Skip to main content

After Orthodox Jewish protest event at Barclays Center, blocked travel lanes, much consternation (but could've been worse)

The rally yesterday at the Barclays Center for haredi (traditional) Orthodox Jews to protest the Israeli draft drew 12,000 or 15,000 (or more) men (and some boys/youth), arriving in mid-afternoon and leaving around 7 pm. This article quoted a backer; this one suggested the rally drew only a fraction of New York's haredi groups. Here's a press release.

Compared with the only previous event with an Orthodox audience--a weekday memorial in March 2015 that turned into a logistical mess, given many schoolgirls returning to school on buses waiting in the neighborhood--it was no disaster.

A large number of police officers and pedestrian managers--as well as staff working with the organizers--helped get huge groups of pedestrians across Atlantic Avenue, at one point stalling all traffic, and helped manage loading and unloading around the arena (but less so farther away).

But the margin for error with Barclays Center operations is very small, and I and others saw and recorded numerous encroachments on neighboring blocks, as described below, in the 90 or so minutes it took to get people out. Blocked travel lanes, bus pickups in the street, and pedestrian surges in driving lanes meant lots of honking and consternation among drivers and passers-by.

The lack of a turning radius at Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue--not meant for bus loading/unloading and narrowed by construction of 38 Sixth (aka B3) meant that one driver had to pull up on the sidewalk to let a bus pass, as shown in the video below.

Unloading on Atlantic Avenue

That said, the Atlantic Avenue lanes outside the arena that connect to an area commandeered for construction (which starts farther down Atlantic) sure proved useful for VIP parking and some drop offs.

Loading on Hanson Place

Buses both unloaded before the event and picked up after the event on Hanson Place, outside the Atlantic Terminal mall. As shown in the sequence below, the yellow bus loading post-event caused the white bus to travel past it by using the lane designated for traffic in the other direction.

Clogging Fort Greene Place

Given that a large number of attendees were Satmar Hasidic Jews from Williamsburg, the distribution of subway user skewed heavily to the G train.

After the event, large crowds surged up Fort Greene Place between the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls, walking in the street. Some loaded onto buses stopped in the middle of the travel lane, while others continued to the G train stop at Fulton Street.

At Fulton Street

Yes, the Fulton Street G train stop is not built for surges like the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays station.

On Flatbush, loading in a travel lane or blocking a travel lane

Most buses did pull to the curb on Flatbush Avenue outside the arena, but some did not. Buses were going up to Monsey in Rockland County and Monroe in Orange County.

A cul-de-sac becomes a place for evening prayer

Picking up outside arena on Atlantic Avenue

Police vehicles using Dean Street for staging

Video: a stalled lane on Flatbush

At about 8:15 pm, I overheard Deputy Inspector Frank DiGiacomo, the commanding officer of the 78th Precinct, order some officers to get the bus blocking the Flatbush Avenue travel lane removed. (I'm not sure how long it was there.)

Crossing Atlantic Avenue after the event

These videos were shot perhaps 20 minutes after the real surge.

Loading on Flatbush Avenue

Some buses blocked the travel lane while loading.

Lining up on Flatbush further south


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…

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…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…