The esteemed Ed Weintrob, publisher of the Brooklyn Papers, mentioned this morning on WNYC that Baruch College was once interested in the Atlantic Yards site. Since Bruce Ratner announced his intention to build down there, neighborhood groups have been persistent in pointing this out to counter the mayor’s argument that nobody else is likely to be interested in the site. If Baruch wanted this spot once, maybe someone else will come along and propose something more fitting than Gehryland, right?
We did a little research on this idea once, and are happy to finally have an excuse to show off our microfiching skills. (Actually, we just used a computer database that goes back farther than Nexis.) True, a May 16, 1968, Times story describes a very preliminary proposed campus as extending from Hanson Place to Pacific Street, straddling the rail yards. But by the time the proposal made it to the city Planning Commission seven years later, the entire bit had shifted north of the rail yards. (See, if you insist, the NYT, Jan. 19, 1975, p.91.) That plan was approved but met its demise in the fiscal crisis.
Incidentally, at the time, Brooklyn Beep Sebastian Leone was pushing for an indoor sports stadium for the parcel between Atlantic and Hanson. Paul Kerrigan, chairman of the Fort Greene Nonprofit Improvement Corporation, asked at the public hearing for Baruch: “Will we continue to be threatened with a megalomaniac white elephant of a sports stadium that would devastate our community and surrounding area?”
– Matthew Schuerman