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Barclays Center hockey impact: boost for some local business, burden for some neighbors

Reports amNY, New York Islanders at Barclays Center: Local area businesses talk impact going into second season:
Barclays Center has only been home to the previously Long Island-based hockey team for a season, but in the four years since the arena opened its doors residents and businesses alike have grappled with a changing neighborhood dynamic, crowds, fear of rising rents, and what many have categorized as a balancing act between the definite benefits of increased business opportunities and the commercialization of brownstone Brooklyn.
“They’re seeing more Islanders fans using the bars and restaurants as kind of a home base,” said Mark Caserta, the executive director for the Park Slope Fifth Ave. Business Improvement District. “The fans [at Nassau Coliseum] were never used to having bars and restaurants nearby. Now it’s a little bit more like going to Madison Square Garden.”
New York’s “other” hockey team has actually provided more business for the area than concerts or basketball games, Caserta and several local business owners said.
So certain businesses nearby on Fifth Avenue and parts of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street have benefited, though--unmentioned--businesses in the orbit of the project on, say, Vanderbilt Avenue, have not benefited.

Then again, as amNY reports, for some businesses, like Yayo’s Latin Cuisine on Fifth Avenue, the crowds coupled with lack of parking deters some traditional customers, and rents are expected to rise.

The local impact

The article quotes two locals about the overall impact, with one businessperson saying “It’s not super desirable parking in this area, but it hasn’t changed,” and a resident saying he misses that businesses are now more oriented toward arenagoers.

What the article misses is the impact experience by residents in the blocks nearest the arena. At a meeting last Monday of the Dean Street Block Association, locals expressed dismay about numerous aspects of arena operation and project construction.

With the advent of hockey, one said, there have been new complaints about sexual harassment, drunken displays, and "beer cans all over." Could arena security, she asked Barclays Center Community Affairs Senior Manager Terence Kelly, extend their patrols to Dean and Bergen Streets after games?

"We definitely can consider a lot of what you're saying," Kelly said, though he soon added union rules limit the scope of work.

What can neighbors do, he was asked.

Kelly said that the arena could be invited to meetings like the block association meeting and the bi-monthly Quality of Life meetings (next: Nov. 1). He said a patrol car has been stationed outside the bar McMahon's--where fans have been rowdy in the past--on Fifth Avenue, I'd note--but he wasn't sure of the police footprint.

Indeed, Kelly's not in charge of the police, and I doubt that arena security could be legally allowed to patrol outside the arena boundaries.

So it's a police issue--as well as an issue, perhaps, that the arena can stress to attendees. After all, the arena is a very tight fit, backing into a residential neighborhood.

The issue should come up tomorrow night at the monthly meeting of the 78th Precinct Community Council, at 7:30 pm at the Precinct, 65 6th Avenue.

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