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Brooklyn's Ugly Fourth Avenue Called a 'Canyon of Mediocrity'

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Robbie Whelan isn't pulling any punches in his takedown of the new buildings along Brooklyn's Fourth Avenue. "Because of bad decisions by Amanda Burden's City Planning Department and the profit-above-all-else motive of some developers, Brooklyn is going to be stuck for decades with this depressing wasteland of cheap materials and designs," Whelan writes in the first paragraph in his article in the Journal. Anyone who's walked south from Atlantic Terminal along Fourth Avenue knows that Whelan's description of the street as a "canyon of mediocrity" that's "bereft of interaction between pedestrian and building" is spot on. Thanks to a 2003 rezoning that focused on residential development, ground-level commercial spaces were not required in new buildings?a fact that the planning department now recognizes as a failure since this creates absolutely no street life.

Bricolage Architecture and Designs LLC has designed nine buildings along the corridor in the last decade, and Hot Karl Fischer is erecting a 12-story monstrosity at the corner of 6th Street. Whelan lovingly describes all Bricolage projects as "slapdash building[s] with blank, deadened bases." He calls out the Novo Park Slope on the corner of 5th Street as a highlight, describing it as "a pallid, prison-like structure with parking and a medical facility at ground level that towers menacingly over its next-door neighbors."
· Brooklyn's Burden: Fourth Avenue [WSJ]
· Fourth Avenue coverage [Curbed]