Editor's Message From The Editor
Welcome to Bono’s Borough?
A sure sign that a neighborhood is over is when its real estate starts to be marketed to “rock stars” seeking to “avoid the paparazzi.” Such is currently the case with the monstrous condos being built over McCarren Park in Greenpoint. There, according to the telephone booth ad on Bedford, one will have “gated private parking,” presumably for one’s limo. With McCarren Pool fast becoming a large-scale concert venue for a Clear Channel spin-off, on some occasions a lucky rock star may only need to be driven across the street. Forget community, it’s time to lay out the red carpet for real royalty.
Many neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Heights will be irrevocably altered by Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project, should it continue forward in its current design. Here the appeals are currently being made in the name of “community,” and not yet to the royalty who would occupy most of the soaring condos. As Paul Goldberger summarizes the project in the current issue of Metropolis, “In downtown Brooklyn a single developer is now proposing an enormous complex of multiple towers, shops, and public space around the centerpiece of a sports arena, and he is trying to present it—like so many megaprojects today—as not just an effort at economic development but an enabler of a fine-grained urban life.” In less fine-grained terms, the delirious Frank Gehry said the project will create a “neighborhood from scratch,” in an area where there are “lots of ugly buildings” (many of them built by Bruce Ratner!). The Municipal Art Society has a more sober conclusion: “Forest City Ratner’s current plan won’t work for Brooklyn.”
And so the fights will continue in the name of actually existing, livable neighborhoods that can handle sensible, compatible development. The obstacles are many, not least the insults that one may endure from those in power. Senator Schumer will say you belong to the “culture of inertia,” and Ratner’s spokesmen will call you “unpatriotic.” But it may help to remember the words of none other than Mayor Bloomberg, who’s never met a megaproject he didn’t like. Last year, as he explained that while he indeed is a supporter of projects on the scale of Ikea in Red Hook, he added, “But I think if I lived there, I don’t know whether I would be, quite honestly.” Just as honestly, it’s up to those of us who actually live in Brooklyn to shape its destiny: as either a place that caters to rock stars and luxury towers or one that nurtures sustainable communities.
The Sign in Sidney Brusteins Window Returns to New York Six Decades after its Broadway PremiereBy Paul David Young
MARCH 2023 | Theater
The BAM Harvey Theater revival of Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, a panorama of early 1960s West Village bohemia, the Bushwick of yesteryear, offers its talented cast many opportunities to show their comic timing, though the production cannot overcome the play's flaws entirely.
Hiromi Kawakami’s People From My Neighborhood and Sequoia Nagamatsu's How High We Go in the DarkBy Yvonne C. Garrett
DEC 21-JAN 22 | Books
Each of these books presents a master class in craft while also providing a perfectly honed narrative that draws the reader in and wont let go.
Deborah Levy’s Real EstateBy Elizabeth Block
OCT 2021 | Books
What kind of feminist would rather be labeled, according to real estate terminology, as chattel real, rather than flipping that metaphor literally to lord of the land? With all the privileges and advantages real estate offers for wealth building, why just daydream about it if one has book advances and award money to buy a little security? These are questions inevitably raised, but not resolved, in Deborah Levys third book in a contemplative memoir series, Real Estate.
Martin Wong: Dream Fungus: Early Works 1967-1978By Christian Liclair
JUNE 2022 | ArtSeen
Today, Martin Wong (19461999) is undoubtedly best known as an unwavering chronicler of a bygone era in New Yorks Loisaida neighborhood, his meticulous renderings of the material worlds seemingly inconsequential details, like brick walls or chain-wire fencing, and, of course, his adaptation of the fingerspelling gestures used in American Sign Language.