Thursday, August 30, 2012

Secondhand coverage of arena liquor license gets much wrong; Times wrongly claims MSG/Yankee Stadium have similar policies, cites "opponents" while Forest City calls them "neighbors"

No other reporters bothered to show up at the State Liquor Authority meeting yesterday that included the Barclays Center liquor license, nor did they apparently watch the webcast, because the coverage is devoid of any quotes from the meeting or any sense why arena operators resisted--though assented to--a final cut-off of liquor sales at 1 am.

Nor did any of the coverage acknowledge the feeling of bad faith generated by the arena operators' failure to disclose the plan for after-hours service or the continuing construction violations.

The Post

The New York Post folded the news into an article, Stones to play B’klyn, about how the Rolling Stones will reportedly play two shows at the Barclays Center in November:
The report came the same day that Barclays alcohol rules were announced — Nets fans will be able to drink alcohol only until the fourth quarter at NBA games, but spectators boozing it up at other Barclays events will get to go into overtime.
That's incorrect. Up to 1,800 VIP ticket-holders will be able to drink for an hour after any event, with a 1 am cap.

The Daily News

The New York Daily News, in Basketbooze! Nets fans at Barclays Center can down shots later (1 a.m.) than MSG folks, was not quite there either, since those 1,800 Nets fans would be able to drink until 1 am only under the impossible circumstance of a game lasting until midnight.

Rather, the later cut-off is mainly aimed at concertgoers.

Still, the Daily News' three-person reporting team appropriately framed the change as a small victory for the neighborhood:
“It was satisfying to see Barclays squirm up there trying to get their 2 a.m. cutoff,” said Wayne Bailey, who lives in Newswalk, a condo building in Prospect Heights, one block from the arena.
“This showed me that least the SLA understood Barclays plopped this arena in the middle of our residential neighborhood, and drinkers are going to have an effect on us.”
A Forest City Ratner spokesman tried to minimize the company’s disappointment at losing the 2 a.m. witching hour.“We’re very sensitive to the community’s concerns,” said Joe DePlasco. “The Liquor Authority recommended 1 a.m. and that’s something we’re fine with.”
Actually, as I reported, they weren't initially "fine with" it at all.

The Times

The New York Times's article was headlined online Some Neighbors of the Nets Worry About Drinking Hours That Last Longer Than the Game and in print as "Some of the Nets’ New Neighbors Raise Concerns About Longer Drinking Hours." Again, the issue is less the Nets than other arena events.

More importantly, the story was the SLA decision, not the concerns that have persisted for months.

In the ongoing saga of the Times's flitting attention to Atlantic Yards, the article was written by an intern who graduated from college a few months back. There are quotes from exactly two people, the aforementioned DePlasco, and a food service consultant who turned the article into a trend piece, explaining why sports venues want to extract more revenue from patrons.

The article contains a couple of key errors:
Other sports sites in the city have areas where people can continue to eat and drink after games or concerts. Ainsworth Prime closes two hours after events at Madison Square Garden, and Hard Rock Cafe closes an hour after night games at Yankee Stadium, according to their Web sites. But residents have protested a similar policy at the Barclay’s Center, which is close to a largely residential area.
Actually, the policy isn't similar at all. According to Madison Square Garden's web site:
Located on the 3rd Floor Terrace Level of the Garden, The Ainsworth Prime is open to all Club Seat holders 2 hours prior to all Knicks and Rangers games at The Garden and will remain open for all ticketed patrons for up to 2 hours after. For all other events, it will be open to all ticketed patrons 2 hours prior to the event's start time.
In other words, it is only open for two hours after Knicks and Rangers games, which typically end by 10 pm. That means it closes at approximately midnight. Similarly, baseball games don't go until 1 am and thus would allow the Hard Rock Cafe to be open until 2 am.

Also note some lousy copy editing:

The Times, perhaps relying on a clip file that claimed "die-hard opponents are still resisting [and trying]  block the arena from speedily receiving a liquor license," reported:
Additionally, opponents of the project have been complaining of an increase in the number of surrounding businesses seeking liquor licenses, which they fear will entice people leaving events at the arena to linger in the area and continue to imbibe.
Forest City Ratner, the developer for the 22-acre Atlantic Yards site that includes the Barclays Center, has played down those concerns. “Community boards and nearby residents are concerned that people could be rowdy or noisy,” Joe DePlasco, a spokesman for Forest City, said. “Obviously there are strict rules in place in terms of drinking.” The staff, he said, is trained not to serve alcohol to anyone who appears to have too much. “We want a policy that is courteous to our neighbors,” he added.
There you have it, folks. The official Forest City Ratner spokesman says "Community boards and nearby residents" and "neighbors," while the Times deems them "opponents."

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