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From Taste of New York: a 550 Vanderbilt video with a ridiculous suggestion of interim open space

OK, let's look at a video from Taste of New York--a weekly lifestyle show on Time Warner cable-- video promoting the 550 Vanderbilt condo tower. I'll excerpt the narration in italics, then add comments.

Our number one choice for an ultimate homelies at the intersection of five of the borough’s most desirable neighborhoods. This unique full-service condominium residence introduces a new way of living in Brooklyn. A look and feel that blends gracefully with the historic Brooklyn landscape, 550 Vanderbilt is an example of exceptional craftsmanship executed with future generations in mind. Welcome to 550 Vanderbilt, the gateway to a new community at Pacific Park.

That's a real journalism there.

Then the narrator meets with Forest City Ratner's Susi Yu to talk up the building.

Pacific Park is a 22-acre, 16-building development, which was started back in 2008 with the construction of the Barclays Center.

Actually, Yu should know the project was announced in 2003 as Atlantic Yards, and the arena construction began in 2010.

We have over 10,000 square feet of amenity space. A majority of it actually has natural sunlight. We have a library with a grand piano that looks outside to the 22-acre park that we'll be developing.

Well, there's no park, just "open space," and it will--in well over a decade--total 8 acres, not 22. (That figure covers the entire project site.)

At right is a screenshot from the video that somehow--ridiculously--suggests that the gaps between 550 Vanderbilt and the 535 Carlton tower also under construction will be filled by trees and open space, with white patches on the ground for future towers. And the same will go for the Vanderbilt Yard.

Actually, the open space likely won't be finished until the 2030s, and there are no plans for interim open spaces. Look below right for a more accurate depiction of the plot next to 550 Vanderbilt.

And we have a children's playroom, a gym,.. what's really different is, on the 8th floor, we have almost 4500 square feet of outdoor space, with garden plots... We feel some other spots... will be used .. to create a community garden.

Unlike real community gardens, which are open to all comers, this will be open to those in the "community of the building."

I think what sets [architect] Rick [Cook] apart from other architects is that, when he has a new commission, he really explores the neighborhood, and tries to understand the context of where he develops in. So, for 550, he walked around the historical brownstones of Prospect Heights, looked at Grand Army Plaza, but mostly he was inspired by this beautiful cathedral on Pacific Street, and that was his inspiration to actually select the brick. He liked the way the different type of brick reflects the light.

So that's a more thoughtful design choice than, say, the colorful panels on the towers flanking the Barclays Center. But all Yu's talk about bricks and natural light all obscures the feverish effort to promote--deceptively--a building that, at least for now, faces significant competition in the market.

Offering the finest amenities within a natural setting, 550 Vanderbilt is setting the standard for Brooklyn living.

That's the narrator back, at the end, telling it like it is.

Below, the proposed open space plan, from landscape architect Thomas Balsley. 


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