Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Gehry born-in-Brooklyn claim may have started in the Brooklyn Paper

It was a tempest in a teapot last March: Forest City Ratner claimed, in legal papers and on its web site, that Atlantic Yards architect Frank Gehry was born in Brooklyn. When it was pointed out that Gehry actually was born in Toronto, FCR changed the Atlantic Yards web page.

Given that biographical information about Gehry is readily available, I think Forest City Ratner should've gotten it right, but I recently concluded that the developer doesn't deserve all the blame. The Brooklyn Paper also reported the born-in-Brooklyn claim when the project was announced nearly five years ago.

Back in 2003

In a 12/15/03 article (link to PDF of full issue) headlined "ARENA SET FOR NETS", the Brooklyn Paper reported:
This project would mark his first foray into Brooklyn, although the world-renowned architect and winner of the prestigious Pritzker Award said he was born in Brooklyn and lived on Flatbush Avenue and Avenue J in Flatlands.


Either Gehry was fabricating his past or the Brooklyn Paper misheard something.

Misscommunication?

I raised the issue last year, contending:
Well, it can't be an honest mistake, can it? After all, the Atlantic Yards bio of Gehry links directly to the architect's Pritzker Prize bio, which states that he was born in Canada.

The Brooklyn Paper followed up, in March reporting:
Forest City Ratner spokesman Loren Riegelhaupt admitted the error, but said, “The reality is that it was simply a miscommunication between his office and ours. He evidently lived in Brooklyn briefly at one point, but was not born here. We apologize for any confusion and have corrected the Web page.”


Maybe Gehry's office miscommunicated. Or maybe someone at FCR was reading the wrong clips--maybe an honest mistake, but, if so, a dumb one. After all, It wasn't the first error on the Atlantic Yards web site.

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