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Attendees love first U.S. Sensation show; neighbors feel bass in their apartments, just like the Jay-Z show; where are government overseers? (saluting Sensation, actually)

Pic via @dancingastro
"No words needed," tweeted one attendee at last night's first-ever U.S. version of the European dance party Sensation, an event that drew people from around the country and world to the Barclays Center. "What an epic night."

"WEARING ALL WHITE AND IT FEELS SO RIGHT," another tweeted. "you were more than I could have ever asked for," added another.

Feeling Sensation at home

Neighbors near the Barclays Center also considered the concert an extreme experience, but in a different way: they cited bass seeping into their residences, as with the Jay-Z concerts that opened the arena, problems that provoked a belated response from the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and no apparent action.

"Incessant bass from Sensation show from 9pm to time of report at 12:41," reported a resident of South Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, northeast of the arena, on Atlantic Yards Watch.

Another resident, even closer at Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, cited "continued incessant bass," at 1:42 am.

Here's a report from 1:30 am on South Oxford Street northeast of the arena:
incredibly disturbing dance music that was so loud my noise machine and pillow on my head couldn't block it out. Even more disturbing was the stop/start nature of the noise. I couldn't believe how late this was going on. This was the first event that could be heard in our building, 212 S. Oxford St (at Atlantic.) This building has over 100 kids in it. This cannot be repeated...worse than the 24 hour work permit that we suffered through.
"Loud, wall shaking noise from event at arena" at 1 am, reported another resident of the building. Another report, from 1:30 am on Pacific Street east of the arena:
Bass was worst yet from Sensation show. 311 did take the report and someone from the 88th [sic; surely the 78th Precinct] called at 1:30 to say it was the Arena, and it was really shaking the precinct house, but there was nothing they could do about it. The officer did tell me that there was another show tonight.
Tweeted resident David Bivins:
@TishJames Anything you can do about the deafening noise from Barclays Center would be appreciated. It's after midnight.
The concert ran late, perhaps until 2 am, maybe later. (I'll update this when I learn more.) One arena worker reported a long shift: "I straight up worked 11hrs at #Barclays tonight for #sensation."

Any response likely?

Will there be any response, especially for tonight, the second of two Sensation shows? It's a good bet that the interests of the arena, and its operators, will again trump those of neighbors who didn't choose to live this close to sports facility that gains the benefit of a state zoning override. (Otherwise, sports facilities are banned from being within 200 feet of residential districts.)

At a meeting earlier this month on neighborhood impacts of the Barclays Center, Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, Empire State Development, brushed off community complaints about the penetrative bass. "I’m confident that the work [DEP has] done was sufficient to date," she declared.

Last night, on the YouTube livestream of the Sensation show, Hankin appeared briefly in a pre-recorded introduction. As I tweeted:
Wow. ESD #AtlanticYards Director Arana Hankin on video promo: "I can only imagine people will love to have Sensation in their backyards" 1/2
She was referring to the accessibility of the show to fans in New York and elsewhere, but it was unwise cheerleading and had an unfortunate double meaning, as it turned out. I followed up:
Not sure ESD #AtlanticYards Director Arana Hankin should be promoting acts at#BarclaysCenter. Too many lingering oversight issues.
That was before I knew how bad the bass would be.

Early this morning, I contacted Derek Lynch of ESD and Terence Kelly of the Barclays Center regarding the noise complaints. (They're supposed to be accessible 24/7.) If/when I get a response, I'll post it.

Is it fixable?

I'm no expert on arena design and acoustics, but it strikes me that there are likely at least four factors at work, not all of them fixable:
  1. the arena's placement in/near a residential neighborhood; that can't be changed
  2. the arena bowl's below-grade location, which may hasten conductivity of bass; that can't be changed
  3. the arena's internal soundproofing; that likely could be changed, but would represent an unanticipated, un-budgeted cost
  4. the volume of arena events; that's surely adjustable, but that goes against the arena's business model, since the volume is obviously satisfying to event-goers.

Outside the Barclays Center, partiers on Sixth Avenue before the show, about 8 pm

Excitement under the oculus before the show

Trucks on the pad outside the arena on Dean Street, plus ambulances


  1. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Who do we complain to? I'm at 535 Dean and felt this about two blocks away at 2AM. I went to the police station and they said they'd been getting inundated with calls, but there was nothing they could do about it. I own a restaurant in Brooklyn, and if we were shaking our neighbors out of their beds two blocks away we'd be getting shut down on the spot.

    As one cop said to me, "how do you file a complaint on a stadium?" If they don't know what to do about it (and what they should do is call Community Affairs officers, who at the very least should take sound readings and issue summonses on the spot).

    Is our community board completely toothless, or just in the back pocket of the developers?

  2. Who do you complain to? Good question. The cops are not even equipped to do the job of the Department of Environmental Protection. I don't think the Community Board is the answer.

    The first thing to do is to file written complaints with Terence Kelly, arena Community Affairs Manager, and Derek Lynch, Community and Government Relationship manager with Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards. I can't say that'll work; I queried them and they didn't respond. But you're a citizen. Get it on record.

    Kelly is 917-618-6136 or Lynch is at 646-581-6092 or
    Also file complaints with 311; get it on record. And on Atlantic Yards Watch.


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