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"The project, the largest proposed outside Manhattan in decades.." since the fall of New York, the days of Moses

" creating a dense urban skyline reminiscent of Houston or Dallas..." I'm sure that would impress those who haven't tried to walk or live in either of these 2 "cities".

"Mr. Gehry's preliminary design aims to create the look of a contemporary city that grew up naturally over time, he said". If this is Gehry's attempt to create a part of the city which grew naturally over time, I wonder what his attempt at a shock and awe megaproject would be, never mind. :rolleyes

"efforts to acquire some land by eminent domain... accuse state and city officials of giving Mr. Ratner unfair concessions...The plan calls for direct subsidies of $100 million each from the city and state for site improvements to the area.."
Forest City Rattner is the largest development firm operating in NYC. They also recieved subsidies for building the two malls across the street which were panned for being auto-centric and shunning the street. Except for the Pathmark (groceries), the stores have been unsuccessful and so the mall parking garage has been rented out to people living in the area.

Almost all box stores and large shopping centres in NYC receive large subsidies from the NY (state) economic development corporation. In fact when Hevesi (acting controller) was asked what his agency had done to create economic development in NY state, he told them that he helped to bring in many large-scale multi-national retail stores into New York which have created thousands of jobs.

Of course the jobs of the small-scale retailers who did not receive these subsidies and went out of business, are not included in his equations. When you examine Pataki and Hevesi's campaign contribution records you will see that Forest City (and subsidiary firms) as well as the multi-national retailers know how to return a favour.

"Hopefully this will be a model for other large-scale developments to be done again in the boroughs as they were in the 50's and 60's," Mr. Ratner said. It is in some sense like Columbus Circle... "
Ah yes the good old days of the 50's and the 60's NYC (Moses) planning, where within 7 blocks of Columbus circle over 20,000 people were displaced by eminant domain. A windowless colisseum was built as a monument to Moses on the circle as he was a great admirer of roman emporers, especially Julius Ceasar. He also designed Shea Stadium as an even larger replica of the Roman coliseums.

Next to Columbus circle Moses also built the Lincoln cultural centre, much of which is still isolated from the rest of the community by walls on the south, west and north sides. (streets do not travel through the large cultural complex). He also tore down buildings near Columbus circle to build the Manhattantown affordable housing project. He never actually got around to building the housing and so the site remained as surface parking until Moses gave up control of the Title one agency ten years later. Yes, 'The good old days' when one man could get things done, without interference from the people.

Next article:

"More significant, however, Mr. Gehry's towering composition of clashing, undulating forms is an intriguing attempt to overturn a half-century's worth of failed urban planning ideas."
NYC is still dealing with the Moses vs. Jane Jacobs models of planning styles. Although the articles state that it is the Jane Jacobs model that has failed, they spend their time criticizing failed Moses type mega-projects (modernist dehumanstic superblocks, west side stadium, Battery Park and try to explain why this one will not suffer the fate of the others which have been largely panned in NYC as well as elsewhere. I general gist of the articles is to suggest that this one is too big, too Jarring, creative and garish to fail. The only proof given in either article of why Jacob's policies are such a failure is that they don't seem to recognize the merit and obvious genious of project like Gehry's .

"so that as you arrived by car along Flatbush Avenue, your eye would travel up a delirious pileup of forms..."
It's so important to create the dilerious skyline of Las Vegas, Houston or Cityplace that looks so cool passing by in your car. Too bad most adults in the borough do not have a drivers liscence and so would not be able to partake in the only appropriate view.

"What is more, Mr. Gehry has gone to great lengths to fuse his design with its surroundings. The tallest of the towers, for example, are mostly set along Atlantic Avenue, where they face a mix of retail malls and low-income housing..."
As long as only low income (no power) residents in the apartments on the north side of the street get the tallest buildings while the wealthier people to the south are given the shorter towers, then everything is as it should be.

"There are those - especially acolytes of the urbanist Jane Jacobs - who will complain about the development's humongous size..."

"A more important issue, by contrast, is the site's current lack of permeability. Because the development would be built on top of the Atlantic Avenue railyards, the gardens are several feet above ground level, an arrangement that threatens to isolate them from the street grid..." By that standard one could criticize the Lincoln Centre or Scarborough City Centre, I smell a Jane Jacobs accolate.

"Forest City Ratner Companies, a relatively conventional developer known for building Brooklyn's unremarkable MetroTech complex, has seemingly undergone an architectural conversion..."
In other words this mega project for the south side of Brooklyn won't create a deads zone around Brooklyn's downtown the way Forest City did (and is still doing with new buildings) to the north side of downtown Brooklyn. This time will be different, they've hired Gehry the expert in creating organic super-neighbourhoods.

"Bruce C. Ratner, the company's chief executive and the development partner of The New York Times in building the newspaper's new headquarters in Manhattan.." you think it would help FCR to give the Times a sweetheart deal on their building, considering that they will be involved in many of the controversial development decisions in the news, and must maintain their government contributions? Likewise it would probably be nice of the Times to write a few friendly articles in return to enhance this win-win relationship, I think I'll make that suggestion to them.

"It suggests another development model: locate real talent, encourage it to break the rules, get (democracy) out of the way." Is it a surprise to know that the Times and Daily News were some of Moses biggest backers decade after decade?
Do you think that one of these authors was forced to write a positive article on the development, but secretly hated it. If I was in that situation I would probably compare it to the great Dallas and Houston (New Yorkers think less of these two cities than Texans do of New York).

I might talk about "accolates of JJ", just to let people know that this project is in direct conflict with those ideals which are very popular among highly educated Times readers. I might talk about clashing forms and cloud-like delirious things, and point out every other Moses type massive project failure out there, and give only the flimsy reason that it will be different this time, it's Gehry. Reporters are pressured to write stories from a certain view point when a newspaper has reason to take a position, and this looks like something I might have wrote if I were in that position. They just give you so much amunition to attack their conclusion, they made it too easy..
Sorry to take more of a libertarian standpoint, but anyone consider that perhaps *both* stances are full of their share of strategic bushwah, and Brooklyn and NYC will figure a way to "adapt", anyhow?

After all, the urban soul was too strong to be "killed" by Robert Moses's supposed sins in the Lincoln Center neighbourhood. Heck, even Penn Station's wretched replacement's been sort-of acclimatized--not to excuse the fact that it happened in the first place; but, hey.
After all, the urban soul was too strong to be "killed"

One might have been convinced that NYC was killed when visiting NYC after Moses was through. NYC went from the number 1 centre of the world, to the centre of crime, decay and bankruptcy. It took 25 years for the city to climb back up.

NYC was not killed, but critically wounded by Moses policies. He bought the worst of Corbussier's vision and decided that Manhattan, The Bronx and much of Brooklyn were beyond hope and needed to be destroyed and rebuilt in a different manner. (He demolished and burned the homes of hundreds of thousands of residents. This process continued long after he was forced out in 69).
After Moses, New Yorkers no longer trusted government and public/private megaprojects for years after that and it recovered. However places like much of Statten Island, the Rockaways, and neighbouhoods next to his parkways/ expressways etc that were built and designed during his time are still hurting.

Adma: Most libertarians don't believe that government should be using the powers of eminant domain and tax money to help one private developer over another. It is mostly neo-liberal and neo-conservative practitioners that feel government should aid corporations using the tax revenues at their disposal.