NY Mag: Is Barclays Center a Success?

Sportswriter Will Leitch has penned a big narrative think piece on Barclays Center in New York Magazine. The takeaway: It’s here, sports fans are excited, this will shape Brooklyn for years to come. Reflecting on the process that brought us to this point, he said:

Ratner doesn’t worry about his personal legacy; once, during another meeting, he pointed to famous buildings nearby and noted that no one knows the names of the people who built them. The world is a “long, big place,” he said. One hundred years from now, “Brooklyn is going to be an epicenter of this country, and this place will be at the middle of that. No one will care what we had to do to make it happen.”

One of the biggest effects of the center is likely to be on traffic and parking, although the city still maintains no special permits are needed for residents. “The nightmare situation involves random Barclays Center patrons driving up, through, and around Park Slope and Cobble Hill all night looking for free parking,” he wrote. In its own take on the story, Atlantic Yards Reports said: “What about the housing — would it last 100 years, especially if built modular? I wouldn’t bet on it.” What do you think?
What if Bruce Ratner’s Barclays Center Isn’t a Success? [NY Mag]
NY Mag on Barclays Center [AYR]
Building Affordable Housing at Atlantic Yards [Brownstoner]
Photo by hunter.gatherer

15 Comment

  • “No one will care what we had to do to make it happen.”

    Wow. That really is outrageous.

  • Is there any new construction in Brooklyn that will be around in 100 years? Of course not.

  • “No one will care what we had to do to make it happen.”

    Yeah, that really is an outrageous statement. So I guess the ends justify the means. That’s a slippery slope, and if that comment is his legacy, well, I’d rather be nobody, too.

  • Ratner is right, nobody will care or remember who made the arena decades from now. does anyone remember who built Madison Square Garden and how that happened? No, that’s the reality.

    Also, the eminent domain struggles were not big enough to register through history. I don’t think that people 30 years from now will remember much about a couple of blocks of building being taken over. It is not like the painful memory of Robert Moses demolishing and displacing thousands to build his highways throughout all 5 boroughs. Ratner will not rank as high as Moses as a memorable villain.

  • Ratner is right, nobody will care or remember who made the arena decades from now. does anyone remember who built Madison Square Garden and how that happened? No, that’s the reality.

    Also, the eminent domain struggles were not big enough to register through history. I don’t think that people 30 years from now will remember much about a couple of blocks of building being taken over. It is not like the painful memory of Robert Moses demolishing and displacing thousands to build his highways throughout all 5 boroughs. Ratner will not rank as high as Moses as a memorable villain.

  • dash

    What a poorly written article. I couldn’t get past the first page.

  • dash

    What a poorly written article. I couldn’t get past the first page.

  • minard

    I agree that no one will remember how the arena came to be any more than any other civic project. Take for instance the wholesale destruction that created Cadman Plaza. That was the largest urban renewal project in the country at the time. Thousands were displaced. Six hundred buildings were demolished including Walt Whitman’s house.
    It was really a huge event and yet, apart from historians like MM and myself, no one knows about it.

  • Success is defined depending on who’s perspective you’re viewing the situation from

  • MM,

    IMO this is more apprpriately characterized as “might makes right.”

  • Yes, no one will remember, as we’ll all be dead before 100 years passes.

    What one does know, though, even if not through direct memory, is the awkward spaces poor urban planning results in. I noted the ugly, useless sort of space planning that Cadman Plaza is, sensed it just being there, even before I thought much about it – it just doesn’t draw one to want to spend time there. Much of Moses’ legacy leaves one with similar feelings (though I love his beaches.) It is clear what the building at Atlantic Center will do to the streetscape around there, and I don’t think it is a good thing.

    Many, including me, hated the streetscape created by the World Trade Center, every time I had to walk to it, or through it, or around it, even though I never saw the area before it was built (and having nostalgia for it now that they are gone is not really a contradictory feeling.) Yes, the new buildings won’t last, as they didn’t, and will be demolished, as they were (however one believes that went down), and as they would have been eventually anyway, as they were already obsolete in many ways. The street planning, however, that allowed for them to be built, and the Atlantic Center, as superblocks, however, does seem to survive the modern buildings that don’t.

  • Whether or not anyone will remember how this project came to be seems to be a mechanism to relieve the key players involved in this deal of responsibility for their shameful way of doing business. It does not.

  • cara greenberg

    Minard, add me to the list of people who are pained about Cadman Plaza. I can’t see it without thinking, “600 brownstones!!” And designerbiker, I’m certainly aware of how Madison Square Garden, that abomination, happened –by replacing the great old Penn Station, a loss that led to the historic preservation movement in NYC. The Barclays Center is no magnificent piece of architecture, but at least it didn’t require the destruction of one.