Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Huge development and arena project spawn fear, hope in residential area of New York City

Huge development and arena project spawn fear, hope in residential area of New York City

When Jill Baroff steps through the gate of her little yellow townhouse, she sees the Brooklyn of storybooks.
Families tend brownstone buildings they have nurtured for decades. Children skip by speaking a half-dozen languages. Down the block, tough guys rub shoulders with authors and artists at an eclectic tavern that predates Prohibition.
In a few years, however, she may see a half-mile strip of skyscrapers designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry, a flashy new arena for the Nationhal Basketball Association's Nets and hordes of basketball fans hunting for parking and a cheap sports bar.
It will be like a slice of midtown Manhattan, she says, right across the street from the century-old, wood-frame house on Dean Street that she bought in 1983.
"I really can't imagine what's in store for us," Baroff said. "We live in this little haven, and if this gets built, I think it will destroy that. ... Will anybody be able to remain here? Anyone who is of the neighborhood?"
Change has been coming fast in Brooklyn, but maybe nowhere more so than in the 22 acres (8.8 hectares) that make up Atlantic Yards _ the $4 billion (euro3.1 billion) megadevelopment of 16 skyscrapers planned by New Jersey Nets principal owner Bruce Ratner.
Much of it will rise on land now occupied by an unloved open rail yard, shabby industrial buildings and blocks of automotive businesses. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has heralded their replacement as "the most exciting private development Brooklyn has ever seen."
State officials have approved the project, leaving only lawsuits by residents standing in the way of the wrecking crews in a borough that has found itself suddenly wealthy, fighting homogenization and struggling to remain affordable.
In addition to the 18,000-seat arena, Atlantic Yards will contain office suites, a hotel, 6,400 apartments and a 500-foot (150-meter) glass tower. It will contain nearly 8 million square feet (0.72 million square meters) of floor space _ the equivalent of more than three Empire State Buildings.
The project's size dismays residents who love the village-like feel of the adjoining neighborhoods, and worry about the deadening effect skyscrapers have on residential street life.
But Atlantic Yards has its champions, especially those left behind by the borough's already spreading gentrification.
Under a deal signed by Ratner's development company, at least 2,250 of the new rental apartments will be offered at reduced prices to families living on low or middle incomes. At least 600 condominium units will be available at reduced prices to families that meet income guidelines.
Opponents of the project note that many of the price-controlled units aren't scheduled to be built until the later stages of the construction, and might not be available for a decade or more.
Still, the long odds of landing one of them in a housing lottery haven't stopped prospective tenants like Gabriel McQueen from dreaming big.
A native of Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section, the 29-year-old firefighter recently gave up trying to find an affordable apartment close to his old neighborhood and moved an hour away to Far Rockaway, on the Queens seashore.
"I had lived in Brooklyn all my life. I grew up in Bed-Stuy and I never wanted to leave it. This was like the hardest thing for me to do, to come out here," he said.
With a little luck, he said, Atlantic Yards could be his ticket home.
"I think Brooklyn needs this," McQueen said.
___
On the Net:
http://www.atlanticyards.com/
http://www.developdontdestroy.org/


Updated : 2021-05-16 05:08 GMT+08:00