06 July 2009

Downtown Brooklyn: Scaffold City

Downtown Brooklyn is generally an ugly place, badly kept up and populated by decaying old buildings and charmless new ones.

Lately, however, it's more of an eyesore than usual. As I emerged recently from the Borough Hall subway stop recently, it dawned on me why this is. Downtown Brooklyn has become Scaffold City!

There is major scaffolding at each corner of the intersection of Court and Joralemon Streets, except for the the curve where Borough Hall sits. Enormous scaffolding. There's another scaffold further up Court, and a couple others a bit down Court towards Atlantic, including one that masks the beautiful 66 Court from sight. For a couple blocks—blocks walked by thousands every day—there is barely a building you can see.

Nothing depresses an area like scaffolding. It's horribly unsightly in itself, and it uglifies everything around it. It creates shadows and darkness where there was none, and replaces sometimes handsome storefronts and stone and brick building facades with cheap plywood and dull metal poles.

There seems to be a lot scaffolding around New York these days. It always baffles me how, when the building community seems to have plenty of money to erect awful new buildings, they can't find any to promptly fix the beautiful old ones.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Its somewhat amazing how ugly those blocks of Court Street between Borough Hall and Atlantic Avenue are, considering that they are on the border of Brooklyn Heights. I suppose Heights residents have to have some ugliness to compensate for the rest of the neighborhood.