Brooklyn’s skyline draws criticism for lack of context

July 15, 2013 01:30PM

Brooklyn has long blown Manhattan away when it comes to population, but continues to lag when it comes to an iconic skyline, at least according to the Wall Street Journal.

In the lower-slung borough, almost all the new skyscrapers appear outsized from most angles.

“If you build a mediocre skyscraper in lower Manhattan it is going to get absorbed in the crowd; it is just going to be one of the guys,” Francoise Bollock, an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University, told the Journal. “Here, the pressure to better design increases.”

In the north end of Brooklyn, Clarett Group’s 51- story rental building the Brooklyner, at 111 Lawrence Street in Downtown Brooklyn, snagged the title of tallest in the borough in 2009, from the Williamsburg Savings Bank. And the Brooklyner will soon be overstepped by Avalon Bay’s 53-story condominium-rental hybrid at 388 Bridge Street, set to open in 2014.

That tower will soon thereafter lose the title to another Avalon Bay rental project, the Avalon, just around the corner. And then there is the shorter but notable Dermot Company’s 44-story 66 Rockwell Place, a neighbor to the Williamsburgh Bank Building, and Two Trees Management’s just-approved 32-story BAM South tower, just down the street.

Brooklyn hasn’t seen a skyscraper boom on this scale since the 1920s, when four buildings battled out the claim for tallest building, before finally yielding to the Williamsburgh building in 1929.

Today Brooklyn’s competition with Manhattan, despite an influx of new buildings and residents, is centered more on cool restaurants, pricey real estate and winning sports teams. [WSJ]Julie Strickland