Yes, but it was essentially a repeat of his statements in March when he backed off his prediction, in the Architect's Newspaper that "I don't think it's going to happen."
The AY moment lasted little more than a minute in a low-key, drifting 90-minute panel discussion with Barbara Isenberg, author of Conversations With Frank Gehry, and somewhat awkward interpolations from New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and New York Public Library public programs director Paul Holdengraber.
There was no opportunity for those in the audience to verbally pose questions--a tactic that tripped up Gehry at January 2006 appearance. Library event staffers collected questions from the audience. Holdengraber announced that, though there were some 20 questions, there was only time for two or three.
"I think there are about seven questions about this, I'm boiling it down to one," said Holdengraber. "People want to know what more plans you have for New York City, particularly in the context of a March comment you made about the Atlantic Yards where you say, 'I don't think they're going to happen,' and people want to know what you mean."
( Maybe my question was included in that list, but I wanted to know what Gehry thought of New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff's request that he "walk away" from the project.)
Gehry seemed prepared for the question. "That was misread. I probably said something like that, but I'm always, y'know, 'the glass is half-full.'"
I probably said something like that? I suspect the Architect's Newspaper got that interview on tape, or otherwise made sure the quote is accurate. I don't doubt Gehry's a pessimist, but "I don't think it's going to happen" is pretty declarative. (True candor might have been, "Well, I said something like that, but... my client told me I shouldn't.")
Ready to go?
"Um, it's going ahead," he continued. "There's work going on. Every developer in the world is struggling with the times we're in... So it's frustrating if you're someone like me and you're working on it five years, you've done all this work, and it's ready to go. In Brooklyn, there's a lawsuit--one lawsuit that persists, and they can't start until that's settled. "
Hold on. There's no construction work going on. There's likely work to rewrite contracts, gain indirect subsidies, and prepare for bond financing. As for work in Gehry's office, well, he laid off his staff working on Atlantic Yards.
There's more than one lawsuit pending. And developer Forest City Ratner is trying to cut the cost of the arena in half. Maybe that's the work Gehry was referring to. There's very little evidence that "it's ready to go."