However, the mall still shows up on lists of the city's most reviled buildings, and yesterday appeared in an amNewYork article headlined 10 to lose: Ugly buildings NYC would be better without.
The expert quoted on the Atlantic Center was Rob Lane, Regional Design Programs, Regional Plan Association, who said, according to the article:
"Seems like the focus should be on buildings and structures that are not just ugly in someone's opinion, but things that detract from, if not destroy, the most essential part of urbanity--the pedestrian experience. One example is Atlantic Center in Brooklyn. Not only is it an eyesore, it completely detracts from the walkers experience through long empty sidewalks and hallways and absolutely no street life whatsoever."
Bruce blames himself
We know Bruce Ratner's explanation for the isolation imposed in the interior, which reflects on the exterior as well. The New York Times reported 5/26/04:
“It’s a problem of malls in dense urban areas that kids hang out there, and it’s not too positive for shopping,” Mr. Ratner said. “Look, here you’re in an urban area, you’re next to projects, you’ve got tough kids.”
Ultimately, however, even Bruce Ratner blames the bad design on himself, not inexorable external forces, as New York magazine's Kurt Andersen wrote in an 11/20/05 column:
Until now, most of Ratner’s buildings have ranged from the uninspired to the bad, like his shopping center across from the Atlantic Yards. Even he admits the Atlantic Center mall is “not up to snuff. Philip Johnson did a first design, but I made a decision not to use him. I have to blame myself. I’ve been talking for ten years about trying to use ‘design architects’ instead of ‘developer architects.'"
In other words, it was a bottom-line decision that could have gone another way.