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Outside arena last night: illegal parking (in three places), a plaza scuffle, and a Jose Cuervo "souvenir"; ESD mealymouthed about VIP parking

On Monday morning, I queried Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards, to ask about the blatant use of public space for private parking at the Barclays Center the day before.

Yesterday afternoon, some 2.5 business days later, I got a response from ESD: “We have spoken with Forest City/Greenland about this issue. We will add it to our log and report the neighborhood’s concerns to NYPD and DOT.”

That wasn't particularly helpful, because when I walked by the arena last night at about 8:30 pm, nearly halfway into the game between the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks, I saw 13 vehicles parked in the "No Standing" zone, plus a sign indicating "Lyft Zone," presumably a drop-off for those using the ride-hailing app.

I approached the yellow-coated Pedestrian Monitor from Sam Schwartz Engineering, who seemed to be overseeing the space. "How," I asked, "can you get to park around here like this?" He ignored me and turned away.

It was the first of three examples of public space being turned into private space near the arena, with no enforcement.


A buffet of trouble

A short walk around the arena site disclosed a buffet of trouble.

Jose Cuervo/on bollard
On the plaza were a particularly aggressive gaggle of ticket scalpers, who were either trying to give tickets away or place them in a potential tickeholder's hand before demanding modest payment.

At one point, two guys--at least one who was a scalper--got into a fight. They knocked over some of the metal barriers before being separated by acquaintances, and before arena security approach. (No cops were in evidence.)

Walking down Flatbush Avenue toward Dean Street, in a passage narrowed by construction fencing for the B2 modular tower, an empty bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila had been placed on a security bollard.

(Litterbug? Homage of some sort? Art installation?)

More public space turned private

Turning left on Dean Street and walking toward Sixth Avenue, I saw multiple vehicles blocking the turn lane on Dean, as shown in the photo below. The truck in the front of the line was emblazoned Getaway Sports.



A missed opportunity for enforcement

After turning right on Sixth Avenue and going to Flatbush Avenue,  I saw a humongous SUV stretch limo occupying a good part of the northbound bus stop on Flatbush Avenue just west of Bergen Street. It didn't have lights on, but did have a driver inside.

After a small, vehicle-sized gap behind the SUV limo, two smaller vehicles were parked, one with lights on, the other without. That left a small "parking space" for various drivers to use when getting out to make purchases across the street.



It also meant that people getting on and off the B41 and B67 buses had to go into the street or exit into the street. In the hour I observed the situation, at least a couple were seniors for whom the exit/entry for the bus would certainly have been easier had they had a curb.

I called 311 at 9:02 pm, and hung around for an hour. (The weather was nice, and I had reading material. But my phone cut out as I was waiting to write down the 311 number.)

No police arrived, though the 78th precinct is about five minutes away by foot. Yes, I know they have crime-fighting priorities.

But about 40 minutes in, a blue and white police car going north on Flatbush pulled up next to the stretch limo. Could this be enforcement?

The car was part of the traffic enforcement division, whose job it is to summons illegally parked vehicle. But it was merely paused at the end of a line of vehicles backed up at a light. And when the light changed, the police car moved on, leaving the three illegally parked vehicles unmolested.


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