Skip to main content

After recurring complaints about circus load-in, errant trucks, Forest City, arena operators say they're trying; still no clarity on uses for arena "pad"

Confronted with some untoward neighborhood impacts, the message from Barclays Center operators was again "we're trying," though there are no apparent internal or external sanctions.

From Atlantic Yards Watch
Take the example of circus trailers blocking nearby streets, including a bus stop on Atlantic Avenue near the arena, last Thursday, on the day the circus came to the Barclays Center for an 11-day stint.

Speaking at a meeting last night of the Atlantic Yards Quality of Life Committee, which meets about every two months to discuss project-related issues, arena Community Relations Manager Terence Kelly said "
bad weather compounded an already large-scale operation" that involved a 40-hour load-in.

"We certainly did our best to remedy the situation," he said. "We take it seriously, and we really do want to operate in good faith and keep those clear and not keep them an ongoing and persistent problem."

Jim Vogel, a Pacific Street resident and staffer for state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, was not placated. "This is not the first time we've had load-in problems," he said. "We don't have to wait for this to be a problem pattern that's repeating, it's already repeating."

He reminded Kelly that the arena had once touted a "coordinated structure" to avoid such problems. "We haven't seen it," he said.

"Noted, he replied.

Living on the "pad"

Dean Street resident Peter Krashes noted that, according to a Ringling Brothers staffer, circus performers were living in trailers on the "pad," the surface space just east of the arena, sandwiched between the site for the B3 tower, which currently contains bike parking.

"The pad has been an unpleasant fixture, and an unexpected fixture for the community," Krashes said. Last May, when complaints were raised about performers living on the pad, Arana Hankin, then Atlantic Yards project director for Empire State Development, said she'd look into it, but there was no follow up.

AYR photo 2/23/14
"I can tell you, we want to see those things minimized," said Krashes. "I think it might be against the law."

"We’ll look into it," responded Paula Roy, who succeeded Hankin. "I'm not aware it's breaking any requirements. Whether there's a list of specific uses for the pad, I'm not aware of that."

"I can tell you it is illegal," Vogel asserted. "More to the point, I'm disturbed by your answer, because it's something we've seen before... The line keeps getting pushed back... We were told that the pad would only be used for load-ins, period, and only when necessary, only when there was overflow."

Forest City Ratner Chief of Staff Ashley Cotton noted that the pad was surface space required by the National Basketball Association to stage a bus during NBA games.

"Then we tried to use it, with no idling," she said, "to make sure, if there is an overflow use of some sort, we might as well keep it on our property, right? We don't want to take up up public space." 

She said Forest City similarly used the satellite uplink parking lot across Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific Streets. While it's designated for TV trucks, it also accommodates overflow uses. "We're trying to use the property we control."

"The pad stays, it's a requirement of the NBA," she said. "It will get enclosed by B3."

Krashes suggested there was some mission creep regarding both spaces, noting that the pad also seems to be used for staff and VIP parking. "We see a wide range of people parking there," he said. "It was not anticipated, not explained."

"I think Paula and I should regroup and make sure that the pad rules of the road" are clear, Cotton said. "We have used it to keep uses on our property."

Errant trucks

Atlantic Yards Watch photo
Wayne Bailey, a representative of the Newswalk building, reminded Forest City that--as noted on Atlantic Yards Watch--some trucks making modular deliveries at the B2 site have continued east on Dean Street rather than turning left on Sixth Avenue to Atlantic Avenue.

Cotton said they've done everything they can to remind drivers, such as signs.

Another resident noted, "I stop the trucks sometimes and ask them... They tell me they have no instruction from the loading dock."

Kelly observed that, with the B2 construction fence forcing traffic on Dean eastbound from Flatbush avenue into one lane, "there's a smaller margin of error than typical for any arena in the country."

While he said he understood that there may be truck drivers who say they weren't instructed, but "it's not to the best effort of people who work in the building and security guards on the pad. I speak with them on a regular basis.:

"I think year after year we've improved and show after show we've improved," he said.

And that, as typical, left it all up in the air.

Other issues

Also at the meeting was a report on efforts to limit bass escaping from the arena. I'll write later about a report that indicates that, on Nets game days at least, traffic isn't as bad as once feared.


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…