Atlantic Yards receives initial approval - runs risk of damaging historic Brooklyn

NY1 reported today that the Atlantic Yards project received the required unanimous approval from the three-member board made up of George Pataki, State Senate Majority Leader George Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  With the end of Pataki's governorship imminent, he was pushing hard to get this through.  While I was once in favor of the project, thinking it would help revitalize downtown Brooklyn, I am now firmly opposed to it.  The fact is that Brooklyn doesn't need any help with revitalization.  Its neighborhoods, particularly those around the proposed project, are growing faster and revitalizing themselves as fast as any neighborhoods in the NYC area.   Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene have already become some of the coolest, most sought after neighborhoods in the borough, if not all of NYC.  Traffic congestion in that area, particularly on the Deanpgelevatedprojected_1 Atlantic/Flatbush intersection, is already miserable and this project will only make it infinitely worse.  Forest City Ratner's current project in the area, Atlantic Terminal, is a miserable excuse for a shopping center - I get frustrated every time I'm forced to deal with the oddly-configured multi-teared maze - and if the new project is going to be any resemblance, it will cause more anger than pleasure.  Most significant, the scale of the project appears to be wholly inappropriate for historic Brooklyn, currently made up of mostly three and four-story brownstones.  The Atlantic Yards Report blog posted these images showing the project's scale, which I think are important for more people to see.  And I haven't even addressed the unproven economic forecasts or building aesthetics, the latter of which is both cheap and commercial and make no attempt to conform to the precious existing Brooklyn landscape.  I'm a little confused as to why the state is making a decision that ultimately affects the city, but I think its time for us citizens to speak up.

By Josh Guttman

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