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05.21.2008
Eavesdrop: Anne Guiney

GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY

Bruce Ratner’s troubles over at the Atlantic Yards have been piling up, what with financing trouble, the softening real estate market, and even rumors that some folks in Newark are going to try to steal the Nets. But those woes are about to get bigger—by a neat 50%. The two stalwarts behind Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, Daniel Goldstein and Shabnam Merchant, are expecting a newborn community organizer of their own! Goldstein and Merchant are the sole holdouts in their Pacific Street condo building, which Ratner & co. would like to knock down to make way for some twisty Frank Gehry towers. Their building apparently still has a super, who must not have a heck of a lot to do. (N.B. to Goldstein and Merchant: ask nice and maybe he’ll babysit.) Sure, it’s an unorthodox method of fighting eminent domain, but it could just work! We wish the happy parents all the best, and may their little bundle of activism have a fighting spirit as strong as their own. 

QUICK! GET THIS MAN A CONDO!

Some afternoons at work, we confess, we are not 100 percent focused on the comings and goings of our fair city’s community boards, or the valiant efforts of the AIA to better said fair city, or, in fact, anything to do with architecture. Those are the times we turn to the blog of Kanye West, hip-hop genius, kinda-sorta activist (in the days after Hurricane Katrina struck, he famously blurted “George Bush doesn’t care about black people!”) and shopper extraordinaire. Imagine our delight, then, when we saw that among the gadgets and gizmos and sunglasses he favors, he had linked to renderings of UN Studio’s snappy new 5 Franklin Place condominium tower. “Vindication!” we cried. We read on, smug in the knowledge that our time was well spent after all, and began to hatch story ideas about architecture’s relevance in pop culture and important things like that. Moments later, we came upon another link to a great set of renderings—Neil Denari’s HL23. This one came with a headline: “Have you ever seen something so good you’d die without it?” Our first impulse was to get on the phone with developer Alf Naman and urge him to hurry up and build it—we can’t risk losing Kanye! But then we remembered something, and were humbled. Both projects are in the capable hands of macher/publicist Andrea Schwan. We’re pretty sure Kanye is a real architecture fan, but we are also pretty sure that he had help in finding those projects. She’s good, ladies and gentlemen, very, very good!

Send baby pictures and gossip to eavesdrop@archpaper.com.

Anne Guiney