Planned, Then and Now

Perhaps it was too ambitious at the beginning, a design in the second half of Gilded Age when everything should be grand and opulent.

The original design of the Brooklyn Museum by McKim, Mead and White would outshine Louvre and Met in its scale, but once the city of Brooklyn merged with Manhattan, the other side of the East River would lose its competitiveness and the final result is partially sweet for its grand facade, but partially sad because it is in my opinion a forever symbol of an unfulfilled dream.

The new entrance, sleek, modern and inviting in its own way, does not add too much exhibition space. I always hope that at least the west side of the building can be built to match the single finger-shape of the building on the east side, thus the museum can have two Beaux-Art courts.

In the era of shining clad, my wish may be too absurd to the public taste. (The only recently built public building with classical design that I have seen is the symphony hall in Nashville, TN. ) For me, it is not about the Roman classics or nobility, it is the historical integrity, a chance to make the dream true.

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