13 December 2007

Sometimes Bureaucrats Surprise You

You get all excited about the possibility of knocking down some historic, one-of-a-king buildings so you can erect a nifty supermarket and a really neat parking lot next to it and then some assholes from Washington tell you the damn buildings are actually worth preserving! Well, if that ain't a kick in the teeth.

That's what happens this week when a federal study commissioned by the National Guard to access the state of the 100-plus-year-old group of military mansions inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard known as Admiral's Row didn't conclude, "Hey, go ahead! Knock 'em down!," but instead said eight of the ten structures were sound and retained "an extremely high level of integrity." $20 million and they'll look good as new.

"But not as good as a new parking lot!" screamed the mad-as-a-wet-hen Navy Yard officials who want the buildings, and their rich history, gone yesterday. Restore the handsome things!? We don't want the property if we have to do that!! We likem wreckem ball.

"If the federal government...requires that some or all of these structures be rebuilt from the ground up...neither the City of New York or the [Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp.] are interested in acquiring and developing the site and it will continue to lay fallow for years to come," wrote Navy Yard Development Corp. President Andrew Kimball yesterday in response to the report, according to The Daily News.

The final recommendations of the report, which the City must abide by, are still to come. Any dope—any federal dope, it turns out—can see Admiral's Row deserved landmark status.

But for this temporary snafu alone, I think the Army Corps of Engineers. I love to see City officials throw hissyfits when they don't get the rubber stamp they've been promised.

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