Thursday, December 04, 2014

When NBA All-Star Game weekend comes in February, not quite a "typical event," though impacts still not clear

So, what's happening when the National Basketball Association All-Star Game week comes to New York in the middle of February?

It's a bit of a mystery, but it will be a big--and perhaps disruptive--deal in Brooklyn.

The game itself will be at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Sunday, Feb. 15, but several associated events will be at the Barclays Center and other points in Brooklyn, leading to an influx of trucks and broadcasting equipment.

The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, featuring rookies playing sophomores, will be held at the Barclays Center on Friday, February 13 at 9 pm. (The Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game will be held at 7 pm at MSG.)

The State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which includes the Shooting Stars Competition, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest, will be held at the Barclays Center on Saturday, February 14 at 8 pm.

There will be traffic freezes, and potentially closure of a block adjacent to the arena, Captain Frank DiGiacomo, the commanding officer of the 78th Precinct, said on November 25 at a meeting of the 78th Precinct Community Council.

He indicated he was still waiting for more details about the event. And if the cops don't know yet, the community board and block associations don't know either.

A "typical event"? No, something bigger

Speaking after DiGiacomo, Barclays Center Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly initially seemed to downplay the impact, saying "Friday and Saturday nights I think will be on scale with a typical [arena] event." He indicated that a full house was not expected.

Actually, it will be more than typical. Afterward, Kelly followed up, clarifying that "it is undoubtedly a major event, with tremendous production value that will require measures to ensure broadcast integrity." (He had said that the event will require permitting from the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting.)

Kelley added that "Barclays Center has hosted the NBA Draft both years since opening, so there’s a familiarity with both the building and the surrounding community. This dynamic serves to inform the still-evolving production schedule while building on the success of the MTV Video Music Awards."

That might be a red flag for neighbors; while the MTV Video Music Awards were indeed a success for the building, the street shutdowns--especially the cordon that prevented some people from crossing the street to do errands or visit relatives--were burdensome. And it took a while to prepare.

Then again, the events are different; while MTV had a major outdoor presence, the NBA events in February will not have such a public component. So far, the Barclays Center has not estimated the size of the crowd expected, as is typical.

More in Brooklyn

According to the NBA web site, there will be other activities in Brooklyn.

Daily programs of customized activities, including basketball competitions, skills challenges, and merchandise purchases, will be held at Moynihan Station in Manhattan and the NBA House Paramount Theatre at Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus, from Wednesday, February 11 through Sunday, February 15.

Also at LIU will be the Gatorade NBA Battle of the Boroughs, in which public and private middle school boys and girls basketball teams will compete in a single elimination tournament within their respective borough.

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