Friday, September 14, 2012

My Atlantic Yards tour, September 23, sponsored by the Municipal Art Society

From the Municipal Art Society's list of tours: Sunday, September 23, Urban Debate: Atlantic Yards:
11:00 AM - Atlantic Yards Report watchdog journalist Norman Oder leads a walk around and beyond the controversial Atlantic Yards site, home to the new Barclays Center arena, opening on September 28. While visiting Fort Greene and Prospect Heights, Oder will discuss the history and future of the ambitious project (announced in 2003 and aimed to include 16 towers), the debates over urban design, architecture, public process, and eminent domain, and the challenge of fitting an arena into a site which offers excellent public transit access but also encroaches on an established neighborhood. Cost: $20 / $15 Members.
Note: tickets are limited; the location is provided when you pay.

A few thoughts

I've been walking around the arena a lot lately, both with locals and those new to the area, and have gotten a wide range of reactions, pro and con. So, however critical I am about the culture of cheating, this tour will go well beyond that. (I've been giving a version of this tour for years, though obviously the content evolves.)

I believe there are several layers of analysis for the arena, including:
  • urban sculpture (in several iterations)
  • venue for visitors/concertgoers/fans
  • neighborhood/area organism
  • component of arena block (in several iterations)
  • component of larger Atlantic Yards project
  • linchpin of real estate deal/controversy
Some caveats: though there are photos of the interior, the venue can't be fully analyzed until people go inside on an event day,

Nor can the "neighborhood organism" be fully evaluated until the arena starts operating on Sept. 28--and even then, the first few months will be a shakeout period, as event-goers, government agencies, and neighbors begin to adjust.

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