Scattered Notes from a Night in Atlantic Station

As a young wanna-be rebellious college student, I don’t think I match Atlantic Station’s target demographic. For one, I like trees and architecture too much to ever entirely approve of the development, which lacks significant amounts of both.

Riding to Atlantic Station at night, crossing that huge bridge aboard one of their free minibusses, I felt as if I was travelling between two island communities. I was journeying from the forested City of Midtown to the New Atlantic Principality; substituting trees for streetlamps and emergency phones, indie theatres for 16 screen megaplexes, and ancient hobo-infested parks for immaculately groomed and paved promenades.

The Station has a hollow feel, especially evident at night, when crowds of shoppers have been replaced by small groups of young polo wearing kids. The only people I saw older than 30 actually worked for the development.

The age and innocence of Atlantic Station’s late night patrons seems futile, temporary compared to the overwhelming plan behind this rigid “community”. Attendents armed with brooms and cleaning supplies hurry invisible through the crowd, fast to erase any signs that people were once here. These buildings already seem older than their tiny inhabitants.

But the free shuttles are nice, and the parking is ample.

4 Comments so far

  1. John (unregistered) on August 7th, 2006 @ 1:45 am

    Ben, your points are all well taken. Still, considering that plot of land was just an abandoned brownfield just ten years ago, I think some optimism is in order. At the very least, it got us bridge between Midtown and “West Midtown,” right?

  2. Ben (unregistered) on August 7th, 2006 @ 1:59 am

    Oh, I’m sure it’s better than most of the alternatives. I think it might actually be a pretty nice place in 20 to 30 years.

  3. james (unregistered) on August 7th, 2006 @ 9:11 am

    hah – i am trying to figure out who gets more negative press on our blog – atlantic station or cynthia mckinney. maybe we ought to pit them in a runoff.

    yeah, its a fake city. yes, its all chains. but hell its better than another cookie cutter post apartment development and a big indoor mall.

  4. k (unregistered) on August 8th, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

    The main problem with Atlantic Station isn’t what it is, but what it could’ve been.

    Is it better than another Lenox or Phipps? yeah. Is it better than the derelict space that was there? A bit.

    But somebody didn’t have the balls to make it somplace worth hanging out in. There’s precious little good food, absolutely no night life (Fox F’ing Sports Grill doesn’t count) and nothing much to separate it, materially, from another shopping trip.

    I like many of the stores down there, and I think it’s probly nice for the residents to be able to cruise a block or less to get to a grocery or some food, or whatever. I’m all about walkable spaces, but there’s a limit to how much time people can spend there without decent bars or clubs. Instead they have to bus (as if) or drive back across the bridge.

    I had great hope for the Atlantic Station project, but they opted to build an outdoor mall instead of a destination. It’s not bad, but it’s so much less than I’d hoped.

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