Tuesday, May 03, 2016

On Friday my free Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park tour (please arrive early)

The tour is rain or shine.

As part of Jane's Walk, I'll be leading a free tour Friday at 5:30 pm: Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Brooklyn/ Barclays Center: Explore Brooklyn's most contested real estate development. The tour will take about two hours.

Please arrive at 5:15 if possible. At about 5:30 we will move away from the starting place, as fans will arrive for the New York Islanders hockey game. Latecomers should look for someone holding a yellow MAS/Jane's Walk paddle, who will stay behind to direct people.

[as stated in the blurb]

You can't understand Atlantic Yards (in 2014 curiously renamed Pacific Park Brooklyn) and the Barclays Center arena (home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders) unless you see the context for the 22-acre project. It begins at the edge of Downtown Brooklyn and extends through blocks in Prospect Heights (near Park Slope and Fort Greene) that were formerly residential and mixed-use, with industrial and commercial buildings.

The project is being built over and beyond an 8.5-acre railyard, including a basketball arena (for the new Brooklyn Nets, formerly New Jersey Nets) and 16 mostly-residential towers, up to 510 feet tall (and maybe taller).

This walk addresses an enormously complex and contested history and present, including:

  • the role of professional sports,
  • changes in architects,
  • changes in timetables,
  • governmental direct and indirect assistance,
  • an override of zoning,
  • modular construction,
  • affordable housing,
  • neighborhood activism,
  • the function of a "transit-oriented" arena,
  • the notion of a "new neighborhood,"
  • the debate over gentrification,
  • a new green roof,
  • international investment (from Russia and China),
  • the notion of "blight" (as a precursor for eminent domain),
  • and even the role of Jay-Z.

We'll meet outside the Barclays Center under the oculus (opening to the sky), next to the giant statue that looks like a rock formation.  We will end at the intersection of Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street.

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