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Comments: Week of October 8, 2012

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1. “Brooklyn isn’t finished as long as Mark and his two daughters are living there,” wrote one reader of Mark Jacobson’s personal, reflective tour through patchwork Brooklyn (new on top of old, or sometimes adjacent to it), just ahead of the opening of Barclays Center (Haunts,” October 1). Nor is it “ ‘finished’ because there is an arena downtown,” wrote one reader on nymag.com. “The high-strung histrionics and whining of the opponents to the project are going to fade away into nothing. It was always a bunch of nonsense.” But plenty of readers argued that Barclays Center was a genuine (corporate-values) watershed. “Barclays Center was built for a bank, a scandal-ridden one at that,” wrote the anti–­Atlantic Yards advocates at Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. “[Developer Bruce] Ratner has no shame in going on television and blithely claiming ‘We’ve done a huge amount’ to mollify the surrounding neighborhood,” protested Norman Oder of the Atlantic Yards Report. “Actually, there have been regular, glaring, documented violations of construction protocols and truck regulations, all in the interest of getting the Barclays Center arena finished in a tight time frame.” Another reader also saw Ratner as a villain, but gave a more nuanced view of the stadium’s effects. “He thinks he’s a liberal. He thinks this rusty lump will be good for Brooklyn … I don’t like the stadium, but I honestly don’t know what its effect will be in the long run … I live here and it’s a complicated and contentious place. ­Everyone’s ‘real Brooklyn’ is a different place that is unique to them. That’s what keeps it interesting.” “Many who are part of the ‘New Brooklyn’ camp come to Brooklyn in search of a place that hosts memories like yours,” wrote one reader, riffing on Jacobson’s ecumenical Pan-Brooklynism. “They come from the bland and sterile suburbs across the U.S. looking for a cityscape that is lively, somewhat innocent, and multigenerational, and where it doesn’t exist they start to build it for themselves because that’s the only way.” Even one reader who had a particular claim to the borough agreed that change is what makes the borough Brooklyn: “All involved have earned their emotions; as a fifth-generation Brooklynite living two blocks from where my grandfather did before shipping off for D-Day, I’m just excited to see how this latest incarnation plays out.”


2. “If Madison Square Garden hunkers glumly in its concrete drum, Barclays Center is an architectural chest bump: juiced, genial, and aggressive all at once,” Justin Davidson wrote in a review of the building at the center of Jacobson’s narrative (Rusted in Place,” October 1). “I live nearby and really want to like the design,” wrote one reader at nymag.com. “I love architecture, basketball, support new development, support the idea of a basketball arena in the area. I know that SHoP usually does really good work. I was surprised when I walked by it recently. I think this project has more in common with the wavy brown mess at 290 Mulberry than it has with their elegant designs for the Seaport or the East River Esplanade. There’s a kernel of a good concept in there, but in execution it lacks beauty or a sense of place.” Another thought the building’s audacity was its strength, and inelegance not a problem. “This is the most radical building that has been built in NYC for a long time and is an instant classic. The rusted steel is perfect for brownstone Brooklyn and actually makes the building look much smaller than if it were a hunk of concrete like the other stadiums.” But at least a few readers voiced the conventional wisdom against which Davidson was arguing. “People should see this thing for themselves, but especially in the daylight, it is truly repulsive. A rusted-out hulking shell with a big-screen TV mounted out front. At night, all you see is that multiwatt screen. A horrendous eyesore, tasteless and vulgar.”

Correction: The photographs of the Tribeca triplex in “The Golden Touch” ­(October 1) should have been credited to Grey Crawford.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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