affront to urban history; in fact, it has a potential to be a part of that history in way that no architecture of nostalgia can claim. The authenticity of a place as volatile and heterodox as Brooklyn, and New York in general, lies in incongruity, the disorienting juxtaposition of century-old brownstones and Gehry’s warped, twisting towers. This is what built Penn Station, and this is what destroyed it—an impulse often catalyzed by objectionable individuals, and not one we should always follow. But to reject it outright, to reject any such impulse as a disruption of some putatively authentic civic reality, to reject Gehry on the basis of “context,” seems a disavowal of the progress of urban life itself."
Must be nice to have the luxury to ignore reality and write intellectual obfuscation masquerading as analysis. Let's see, it's OK to destroy something because "urban life" is not "static" but volatile. Reminds you of the Vietnam-era "we had to destroy the village in order to save it," does it not?
No, Mr. Liu, history has not "left behind" the low-rise brick and stone neighborhoods--last I looked, they're alive and well, and changing in small but exciting ways. And it's the residents of these neighborhoods who are rallying against the monstrous AY project. Again, belying your assertion, there are plenty of writers, artists and actors who live in these areas still. In fact, very few of them could afford to live in AY, so your point is doubly wrong.
Growth, change and volatility are not necessarily positive (they're not necessarily negative, either.) A sense of history, a sense of purpose, are necessary, and the monolithic disruption to the fabric of the built environment that AY represents is not a step forward.