Like many of my fellow Brooklyn bloggers, I never liked Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project. Too big, too overreaching, too contemptuous of the rest of the surrounding Brownstone Brooklyn, too ill-thought-out, too subsidized, too abusive of Eminent Domain, too obviously a sweetheart deal for money-mad, back-room dealer Ratner.
But, unlike many of my fellow Brooklyn bloggers, I could never get too upset about the development, because I figured it didn't a chance in hell of happening. It was so ambitious, so expensive, it just seemed like pure fantasy to me. A stadium, a bunch of towers, a freakin' Frank Gehry tower? Who thought up this new, shiny, futuristic Brooklyn, Albert Speer? Whenever people asked my opinion of the enterprise, I always prefaced my responses by saying "Well, if it ever happens..."
New York City has always had its economic ups and downs, and we've been due a recession for some time now. And recessions kill big projects like this. So, here's our recession, and, right on schedule, here's Ratner stunning us with news that the stalled economy could force him to curtail his grand plan. No Miss Brooklyn office tower (always hated that name; embarrassing); many fewer residential skyscrapers. Wow. You mean all that non-building we've seen going on downtown for a year actually meant something—meant that nothing is getting built. Wow. I mean, Wow.
Ratner is still pretty certain that we'll see a new stadium for the Nets. Construction will start by the end of the year, he said. But, I don't know. It's still a recession and it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. And a $950 million stadium costs $950 million, last time I checked. Reader, if you and I are still here in 10 years and there's a stadium in downtown Brooklyn, I'll buy you a coke.
(Photo courtesy of Brownstoner)