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Gehry: New Ms. Brooklyn on the way

“Miss Brooklyn,” the cornerstone of Frank Gehry’s vision for the Atlantic Yards project, is undergoing major plastic surgery. Gehry let his secret out at last week’s Brooklyn Museum press conference announcing the $400 million, 20-year naming rights deal between England-based Barclays Bank and Bruce Ratner’s Nets basketball team to call the proposed Brooklyn Arena Barclays Center. Originally, “Miss Brooklyn” was a mammoth 600-foot, 60-story structure at the Flatbush/Atlantic Avenue intersection, dwarfing the borough’s current tallest building – the Williamsburgh Bank Building at 512 feet high and 34 stories. However, Gehry’s hopes to create a new borough landmark were dashed in a last-minute deal to approve the 22-acre arena and 16 skyscraper project. “Miss Brooklyn – she’s gone. She’s a new one now. I have a new Miss Brooklyn. I haven’t showed it yet and she’s better,” said Gehry, one of the world’s pre-eminent architects. “I’ve always loved a reason to start over again and I did it,” he said. Gehry also let out how the building got its name. “Miss Brooklyn got named when one of my guys was bringing the model from LA to New York and they had to buy a seat on the airplane, and when they sold the seat they needed a name so he said, ‘call her Miss Brooklyn’ and it stuck,” said Gehry. Gehry also took umbrage to critics who charge the Atlantic Yards project is the “Manhattanization of Brooklyn.” “It will be the Brooklynization of Brooklyn not the Manhattanization. Things are changing and growing, and people are attracted to the center — the cities, and whether you like it or not it’s happening here,” said Gehry.

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