Skip to main content

NYT: unscientific survey shows locals who think Barclays Center handles hoops think it could've handled DNC2016

So, after not analyzing (beyond my op-ed) the potential impact, including extended security zones, of the Democratic National Convention, the New York Times offers Dismay and Relief in Brooklyn Over a Party That Won’t Be Coming to Town, published online yesterday and in today's paper.

And guess what--an unscientific survey showed that most of those interviewed were disappointed. It sure contrasts with the statement by another reporter that random interviewees were happy.

The Times reported:
Perhaps it was only natural then that on Thursday, after it was announced that the borough had lost out to Philadelphia, a half-year’s worth of pent-up Brooklyn cynicism greeted the news online.
“Philadelphia punished with 2016 D.N.C. instead of Brooklyn,” crowed David Colon of the blog Brokelyn, one of the commentators who danced a jig on the grave of Brooklyn’s hopes. When the WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer, announcing the news, wrote on Twitter, “Sorry, Brooklyn,” one user was quick to respond: “Why are you saying sorry? This is fantastic news.”
...Longtime critics of the Barclays Center — the basketball-and-BeyoncĂ©-concerts arena that hosted the 2013 Video Music Awards and was to do the same for the convention — exchanged knowing, told-you-so nods online, saying the largely residential area near the arena could never have accommodated the extra traffic and security measures the event would have entailed.
But an entirely unscientific sampling of those who live and work around the arena revealed a surprising streak of idealism — though, it must be noted, no Republicans could be found to offer their perspective.
That's kind of snarky. What if those longtime critics were absolutely correct?

Who knows more?

The Times did not talk to anyone in the Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance, many of whom would have expressed some relief, given that they had studied the impact.

Instead, we got echoes of the de Blasio/Schumer consensus:
“It’d be exciting to see it up close,” said Alison Tusick, 23, a singer-songwriter who was carrying a ukulele on her way to the subway in Fort Greene on Thursday.
Ms. Tusick, whose day job is working as a barista at Blue Bottle Coffee in Boerum Hill, where beans are treated like precious stones, had a message for her preferred presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton: “Hillary, come to Blue Bottle! I’ll give you all the free coffee.”
Asked about the traffic, noise and general inconvenience the convention would have brought with it, residents of nearby neighborhoods like Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights said they had been pleasantly surprised to find that the Barclays Center, so controversial during its development, had not had much impact on their daily lives. If they could survive the night in December when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Beyoncé, Jay Z and scores of protesters all converged on the arena, the thinking seemed to go, they could endure a few days of political pageantry.
A different analysis

But that's a category error. The convention, attracting some 35,000 people--not 15,000--would be a much bigger deal than a basketball game plus some celebrities and a relatively small number of protesters. 

Big events, like the MTV Video Music Awards, have created extraordinary strains. 

Consider the the NBA All-Star weekend, attracting far smaller crowds. It worked relatively well last night, as far as I could tell, but not without significant strains.

Last night, at 11:30 pm, there were numerous idling limos on Dean Street between Flatbush and Sixth avenues, which is partly residential. 

Also, an armada of buses lined up on residential Bergen Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues, waiting to make the turn onto Flatbush to pick up event attendees. And there were only supposed to be 15,000 people there.

An alternative voice

The Times article did cite one opponent:
Not so fast, said Samantha Rubin, 22, a student teacher who grew up in the area, as she waited for a bus near Atlantic Terminal, the hub of shops and subway lines near the arena.
“Thank God,” she said of the news that her neighborhood would not be getting the convention. “The Democratic National Convention shouldn’t be here, the V.M.A.s shouldn’t be here. I feel the Barclays Center is destroying the neighborhood.”
Updates: more coverage

Here's a City Lens article headlined Many Brooklynites Are Relieved Convention Isn’t Coming, which actually reports mixed responses, but stresses the issue of relief. So it depends whom you talk to.

A panel on NY 1 was skeptical of the 13-minute reported bus ride from Brooklyn. "I think it would've been a nightmare," said Elinor Tatum of the Amsterdam News

Host Josh Robin: "We didn't get much accurate information from the officials wanting this... it is really hard to get around."

Jillian Jorgenson said, "There were concerns from the beginning about the security perimeter around the Barclays Center I don't know if DNC members were really hip to the subway... it may not have been that easy the way Mayor de Blasio had to try to make it seem when he rode the train with some folks from the convention site committee... And it might not have been easy for the residents and businesses surrounding the Barclays Center."

Also on NY 1, veteran Democratic National Committeeman Robert Zimmerman, a New Yorker, spoke with Robin about the choice of Philadelphia. He said Brooklyn didn't "lose," but rather was a longshot from the start.

"But what I really did come down to was that logistics became a question," he said, citing the tough logistics in spread-out Charlotte. "There were concerns about the security perimeter around the convention hall."

Still he cited Barclays Center as "a national phenomenon," with the All-Star Weekend and MTV Video Music Awards having the logistics "worked out fine." (Not really.) Still, he said the security perimeters in Philadelphia were more manageable.

Then again, "if they were significant dealbreakers, New York's proposal wouldn't have gotten so far," Zimmerman said, indicating "it's inevitable" that a convention will come to New York.


Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…