Thursday, May 22, 2008


Joni Mitchell's ode to over-development rings true here in Carroll Gardens. While they're not putting up a parking lot, they're "paving paradise." It's our little paradise of brownstone homes and small shops. The latest incarnation of this comes in the form of the Clarett Group's new project, "The Collection at Court Street."
(click on the little arrow in the video below for "Big Yellow Taxi")

The project is bordered by Court, Union and Sackett Streets and right now all that sits there is a big empty lot surrounded by a high wooden construction fence. But, Clarett and it's architects , Rogers Marvel, have given the community a sneak peak of what we might expect to emerge from the now empty space.

The big sign in front of the project proclaims, " a collection of modern town homes, maisonettes, duplex and single floor condominium homes thoughtfully designed by Rogers Marvel." Really? Thoughtfully designed? For whom? In this neighborhood of turn of the century brownstones, anything modern is not thoughtfully designed. The million dollar yuppies moving into the neighborhood will grab up these homes, starting at $500,000. But, for the rest of us who have to look at the monstrosity to come, modern means undesirable.

With a few exceptions, the folks at Rogers Marvel design modern retail, office and residential properties. They're sleek and often Frank Lloyd Wright-esque. Modern is fine in neighborhoods where it's appropriate. Neighborhood gentrification is good, but projects like this go over the top. Gentrification is good in places of blight. This is not a blighted neighborhood in need of a modern face lift. This is a historic neighborhood that needs to be preserved as such and I'm sorry, "The Collection at Court Street" is nothing more than a collection of junk.

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