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In Downtown, blight gets a window dressing

The Brooklyn Paper
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Downtown developer Al Laboz is once again papering over his problem on Willoughby Street.

The developer, who cleared out his tenants in 2007 in anticipating of tearing down a one-story building for a retail and residential tower, has once again called in the artists to make his mess look nice.

Dubbed “Windows on Willoughby,” the installation between Duffield and Bridge streets seeks to mask the perception that Downtown is dead — a perception that the Metrotech Business Improvement District is definitely focused on not spreading.

“I [told] Laboz a year ago that the empty storefronts were impacting the rest of the retail district,” said Cathy Hickey, the director of commercial and retail development for the BID. “So he jumped at the idea [of] installing artwork.”

Hickey said that last year’s version of the project became such a focal point for onlookers that she decided to freshen it up with the new installation.

The 12 artists aren’t being paid, but welcomed the chance to exhibit their work.

“We all like to show our work publicly in the street,” said Joe Iurato, whose piece, “Children, You Will Save The World One Day,” deals with impoverished kids.

Laboz did not return calls.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

jx from ft greene says:
I thought the Metro Tech area was going to be the answer to the problems of urban blight and vacated business ownership in the downtown Brooklyn area? No just another form of legal land grabbing. Downtown Brooklyn will NEVER be a destination for anything other than people forced to work their...No youngsters, hipsters, yuppies or whatever want to spend time their when the work day is done. The Ratner Metrotech development literally sucked all of the life out of the area. I think about what could have been but I only see the lost potential. Tragedy...
May 17, 2010, 3:28 pm

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