But as a metaphor, it’s the exact opposite of Ebbets. Ebbets was a tiny, neighborhood-uniting orthodox baseball temple that was built, in less than a year, on an old dump crisscrossed by goat paths. Atlantic Yards is a huge, neighborhood-raping megadevelopment, pinned between two of its developer’s own malls, that violates every design principle of the borough’s small-scale, organic history. Construction is scheduled to take ten years. It is pure real estate, with sports as a footnote. The Nets haven’t grown, like the Dodgers did, directly out of the Brooklyn soil—they’ll be transplants, a squad of mercenaries paid to sell the neighborhood’s new regime. It’s hard to envision the natives finally bonding with the gentrifying hordes over $50 seats at a Nets game. (Bruce Ratner has skillfully scrambled the racial politics of the project, enlisting—some say buying—widespread black support and casting opponents as selfish gentrifiers.) Atlantic Yards is Dodgers nostalgia run amok: New Brooklyn getting rich on the dying myth of Old Brooklyn—a supposed tribute to the borough that may well end up defacing the Brooklyn it’s pretending to honor. The Nets are less a karmic reversal of the Dodgers tragedy than its logical conclusion. O’Malley ruined the borough by leaving; Ratner will ruin it by moving in.I'm occasionally asked how a pro-growth, pro-development, free-market conservative such as myself opposes a project like the Atlantic Yards. This piece gets to the nut it: If preserving a neighborhood's character is a priority (and for me, it is), growth cannot be imposed from the outside; it needs to come from within, to be organic, and its sponsor can't cheat, using the heavy-hand of government to steal private property to make way.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
What Ebbets Field Wasn't
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn highlights a New York Magazine piece contrasting the differences between Brooklyn's fabled Ebbets Field with the Nets Arena proposed for the Atlantic Yards: