Sunday, December 25, 2005


The Times corrects the "over the railyards" error--in the Real Estate section, at least

A Times Real Estate section correction printed 12/25/05: The "Living In ..." article last Sunday, about Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, referred imprecisely to a proposal by Bruce C. Ratner to build a nearby complex of shops, offices, housing and a basketball arena. It would indeed be built over the Atlantic Avenue railyards, but also on adjacent land now occupied by residences and businesses.

Indeed, precise description of the location is important, since the railyards occupy 8.3 acres of a proposed 22-acre site, as has been pointed out multiple times. The project also would require purchase of private land, the closing of city streets, and, most likely, the use of eminent domain--all unnecessary if the project were confined to the railyards. I'd also quibble with the description of the project itself, since, as I noted, the phrase "a sizable complex of shopping, offices, housing and a Frank Gehry-designed arena"--contrasts with the more accurate description in an 11/6/05 Metro section article: "essentially a large residential development with an arena and a relatively small amount of office and retail space attached to it."

Still, it's welcome that the Times--which generally corrects the most minute of errors--finally corrected this far more significant one. But will the Times now issue corrections for the same error? It previously occurred in John Manbeck's 11/13/05 op-ed (Forest City Ratner Companies' plan to build a sports arena surrounded by 17 imposing high-rise buildings on the Atlantic Avenue railyards) and then-architecture critic Herbert Muschamp's 12/11/03 assessment (The six-block site is adjacent to Atlantic Terminal, where the Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines converge. It is now an open railyard.).

Given that previous correction requests regarding the above two errors have not yielded results, I'm not sure whether the correction printed today represents a change of policy or a sign of the Times's balkanization--it may be that the Real Estate desk is more willing to print corrections. Still, if the Times wants to remain consistent, the Manbeck and Muschamp descriptions should be corrected as well.

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