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Atlantic Yards 'Stall': Ouroussoff Goes Nuclear

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Among the many negative reactions to developer Bruce Ratner's bombshell about the Atlantic Yards "stall" is a blistering, if not withering, analysis by the Times' Nicolai Ouroussoff, who attacks the possible changes in Atlantic Yards on many fronts. In a nutshell, Ouroussoff thinks that an arena without the tall towers designed by Frank Gehry will be an "eyesore." So, while Atlantic Yards opponents may be amused by the venom directed at possible changes, they may be less tickled that his major criticism is that the project would be too small and denuded of its boldest elements. Nonetheless, Mr. Ouroussoff describes the change as a "bitter pill" for the developer and "a painful setback for urban planning in New York." He also calls it "a betrayal of the public trust" and the possible arena that will result "a piece of urban blight."

From the superb product of work of "a legitimate architectural hero" rather than "the usual corporate hacks," Mr. Ourossoff warns, Brooklyn could end up with a pedestrian basketball arena that serves as a "black hole." Ouch. Here's a sample of the deconstruction of a reduced Atlantic Yards:

Mr. Gehry conceived of this bold ensemble of buildings as a self-contained composition — an urban Gesamtkunstwerk — not as a collection of independent structures. Postpone the towers and expose the stadium, and it becomes a piece of urban blight — a black hole at a crucial crossroads of the city’s physical history. If this is what we’re ultimately left with, it will only confirm our darkest suspicions about the cynical calculations underlying New York real estate deals.Oh, and he also says that "no development at all would be preferable to building the design that is now on the table" and says that Mr. Gehry might want to walk away. "Cynical calculations underlying New York real estate deals"? In Brooklyn? Get out of here.
· What Will Be Left of Gehry’s Vision for Brooklyn? [NYT]
· Atlantic Yards 'Stall': Miss Brooklyn & Housing Tossed? [Curbed]