1. Respect and integrate with surrounding neighborhoods

Gehry Partners

The original Atlantic Yards plan described in the draft environmental impact statement published in July 2006 threatened to divide and overwhelm surrounding neighborhoods with enormous towers and create deadening superblocks with open space situated behind buildings.
The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors have called for the scale of the project to be reduced, to keep Pacific Street and Fifth Avenue open and to create new streets connecting Prospect Heights with Fort Greene, and to create real public parks bordered by streets. BrooklynSpeaks has also called for reuse of historic buildings, such as the Ward Bakery (right), which in 2008, despite the best efforts of many advocates, was demolished.

Photography by BenBen

The modified Atlantic Yards plan is also inappropriate for its surroundings, but for different reasons. Whereas the original plan presented a vision of massive towers dwarfing the neighboring low-scale residential and light manufacturing buildings, the new plan promises nothing more than an arena, possibly one residential building, and a massive surface parking lot which will remain for a decade or more until the developer believes market conditions favor further development in "phase 2" of the project.
Even though the modified Atlantic Yards plan claims it will remove "blight" at the Vanderbilt Yard site, it is much more likely that the project will continue to create new blight where none truly existed before the project's announcement. The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors believe Atlantic Yards must:
  • Significantly reduce the amount of land set aside for staging and construction worker parking, aligned with the slower build-out schedule now expected, and prioritize locations nearest construction for these uses.
  • Program interim active and passive open space on unused areas in the phase 2 site, to be mapped as one or more New York City parks.
  • Work with the community to define and maintain standards for stewardship of areas of the site under constructions, ensuring that barriers and fencing are attractive and in keeping with the surrounding streets (many of which are within New York City Historic Districts).
  • Maintain a Fifth Avenue visual corridor and pedestrian way across the site to Ft. Greene Place.
  • Restore the Carlton Avenue Bridge to service.