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Barclays Center rep commits to "sharing updates," but not reducing noisy events on arena plaza

This is the third of a few articles based on the 1/24/17 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park meeting. I previously wrote about the unclear timing of the project buildout and the role of Greenland.

When the Barclays Center's new VP for Community Relations spoke, there was an echo of the 11/1/16 meeting in which neighbors complained about a noisy television shoot for which preparations began at 6 am on the arena plaza and Roland Guevara basically responded that it often "comes directed from the news channels themselves" and that he remembered feeling happy as a kid, "or even as an adult," seeing "something positive about going on" regarding his neighborhood.

Of course, the arena's interests are not necessarily the neighborhood's interests, especially those who live there (as opposed to those who run restaurants and bars).

"Some of the events hosted on the plaza are very disruptive to the community," commented Michelle, a regular at the Brooklyn Bear's Garden, which is catercorner to the arena and adjacent to Site 5. "I'm all for having events for kids, but why have it outside?"

Guevara said it was a combination of reasons, but said he could commit to sharing updates. "If you're talking about certain noise levels, we can definitely address that." (They hadn't.)

A wrestling event, Michelle said, was "very out of control," and she saw only two police officers.

"Typically they have a large presence," Guevara said. No representative of the 78th Precinct was there to comment.

Rep commits to... more programs

Michelle mentioned a basketball tournament last August with loud amplified music, and asked if they could go inside.

"It's my goal to definitely share updates on what's going on with the arena," Guevara said. "From the community perspectives, I would like to provide way more programs... at our arena, whether inside or outside, I think our kids need it."

That suggests a view of the larger community as trumping the experience of the nearest residents--but that's also why city zoning (overridden in this case) requires a 200-foot cordon between sports facilities and residential areas.

Steve Ettlinger, who identified himself as among those who formed the Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance (BCIZA), said, "We urge you to keep it inside. Loud amplified music is worse than the crowds.... Once or twice it was way way way too loud to be considered a local impact... you could hear it blocks away."

He urged them to reduce exterior crowds and loud music "to an absolute minimum."

"I get it," Guevara said.

"No, you don't," responded Michelle. "When I tell you [the wrestling event] was scary, it was scary. It was out of control. You have so much space inside the arena; have them all inside." 

Of course it costs more money to operate an event inside, and they'd have to distribute tickets.

Note the "expected exterior impacts" next month regarding several circus performances and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) mixed martial arts (MMA) event on 2/11/17.

The arena in the community

Ettlinger asked Guevara to describe Barclays Cares, the entity that sent the community notice.

Guevara said it was the successor to the previous foundation, tied to Brooklyn events center, to pursue education, athletics, community development, and sustainability. That includes partnering with existing organizations and have initiatives.

Every Monday, he said, Barclays Center Cares supports free skating and hockey at Lakeside in Prospect Park, he said. (It's called New York Islanders Sticks & Skates, "presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery.")

He said they have a boxing initiative, with Gleason's Gym, and "other partnerships you'll be hearing about," including one in which "young kids have more access to Brooklyn Public Library." (The library is free, so this must be a special program.)

In response to a question, Guevara said they would make sure that all the nearby Community Boards are notified. "Our outlook is always positive," he said.

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