On an overcast day, the delicate pointed crown of the Brooklyn Tower is invisible in the clouds, as if a vengeful enemy has shrouded its superlative vantage in smoke. Nonetheless, over the low-rise flatlands that comprise most of the borough, the jagged edges rising along the dark shaft are present and unmistakable.
The Batman building, the Tower of Sauron — the nicknames write themselves. And why not? Better this than another squared-off tower that simply fiddles with the ratio of white solid to blue glass. Maybe I should hate it for its bigness, its blackness, its thrust — but I don’t. Skylines need punctuation. The designers of the Brooklyn Tower, SHoP Architects, threw everything at this to make it an exclamation point.
The Brooklyn Tower towers over the rest, a 1,066-foot-tall fortress at 9 DeKalb Avenue that marks the borough’s first foray into the supertall stratosphere. Yet it is not completely alone in altitude: Downtown Brooklyn has added more than 20,000 housing units since it was rezoned in 2004, most of them in undistinguished high-rises. Exceptions include Studio Gang’s 11 Hoyt and Alloy LLC’s forthcoming 100 Flatbush, which also play with texture and technology in ways that reference the 1930s — New York’s first great skyscraper age.