New Port Authority Chief Not So Sure About This Atlantic Yards

atlantic yards
Photo: Rendering courtesy Atlantic Yards

Chris Ward, due to take over the Port Authority this month, suggests to us that he thinks Bruce Ratner should consider recruiting architects other than Frank Gehry for the Atlantic Yards. “Flatbush and Atlantic is a totally underused area and a major transportation hub, and I hope we don't lock ourselves into a design that does not allow other architecture or public space,” says Ward. That design is entirely Gehry's; even after Ratner admitted his multi-tower vision might not attract financing, public officials have kept the architect front and center. “Bruce, with his optimism, is probably feeling that he doesn't have to worry about those contingencies,” Ward continues. “But it would be worthwhile to pay attention to the real-estate risks there.” And, yes, he called him "Bruce": Ward worked under Ratner when the he ran Consumer Affairs in the Koch administration. Still, this warning should hearten the project's opponents: Ward will have a lot of influence over state spending if the developer needs a cash influx. —Alec Appelbaum