Thursday, April 5, 2007


Walking along Atlantic Avenue recently, where some new LUXURY apartments are going up. Most every apartment building in these parts is now touted as LUXURY, the word pronounced as if by the grotesque Robin Leach. How luxurious is it to overlook Atlantic Avenue, which is traffic most of the day, and sure to get more crowded once the monstrous Atlantic Yards project befouls the borough? In anticipation of that wholesale pimping of the commonweal to private developers and the traffic mess it well create, the city recently floated the idea of drag-stripping a couple of avenues in Park Slope by making them one-way. Initial plans for the Yards touted the public transportation hub already in existence there, but you know the B&T crowd they are expecting to come to the Nets will utilize their god-given suburban right to drive. Another of the nasty ironies about this land grab: the developers have blacked-up, peopling all events and information booths with African American teenagers; a brilliant move in our symbolic culture.

Meanwhile, further down Atlantic, another butt-ugly complex is going up… across Smith Street from the Brooklyn Detention Complex! (The city wants to re-open this at twice it’s old capacity). Some hotshot designer of the moment is doing the interiors: “Pop is clean, colorful,” he boasts on the hoardings, speaking for a shoddy mega-developer who’s unsafe working conditions are legion. Not that the global hiperati cares much about such things. It’s not luxe.

Closer to me is a new place rising over the deadzone of the BQE. For those of you from away, this much-decayed expressway is, in my neighborhood anyway, depressed below grade level, making it a funnel of traffic, carbon monoxide, and monotony. The new place has balconies overlooking this internal combustion gutter. Luxury? Sure smells like it.

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