Eminent Domain

"It was as if all he knew was what he had read in his own paper."

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Writing at Design Observer, architectural historian Alexandra Lange takes aim at New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff, focusing extensively on Ouroussoff's uninformed cheerleading for Bruce Ratner's notorious Atlantic Yards stadium project in Brooklyn:

Ouroussoff has an opinion about design, but his reviews offer not much more than that opinion. His approach — little history, less politics, occasional urbanism — shrinks the critic's role to commenting only on the appearance of the architecture….

Exhibits A and B in this critique are Ouroussoff's reviews of the massive Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. It was unclear from his first review whether Ouroussoff had ever been to Brooklyn, so grateful did he think we should be for the services of (Los Angeles) architect Frank Gehry….

In neither review, nor those in between, did Ouroussoff ever describe the intersection as it exists or offer any personal experience with that Brooklyn renaissance. It was as if all he knew was what he had read in his own paper. He could see the models at the office. He could talk to Frank Gehry. That was enough.

Read the whole thing here.

Speaking of "little history, less politics," it's worth noting that The New York Times currently operates out of a midtown headquarters whose land was acquired via eminent domain and built in partnership with Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, a fact the Times doesn't always disclose when writing about Ratner's Brooklyn boondoggle.

For on an-the-ground account from one beloved neighborhood business slated for demolition thanks to Ratner's Atlantic Yards, check out Reason.tv's "Billionaires vs. Brooklyn's Best Bar" below: