Skip to main content

As graduates gather today on residential Dean Street, remember how it morphed from preferred seating entry to "mid-sized" portal

EmblemHealth Dean Entrance
The crowd gathering at 8:30 this morning at the Barclays Center's Dean Street entrance--sorry, the EmblemHealth Dean entrance--for the Long Island University commencement ceremonies was never supposed to be there.

(The graduates will arrive at the Dean Street entrance at the bottom of the arena, which is across the street from a residential cluster, while a larger group--their guests--arrive at the main plaza, at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.)

That's because, when the Atlantic Yards arena was approved in 2006, there was a minor entrance, only a few doors wide, on Dean Street, only slightly larger than the entrance on Atlantic Avenue just west of Sixth Avenue.

EmblemHealth Atlantic Entrance
See the graphic below from the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement, which shows an arena oriented nearly east-west, as opposed to the current north-south orientation.

The Dean Street entrance, part of a plan designed to "minimize its presence and effect on the residential uses" in the area, was supposed to be for VIPs.

Instead, thanks to a change in plans and some fuzzy and misleading language that I'll address below, it became a much larger secondary entrance--in fact, the secondary entrance, deemed "mid-sized" by an arena official.

So now, as indicated in the photo above right, the Dean entrance has nine double doors. (That's actually more than the seven double doors on the main plaza, though they are spaced more generously and offer far more opportunity for people to gather.)

By contrast, as shown in the photo above left, the EmblemHealth Atlantic Entrance has just two double doors. (There are several other doors on Atlantic, as I'll explain below, but mostly for exits, not entrances. Dean Street also offers another set of doors for workers to enter.)

The arena as approved, 2006

From Figure 1-22 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Nov. 2006. Atlantic Ave. at top, Dean St. at bottom.
From the Final EIS

According to the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), Executive Summary:
The New York City Zoning Resolution prohibits arenas within 200 feet of residential districts as some of the operations could be incompatible with districts limited primarily to residential use. (Arenas are permitted in most commercial districts allowing for residential use.) The arena block is adjacent to a residential district to the south, and accordingly, the arena has been designed to minimize its presence and effect on the residential uses on these blocks. Primary entrances and signage would be oriented toward the crossroads of two major commercial thoroughfares and away from these residences. Two primarily residential buildings (Buildings 2 and 3) on the arena block would occupy most of the Dean Street frontage, serving as a buffer between uses. However, the preferred seating entry and entry to the loading area would be located on Dean Street and, while security screening and loading functions would take place entirely within the building, the residences along this street would experience some localized adverse impacts. 
(all emphases added)

Note that there was no statement about where workers would enter, which turned out to be Dean Street.

Also note the misleading notion of "primary entrances" oriented toward the commercial crossroads. There's only one primary entrance.

The term "primary entrances" was again used in Chapter 3, Land Use:
GEICO Main Entrance: seven double doors (+ Starbucks)
As also noted above, the arena has been designed to avoid and minimize operational effects to the extent feasible on adjacent and on-site residential uses by orienting the primary entrances and signage along Atlantic and Flatbush Avenue away from such residences and locating all servicing activities (e.g., deliveries, screening) internally.
But Chapter 8, Urban Design, more accurately described one primary entrance and other secondary entrances:
The arena’s primary entrance would be located at the Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue intersection; secondary entrances would be located on Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street.
Calvin Klein VIP Entrance, Atlantic Ave.
This left the impression, not inaccurate based on the graphic above, that the secondary entrances on Atlantic and Dean would be roughly commensurate in size.

A change in 2009

Then things changed, when the arena was redesigned and shrunken, part of a revised project plan re-approved in 2009. According to the ESDC's June 2009 Technical Memorandum:
The VIP entry to the arena would be relocated to Atlantic Avenue, although an entrance from Dean Street would remain.
According to the Technical Memorandum:
The proposed access and circulation reconfigurations would not create any notable changes to the site’s urban design; while the VIP entry to the arena would be relocated to Atlantic Avenue, a secondary arena entrance on Dean Street would remain.
...Although the arena’s VIP entry would be relocated to Atlantic Avenue from Dean Street, this would affect only a relatively small number of arena pedestrian trips, and a substantial change in pedestrian flow patterns is not anticipated. There would continue to be a secondary entrance for arena patrons located on Dean Street as assumed in the FEIS.
The shift is understated, but it's significant.

Dean Street loading dock, worker entrance at left near
EmblemHealth Dean Entrance
Yes, "a secondary entrance" would remain, though at least some language in the Final EIS left the impression that the only function as of 2006 of the Dean entrance was for preferred seating, leading to the not unreasonable conclusion that the shift in the locations for VIPs would mean no functions for Dean shift.

Note that a "preferred seating entry" is not the same as a "secondary entrance."

Again, there was no mention of where the workers would enter--and, for that matter, go across the street to smoke, hang out.

The oprating arena

As I wrote in June 2012, then-arena General Manager John Sparks estimated that between 70-75% of arena visitors would enter the arena from the arena plaza (with new subway entrance), 5-10% of the crowd, mainly suiteholders, would enter on the VIP entrance on Atlantic Avenue, with another 5-10% going through small entrance on Atlantic near Sixth Avenue.
Atlantic Avenue exit doors

Sparks also said that the “mid-sized” entrance on Dean Street would accommodate arena staff--estimated at 800 people for major events--as well as some 20% of attendees, which could mean 3,600 people.

In other words, Dean Street, though clearly secondary to the plaza entrance, was by far the largest of the secondary entrances.

The photo at left shows two clusters of three double doors on Atlantic Avenue--on in the foreground, another down the block--used only to exit the arena.

Flatbush Avenue near Dean Street exit
That makes nine sets of double doors on Atlantic, counting the two entrances (VIP and EmblemHealth), but, again, only to exit. There's too little room on the sidewalk outside to make it a plausible entrance.

At right is the "secret"--as in unrevealed in documents, as far as I know--exit from the arena at Flatbush Avenue just west of Dean Street.

Going forward

It will be interesting to see what happens when, as noted in the FEIS, "two primarily residential buildings (Buildings 2 and 3) on the arena block would occupy most of the Dean Street frontage, serving as a buffer between uses."

Presumably those residents--adding significantly to the Dean Street population--will have their own concerns about Barclays Center crowds in the morning and evening, and surely even greater concerns if the arena can't solve the problem of bass penetrating nearby residences.


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 January 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 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't be so cheap.

As …

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…