Friday, August 23, 2013

The setting for the MTV VMAs pre-show emerges: the Prospect Heights neighborhood (+ FAQ about the local issue)

The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) are coming to the Barclays Center on Sunday, with an outdoor pre-show at 8 pm and the event inside at 9 pm. Here's a preview from the Times on the overall event. Newsday reported:
Though producers had no comment on rumors Justin Timberlake would reunite with *NSync on the show, or where in the borough Katy Perry would perform the night's finale "Roar," there were plenty of new Brooklyn-related revelations. Teen heartthrob Austin Mahone will play somewhere near Coney Island on Saturday afternoon that fans can find on Twitter at #VMAPopUp.
The night's stars will be seated in Barclays Center's lower levels, with Timberlake sitting next to Kanye West in the front row, near fellow performers Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. And the stars will be receiving some Brooklyn swag in their gift bags, including a Brooklyn Nets hoodie, H. Fox & Co. chocolate-flavored syrup, and Ovenly beer nuts.
In the neighborhood

The VMAs also marks the first time there'd be live music--"concert-loud"--outside of the arena in the back where it borders a residential neighborhood. (In fact, there's been live music on the arena plaza has been minimal.)

The video was shot yesterday around noon.

A previous outdoor performance

This is Taylor Swift in 2009 outside Radio City Music Hall.


Are neighbors protesting the VMAs?

Not as far as I know.

Are they concerned about the impact on the neighborhood?
For sure.

Isn't that NIMBY?
Not really. The state overrode city zoning that's supposed to keep a 200-foot cordon between sports facilities and residential areas. It's a very tight fit--for an indoor event.

What kind of impacts have there been?
Well, for certain indoor concerts, the bass actually penetrates people's homes blocks away.

Has there ever been an outdoor concert on the corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, as the MTV pre-show is planned?
Not at all. It's supposed to be the site of a tower. Now it's bike parking, mostly. Once the tower's built, this would be impossible.

Why didn't they use the arena plaza? That's not as close to a residential area (though Pacific Street is nearby).
Not sure, but likely because it would have been too difficult to close lanes of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

So that means residents in back of the arena face the brunt.

What kind of restrictions do they face?
They have to show ID to get in and out of certain streets, and may not be able to linger on certain streets. There's no parking on the streets, so they got passes for the arena lot. That's doable for many, but some with health problems weren't pleased.

Did MTV or the city warn people there'd be concert-level noise from 8-9 pm Sunday?
No, they said only that the pre-show would be live. Some people, had they had better advance warning, might have made plans to leave the neighborhood.

Did MTV and the city office of broadcast/TV/film agree to a public meeting with neighbors?

What has people worried?
The precedent. If the city can smooth the path of a giant international event like the VMAs without going through community boards and providing a named liaison, well, what's to keep them from doing so for another high-profile event?

Isn't MTV offering to mitigate the impacts?
Not really. They've given tickets to some area organizations and allowed some neighbors to buy discount tickets, for $75. That's hardly a sacrifice.

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