Skip to main content

Basketball tournament on arena plaza Saturday never announced; noise intruded on long-planned community garden event

The 5 am start to the mural-painting block party Saturday was only one of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park-related intrusions that came without appropriate notice to neighbors that day.

To the surprise of many, the plaza outside the Barclays Center was turned over to a 12-hour event (including set-up): Nike's basketball Tournament of Champions, aka #ConquerAllCourts.

It came with a DJ and announcer, both amplified to the point where they could be heard one long block away, at Fourth Avenue.

That meant the sound was blaring on Pacific Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues, and at the Brooklyn Bear's Garden, which just happened to have scheduled its 30-year anniversary party well before any word of the

"When the [Flatbush Avenue] traffic goes, you're gardening next to a highway," observed garden coordinator Jon Crow, indicating that gardeners were no strangers to noise while still carving out an oasis. "We've never ever had to put up with what happened yesterday. That was just stinkingly rude. They condemned people's homes to build the arena--put it inside the arena."

(Of course, the arena plaza is officially temporary; an office tower, B1, with an enclosed atrium, known as the Urban Room, is planned instead--though may never come. That would not have been as advantageous a place to put up a basketball court.)

No official notice

While Nike and the arena apparently got proper permits, the event was never officially announced to neighbors.


It was omitted on the August event calendar distributed in early July (see screenshot at left) to neighbors, and no updates were distributed. Nor was it mentioned on the Barclays Center web site.

(All calendars are provided as general information and subject to change without notice," stated the accompanying note from arena Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly. Sure, but shouldn't they circulate distribute updates when something is intrusive?)

Crow said garden volunteers learned about the Nike event six days earlier from a police officer who stopped by during a protest rally.

He said he phoned Kelly early Saturday regarding a very loud 8 am sound check--the sound did go down somewhat--but said Kelly did not respond to further texts during the day.

The music, Crow said, "was not so bad, it was the announcer." Volunteers used funds raised in a bake sale to hire a musician for the party, "and you almost make us have to cancel that."

They didn't do so, and the musician and friends had amplification during the garden concert which started in the late afternoon and went past 8 pm, drawing some 50 attendees. "That said, in the background was the [intrusive] announcer," Crow recounted.

When Nike offered a pop-up store on Flatbush Avenue during All-Star weekend earlier this year, "people lined up outside the garden all night," Crow said, with some of them tossing their garbage in the garden. "This is second time we've been impacted by Nike."

The garden exhibit

When I stopped by in the morning--the garden was on my route, but I didn't know anyone would be there or that either event was planned--Crow in the video below described some photos showing the garden's history, and expressed qualms about the noise.



Visiting the tournament

Then, not long after 11 am, I crossed the street and shot a few minutes of the event on the arena plaza.

(I don't think it shows up on the video, but the music--and the announcer--both included language that was not, ahem, family-friendly. I'm not squeamish about the f-word, but this was a public event with kids around.)



One promotional announcement, from Nike's web site
Via Nike

Comments

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…

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…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.