Why Are Brooklyn’s Skyscrapers So Ugly?

The Oro Downtown Brooklyn

“For all of Brooklyn’s hip reputation, you wouldn’t know it from the skyline,” Anthony Paletta wrote yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, and he has a point—while Brooklyn may be good at art and books and food and such, we’re not very good at building skyscrapers. But that wasn’t always the case: Downtown Brooklyn last had a skyscraper boom in the 1920s, many of which were landmarked early last year in the city’s first protected “skyscraper district.” No one could argue the modern majesty of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower. But these things thrusting rudely skyward all over Downtown? Ugh. Skyscrapers of course can be beautiful, as anyone who’s ever picked out certain buildings from the Manhattan skyline can attest. So what’s going on with these new ones?


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