Monday, March 02, 2015

Looking back on NBA All-Star Weekend: a "neighborhood event" and a neighborhood-impacting one

Buses lined up on Bergen Street and Sixth Avenue
The official word is that the NBA All-Star Weekend two weeks ago was great for locals.

The reality, as I've reported, is a little more complex, considering the thundering herd of buses delivering and picking up guests from the Barclays Center on Friday and Saturday nights.

And officials last week confirmed that things could have worked better.

The praise

“New York is used to hosting world-class sporting events, and with the help of the mayor’s office, the N.Y.P.D. and N.Y.F.D., and other key players, [the All-Star Game] was very integrated,” the NBA's Patrick Sullivan told BizBash, in How the N.B.A. Turned the 2015 All-Star Game Into a Neighborhood Event.

Barclays Center Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly circulated a message:
While NBA All-Star 2015 was another big success on the books for Barclays Center, it was also another major showcase of the entire borough, with community events held at venues across Brooklyn, including:
- NBA House at LIU Brooklyn The historic Paramount Theatre was “transformed into basketball-themed activities showcasing the excitement of the NBA and the game of basketball for fans of all ages”.
- Day of Service at PS 9 Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Only a few blocks away from the arena, NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade, NBA Legend Jason Collins, Barclays Center & Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams dedicated a new court and led students in an afternoon basketball clinic promoting a healthy, active lifestyle for children and families. (Jason posted some great pictures of the event – check them out HERE!)
- NBA All-Star Fit Celebration Amidst many first-time undertakings at NBA All-Star 2015, the league hosted basketball and fitness clinics in 100 public schools (20 per borough) during the NBA All-Star FIT Celebration on NBA FIT Friday, Feb. 13th – highlights from the other 99 schools can be found in the link! Thank you to the NBA, the NYC Department of Education & Kaiser Permanente for their support in bringing these special events to life.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank the NYPD 78th Precinct, our neighbors and all civic leaders for their time and consideration in working with us to pull off this extraordinary event.
Digging deeper

I missed the meeting last Tuesday of the 78th Precinct Community Council, but got secondhand reports from a few attendees.

Captain Aaron Klein, the executive officer of the 78th Precinct, said that one road closure near the precinct was conveyed to the officers very close to the event. (He didn't express any consternation about it, I was told.)

Also, though bus drivers, after delivering their charges, were supposed to lay over in Red Hook before returning to the Barclays Center, a number left early, causing a much larger line-up than anticipated.

Kelly confirmed that was an issue, suggesting that the NBA may have worried about keeping VIPs waiting and suggested that it had been directed by the Mayor's office. He said they hoped to learn from the experience and do better next time. (That's the common mantra; while understandable, it belies the assurances provided before the event.)

Also, one manager from Modell's had apparently resisted a resident's request that very loud amplified music be turned off. The manager said they thought the store had a permit, but officers at the meeting said no such permit had been issued.

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