First things first: Developer Bruce Ratner says he has fished in the East River and eaten the fish. Well, what he told NY1 last night was that "I have fished for striped bass in the East River with a great success on one occasion...I would say that I did eat it!" Which does leave some wiggle room. The Atlantic Yards developer also refers to himself as "progressive" a number of times, recalling the glory days of law school at Columbia in the 1960s: "I remember doing a march on a Wall Street," says Ratner. "It was all power to the people and workers – and the workers were on buildings throwing things at us. So I'm not sure, you know, whether we were really representing who we thought we were representing." And, then, come comments like "architecture is important, but it's not that important."
While the developer does not mention his starchitect Frank Gehry by name, he goes on at length about how architecture isn't that critical to him. First, he defends the shopping malls next to the Atlantic Yards site, which are reviled by many: "I'm proud of both of these, because the jobs they create number one and number two they save people money and allow people to buy good quality goods at lower prices and this serves a large part of Brooklyn. So, you know, those who focus on the architecture are frankly misguided about what's really important in this world."
Then, continuing with the theme, he says: “We need jobs, we need shopping that's appropriate and the right price and quality goods, we need supermarkets that provide food that is of quality and well-priced, we need housing, and you know what? The architecture is important, but it's not that important."
And, finally: "I want to do great architecture, but I have to say something, which is that, if one is going to boil life down to architecture, then you know what? It's not for me."
There is much more Ratner talking Ratner too and, needless to say, DDDB put up a post about it around midnight.
· One On 1: The Man Behind Atlantic Yards Project, Bruce Ratner [NY1]
· Ratner lowers our architectural expections; will Gehry ease away? [AYR]