Skip to main content

Barclays Center round-up: boxing card hype (and failed drug test/free tickets); the area "urinal" ( & bigger issues); NY mag's myopic critic; and that "satarical" Atlantic Yards novel

Well, the Barclays Center news of the day focuses on promotion for the first boxing card at the arena, tomorrow, Oct. 20. (Oh, the Nets lost for the first time in four games, soundly. The announced attendance, though not necessarily gate count, was 14,192, slightly less than at the first home game.)

Columnist Tim Smith of the Daily News--sponsor of the arena plaza--cheerleads today, in Danny Jacobs return from cancer just one of the many impressive stories to continue at inaugural boxing showcase at Barclays Center:
From top to bottom it is a boxing card that speaks to the core of what Brooklyn is all about - everyone thrown into a melting pot and looking for a chance to succeed.
Even the inspirational comeback of Danny Jacobs, who was paralyzed by cancer that attacked his back in 2011, is pure Brooklyn. When he was introduced to speak at the press conference, Jacobs received a standing ovation.
“Danny Jacobs speaks to the boldness, the grittiness and the determination of Brooklyn,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of the Barclays Center. “What he’s done deserves a big hand.”
Also speaking to Brooklyn--and the "culture of cheating" around Atlantic Yards--is the fact that junior welterweight challenger Erik Morales failed a drug test, but the fight will go on, according to ESPN.

Brooklyn in the house

Brooklyn, however, is not paying $56 and change to fill the arena. Yormark had to give out 1,000 free tickets to the boxing match to make it look halfway full, and arena operators are still trying.

Last night at the second monthly community sweepstakes for ticket distribution, organized by the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance, Janella Meeks, Deputy Director, Government & Public Affairs for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, gave out more than 40 more free tickets to the boxing event. I suspect more of that is going on.

Park Slope a urinal?

Everybody likes to write about pee.

An article based on the Oct. 16 community meeting on arena impacts, Barclays Center Patrons Urinate All Over Park Slope, Locals Say provoked re-blogging in Curbed, Barclays Center Turns Park Slope Into a Huge Urinal and The Atlantic Cities, Brooklyn's Barclays Center Sponsors 2012 Urinebowl, and The Real Deal, Around Barclays Center, neighbors complain of public urination.

Yes, there's a pee problem on Pacific Street between Flatbush and Third Avenue, and on a few blocks in Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. But that's not "all over Park Slope." Nor are residents finding "something to complain about," as one summary put it, they're reacting understandably to disruptions in their lives.

But the issue goes well beyond urine jokes. As Michael D. D. White pointed out in his Noticing New York blog, most of the untoward impacts--limos idling, trucks on residential streets, flashing ads all night--relate to the zoning override that allows the arena to be located less than 200 feet from a residential area.

So, no matter how many major problems have been avoided, there's little margin for error, which is why the state and developer need to be held accountable.

More from Noticing New York

Also, in White's 10/16/12 post, “Barclays”? Atlantic Yards?: On Lopate, NY Mag Architectural Critic Justin Davidson Disses Brooklyn Neighborhoods With Manhattancentric Illiteracy, he slammed Davidson's statement, "I would say that there was no character right on that site, and that’s a good place to have a really bold muscular building that does intrude, that does change things." Actually, there there were newly renovated residential buildings on the arena block.

As for the overall site plan, which Davidson said was "based on that a lot of the . . uhm . . public monies and the incentives were put into place"--not really--White countered:
Every time Ratner comes back to government officials looking to change his deal he gets more subsidy and diminished obligations to the public.
As for a binding “site plan,” consider what Davidson describes in his article about the Hudson Yards mega-project that’s on the drawing boards:
Architects discuss access points, sidewalk widths, ceiling heights, flower beds, and the qualities of crushed-stone pathways. You could almost forget that none of this exists yet—until one architect points to a lozenge-shaped skyscraper and casually, with a twist of his wrist, remarks that he's thinking of swiveling it 90 degrees.
It’s not any different with Atlantic Yards at this point either.
You must read Davidson’s recent article on Hudson Yards as a check against his stunningly casual acceptance of the Atlantic Yards situation. In that article Davidson conveys many misgivings with respect to the sole ownership of Hudson Yards by the Related Companies, misgivings that should also apply to the plan for the larger Ratner Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly in spades with many more misgivings added on top. But he doesn’t make the connections. . Woe is us. Woe to Brooklyn. (See: Friday, October 12, 2012, Justin Davidson’s New York Magazine Review Of Hudson Yards Echos Concerns Raised By NNY, But Does So Without Mentioning Obvious Atlantic Yards Parallels.)
A novel from the notorious Courier-Life scribe

From Metro (home of the Barclays Center "tidbits"), A satarical [sic] take on Atlantic Yards
No matter which side of the Atlantic Yards debate you’re on, Steve Witt’s new satire of the controversy is worth a read. Longtime Brooklyn journalist Witt covered the Atlantic Yards saga from its beginning, and it’s now the subject of his latest book, “The Street Singer.”

Q: What do you say to criticism that the Barclays Center took people’s homes away, via eminent domain, and that developer Ratner has yet to deliver on the jobs and affordable housing he promised?
As a journalist, I seldom bought into the eminent domain argument concerning Atlantic Yards. The gentrified few nearly killed the project with their endless court battles with eminent domain being among their trump cards. But they themselves displaced poor people to get property around Atlantic Yards. As for the affordable housing and jobs, Ratner’s style is to build and not flip real estate, so I think it will get done.
My comment:
Mr. Witt styles himself as a tribune of the people. What has always escaped him is the "culture of cheating" surrounding Atlantic Yards. See the "Atlantic Yards and the Culture of Cheating" post on my Atlantic Yards Report blog for more.

Mr. Witt's near-final comment reminds me of an article he wrote quoting people as saying those living in converted industrial buildings were "the real land-grabbers," since they had taken jobs from the community. Those buildings had been closed for years.


Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in February 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed--but not yet approved--shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won…

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).


Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…