How Is Atlantic Yards Like [em]Ishtar[/em]?

In a strongly worded editorial, analyst Peter Slatin unloads on two major New York real estate projects that recently took big steps forward.

Mr. Slatin calls the Freedom Tower, for which steel columns were placed last week, “the egregiously clunky and skyline-sucking icon that Larry Silverstein and outgoing New York Governor George Pataki are determined to force on the city.”

He, however, reserves his most searing ire for the Atlantic Yards project, which was approved by the state Public Authorities Control Board last week. Declaring some parts of it admirable (the new Nets arena, the fact that it will eradicate an old train yard), Mr. Slatin nevertheless dubs Atlantic Yards no better than one of the worst Hollywood movies yet made:

[Bruce] Ratner and [Frank] Gehry’s Atlantic Yards, however, is more like “Ishtar” than, say, “Vertigo”: big and stupid. Gehry’s design deftly succeeds at simply overpowering itself and its surroundings, and offers its residents no homey concessions to the place they call home. It has all the urban charm of Cabrini-Green.

Ouch.

- Tom Acitelli