Monday, December 10, 2007

ESDC gives elected officials the brush-off on arena security

The eight elected officials who asked the state for an independent study of Atlantic Yards security got a cordial brush-off from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which sent a brief November 30 letter (right, click to enlarge) reiterating that, just as Madison Square Garden operates without street closures, so could the Atlantic Yards arena.

That doesn't quite answer the issue, as I explained, because the parts of MSG closest to the street are mostly concrete, not glass, as planned for Atlantic Yards and the trigger for street closings around the Prudential Center in Newark, and an interior street next to MSG was closed after the 9/11 attacks.

"We can't just accept blanket assurances from the NYPD or anyone else that the safety issue is being taken care of," Jean Weinberg, spokeswoman for Council Member Bill de Blasio, told the Courier-Life chain, which broke the story (not yet online) in an article headlined "Arena will be like MSG, official sez."

Indeed, the unwillingness shown by the ESDC and developer Forest City Ratner to reveal the distance the arena would be from the street diminishes the credibility of the state's assurances.

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