Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Times architecture critic Ouroussoff gets political--regarding the Javits Center

In his assessment today on the expansion of the Javits Convention Center, headlined In Javits Expansion, Old Dreams Revisited, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff includes this passage:
Embarrassed by the rejection of a Jets stadium for the West Side and the endless squabbling about the design for a Freedom Tower at ground zero, city and state officials overseeing the Javits project seem to be in a mad rush to push it through. With shadowy political maneuvering, they have stifled the kind of public debate that could have led to a more ambitious vision for the convention center and the decrepit neighborhoods next to it.

By contrast, his 7/5/05 essay on the Atlantic Yards plan, headlined Seeking First to Reinvent the Sports Arena, and Then Brooklyn, Ouroussoff wrote:
Frank Gehry's new design for a 21-acre corridor of high-rise towers anchored by the 19,000-seat Nets arena in Brooklyn may be the most important urban development plan proposed in New York City in decades. If it is approved, it will radically alter the Brooklyn skyline, reaffirming the borough's emergence as a legitimate cultural rival to Manhattan. More significant, however, Mr. Gehry's towering composition of clashing, undulating forms is an intriguing attempt to overturn a half-century's worth of failed urban planning ideas.

There's no mention of the political maneuvering behind the project, and the potential, for example, of ruinous traffic. Now that more public concern has been voiced about this project, let's see what Ouroussoff writes in response to the third version of the Gehry's design, expected in the next months.

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