636 Pacific Street, near 6th Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
I shot this video from the former apartment of Dan Goldstein and his family. They were the last residents of the building, and one the last families to be living in the footprint.
I shot this on May 4, 2010, one of their last days in their home.
I shot this on May 6, 2010, their last night in their home.
Wing Lee Street [map], the last intact block of 1950s “tong lau” architecture in Hong Kong, and now surrounded by high rise buildings, is threatened with “redevelopment.” (Good background articles: HK Magazine’s “There Goes The Neighborhood” and CNN Go’s “The pros and cons of preserving photogenic Wing Lee Street“)
In 2003, Hong Kong’s Urban Renewal Authority (URA) revealed plans where Wing Lee Street would be demolished. Those plans, which have sparked community opposition, are being reconsidered due to Wing Lee Street’s sudden popularity, which is owed to the success of the local film “Echoes of the Rainbow” or “Sui yuet san tau.” The film was shot on Wing Street and has won the Crystal Bear award at the Berlinale Film Festival. The filmmakers thought themselves lucky when they found the architectural time capsule. Other filmmakers have resorted to reconstructing old Hong Kong neighborhoods in cities as far away as Shanghai, at great expense.
Wing Lee Street is now a popular site for photographers and others who want to see one of the few remaining pieces of old Hong Kong. (See hundreds of photos by others on Flickr and my photos) The redevelopment plans are being revised to possibly save all of the houses. Ironically, the husband and wife team of director Alex Law and producer Mabel Cheung were able to complete Echoes of the Rainbow with funding from the Hong Kong government’s Film Development Fund.
I find myself wondering: if an award-winning movie had featured some of the now-demolished and soon-to-be-demolished buildings within the Atlantic Yards footprint, would we be looking forward to a neighborhood blighted with “temporary surface parking lots” surrounding a money-losing (for the taxpayer) arena?
UPDATE: See coverage of the official groundbreaking ceremony on Atlantic Yards Report.
(Un)fortunately, I won’t be there to witness the lies first hand, but all the Atlantic Yards perpetrators will be wielding their golden shovels this coming Thursday, March 11th, at 1:30pm for the ceremonial Barclays Center & Atlantic Yards groundbreaking. I expect Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s Groundbreaking Ceremony (to bury the soul of Brooklyn) to be a much more interesting event, and I am sorry that I’ll miss that. Read the dueling press releases below.
First up, Forest City Ratner & accomplices:
BARCLAYS CENTER AND ATLANTIC YARDS
GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2010
Ceremonial Groundbreaking to Celebrate the Next Phase of Construction
On Atlantic Yards and Sports and Entertainment Arena in Brooklyn
(BROOKLYN, NY) – March 8, 2010 – Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, Barclays PLC President Robert E. Diamond, Jr., NETS investor and cultural icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Brett Yormark, among others, will be on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 5th and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn (12:30 PM press set up, 1:30 PM ceremony).
While work has been ongoing at the site since last fall, and with the temporary rail yard completed last December, the March 11 groundbreaking ceremony will mark the next phase of construction on the 18,000-seat world-class sports and entertainment arena. The Barclays Center will host more than 200 events annually, including professional and collegiate sports, concerts, family shows, NETS Basketball, and much more. The first phase of Atlantic Yards will also include three residential buildings, with the first starting later this year.
WHAT: Ceremonial groundbreaking for Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards.
WHO: Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, Barclays PLC President Robert E. Diamond, Jr., NETS investor and cultural icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Brett Yormark, among others.
WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2010. Ceremony to start at 1:30 PM.
Press setup at 12:30 PM. ONLY OFFICIAL CREDENTIALED PRESS WILL BE PROVIDED ACCESS.
WHERE: Intersection of 5th and Atlantic Avenues, Brooklyn
March 11: Two Groundbreakings to Protest Ratner’s Boondoggle Ceremony
Many of us are angry, no…mad, and lots have already said, “I’ll be there.”
This is the moment to express your anger and outrage:
Take off work or take a long lunch to express all of your anger and outrage about the abusive, destructive, and corrupt Atlantic Yards project…
Thursday March 11 at 12:30pm
DDDB Joins Bloomberg, Markowitz, Pataki, Spitzer, Paterson, Schumer, Cuomo, Prokhorov and Ratner’s Groundbreaking to Bury the Soul of Brooklyn
Featuring Markowitz’s Proclamation Marking the Events of the Day
Exact location (in the project footprint, probably in front of Freddy’s Bar on Dean and 6th) yet to be determined…stay tuned.
Thursday, March 11. Reportedly 1:30pm
Join us to Protest the Barclays/Ratner Boondoggle Ceremonial Groundbreaking
Exact location (in the project footprint) yet to be determined…stay tuned.
Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights, industrial and forlorn for much of the late twentieth century, was looking better by 2003. Government was doing its proper job: crime was down, and the public-transit commute to midtown Manhattan, where many Brooklynites worked, was just 25 minutes. That meant that the private sector could do its job, too, rejuvenating the neighborhood after urban decay. Developers had bought 1920s-era factories and warehouses and converted them into condos for buyers like Daniel Goldstein, who paid $590,000 for a place in a former dry-goods warehouse in 2003. These new residents weren’t put off by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s railyards nearby, and they liked the hardwood floors and airy views typical of such refurbished buildings. They also settled in alongside longtime residents in little houses on quiet streets. Wealthier newcomers joined regulars at Freddy’s, a bar that predated Prohibition. Small businesses continued to employ skilled laborers in low-rise industrial buildings.
These homes were determined to be “blighted” and would be demolished for Atlantic Yards. A high rise building would replace them (and 3 other homes, 2 of which have already been demolished).