I know this is last week’s news, but I had to let it sink in a while: is the UN really coming to Brooklyn? And why, being that I’m in favor of most of the proposed new development for Brooklyn, do I have mixed feelings about it? I think it’s because the rumored site for the UN’s temporary relocation is MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. MetroTech is a nicely-done 1990s urban renewal project that’s home to an unusual (but apparently successful) combination of corporate, government, and academic tenants. Polytechnic Universitiy, FDNY, Verizon, Bear Stearns, SIAC, and the NYC 911 call center all call MetroTech home. MetroTech is important to New York because it’s an economic anchor for Downtown Brooklyn and provides an alternative for corporations that might otherwise move their back office operations to Jersey City.
So how does the UN fit in? I don’t think it does. The UN at MetroTechTM would bring security and traffic hassles to an area that’s already congested — and on the upswing. Why not look at the UN relocation as a way to bring some wealth and attention to a part of Brooklyn that could use it? I think the Brooklyn Army Terminal or Red Hook would be ideal. The subway access would be bad, but I’m sure the UN could afford to set up a water shuttle between the Brooklyn waterfront and Manhattan. If they go to Red Hook, they might even get to hang out with Ikea. Swedish meatballs, yum.
[Yeah, the Morrissey reference is a stretch, but whatever, it’s a cool song.]