"I'll get back to you on that," arena Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly said in response to my question last Wednesday at the barely attended Community Update meeting.
(Had the meeting followed the format a few years ago, when it was called Quality of Life Committee and solicited questions from residents, that question could have been on the agenda.)
One very practical reason for the advertising, I suspect, is the withered condition of the greenery on the roof--as the photo above shows, dirt, not sedum, is visible under the canvas signage.
I queried Empire State Development, which oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards, and got this answer: “According to the Design Guidelines, the New York Islanders banner is considered ‘accessory signage’, because it relates to activities which take place at the arena. Accessory signage is permitted on structures outside the arena.”
That's an interesting explanation. According to those guidelines:
j. “Signage” shall mean any writing, pictorial representation, emblem, flag or banner that (a) is a structure or any part thereof, and is attached to, painted on, or in any other way represented on a building or structure, (b) is visible from outside a building and is intended to direct attention to a business, profession, commodity, service or entertainment activity. A sign shall include writings, representation or other figures of similar character within a building only when illuminated and located in a window, except that for the Urban Room Signage Zone and the Arena Signage Zone signage shall also mean any writing, representation or similar figure located inside the building and beyond the window where it is visible from the exterior of the building and the sole purpose of such feature is to be viewed from the outside. i. Accessory Signage: “Accessory Signage” shall mean signage incidental to and that directs attention to a use, person, business, or activity located on the project site and is customary for such use, person, business or activity. Accessory signage shall include without limitation the name of the arena and the name of any physical element or portion of the arena, whether or not such name includes the name of a commercial entity.(Emphases added)
Well, the Islanders are an activity on the project site, though the concept of "customary" seems rather malleable.
What about the MTA?
I asked the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which presumably has an interest in the transit entrance, if such such signage was permitted/regulated by MTA, and if MTA gets any revenue.
(I asked specifically about the top of the entrance, though as the photo above right shows, similar advertising faces those entering.)
I'm still waiting for an answer.
What about Resorts World International?
At the meeting, questions also arose regarding the recent plethora of brand from Resorts World International, which seems to have been named sponsor--or at least co-sponsor of the arena plaza, supplanting or joining previous sole sponsor the New York Daily News.
"The casino advertisements on the bollards, are those permanent?" resident Peter Krashes asked Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton at the meeting.
"I don’t think so," replied Cotton. "They don’t look it."
"Are all the bollards on private property?" Krashes followed up. "I personally think, right now, that public space is degraded by the advertising."
"We own it," Cotton replied, with a bit of an edge.
Actually, as far as I can tell, Forest City affiliates lease the project site from Empire State Development and its subsidiary Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation. But it must feel like ownership. (See Section 3.2 of the Development Agreement.)
"Is Resorts the sole sponsor" of the plaza, I asked, pointing out that the Daily News signage seems to be diminished.
"I have no idea," Cotton responded. "We can find out."
Kelly said these were "big operations" and he--the arena's Community Relations Manager--was "not well informed enough to answer that." He suggested sending a query to arena p.r. manager Barry Baum (who's already ignored my query).
Note the "Resorts World International Plaza" sign over the entrance doors.