Today the Times has an interesting look at the slow yet steady transformation of Brooklyn's Myrtle Avenue from notorious "Murder Avenue" to a kinder and gentler enclave of bars and boutiques. Many reasons for the changes are cited, including a 2007 rezoning that allowed for taller construction, signaling the final days of businesses like the "suburban-style Kentucky Fried Chicken with a drive-through." That KFC became Pratt's new Myrtle Hall, and the NYT also gives props to the school for cleaning the area up. But Myrtle Hall, which is a hot little number, doesn't even have an entrance on Myrtle Avenue. It's not giving the neighborhood the cold shoulder, however. Pratt's president explains:
“We had lots of discussions about that,” Mr. Schutte said, “and we decided to put the building entrance in a landscaped courtyard,” facing away from the street, and leave the sidewalk entrances to the retail tenants. But the transparency of the building’s large glass facades suggests that Myrtle Avenue is no longer a barrier. Mr. Schutte said many Pratt students now live north of Myrtle, which was almost unheard of when he took the job. Four years ago Pratt acquired a parcel north of Myrtle, on which it may eventually build student housing. Is this the rare college expansion in this city that's not greeted with protests?
· Pratt Institute Takes an Interest in Making a Neighborhood Nicer [NYT]
· Pratt Unveils New Architecture; Bed-Stuy Rehab Nearly Sold Out [Curbed]