Two decades ago, when I was taking library service classes in the main campus for Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the nearby commercial thoroughfare, Myrtle Avenue, was a transitional neighborhood. In the stretch where I went to catch lunch, it wasn’t obviously crime-ridden, but it was decidedly gritty and littered with fast-food establishments.
But when I went back to see my grad-school alma mater a week and a half ago, I could see that what I had heard more recently was true: Myrtle Avenue was greatly improved. You can see some of the construction going on in this photo I took.
An article last year in The Real Deal Magazine gave some facts that confirmed my impressions: this eight-mile route through Brooklyn and Queens will see 1,200 new residential units in the next several years. Along with that will be more than 50,000 square feet of retail space.
I would bet that Pratt students would find it hard to think of the neighborhood around their campus as utterly different from what it is now. But the changes have combined to make the campus and its environs more attractive to anyone thinking of going to school there.