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Barclays Center rep claims non-ticketed events not listed on neighborhood calendar for security reasons (nah)

It's a small but significant change in Barclays Center operation: not since May 2016 has the arena circulated a monthly calendar that includes non-ticketed events, indicating the timing and expected crowd size.

And that leaves arena neighbors unprepared for crowds and traffic from events like graduations or religious gatherings.

At the bimonthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park meeting 11/14/17, the question of restoring such cordial notices came up again, and Sarah Berlenbach, the Director of External Affairs for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, gave a new but not-so-convincing answer.

Claim: It's about security

“This has come up before in these meeting, and we continue to stand by the decision to not publish many events, unless we expect there to interference with the quality of life," she said. "Think of the graduations that came in and had people like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders... Any time there might be a security threat we don’t want increased attention on the community. We don’t want the arena to be a target of any sort…. But if we do expect a really big crowd, or expect buses…, we will send a note out to the same group of people" on the neighborhood mailing list.

The problem with that logic is that it was widely known that Hillary Clinton would be the commencement speaker for Medgar Evers College, as NBC reported 4/7/17:
Hillary Clinton will be a graduation speaker at a City University of New York school for a second time.
The former secretary of state will address roughly 1,500 graduates at the Medgar Evers College commencement ceremony in Brooklyn on June 8, the college announced Friday. Clinton made a campaign stop at the college in 2016.
She'll also be the recipient of an honorary doctorate at the ceremony at Barclays Center.
Or, for example, the Hillsong Conference will be next Aug. 1-3, as Christian Today reported yesterday:
The Hillsong Church is inviting people from all over the world to attend its most anticipated event every year. In 2018, there will be three massive events to be staged in Australia, England and the United States.
The first Hillsong Conference will be staged in its place of origin, Sydney, Australia, from July 10 to July 13, 2018, at the Qudos Bank Arena. The second conference will be held at the 02 Arena in London, United Kingdom, from July 25 to 27, 2018. The event in the United States will take place at Barclays Center in New York from Aug. 1 to 3, 2018.
Response: It's about quality of life

However, countered resident May Taliaferrow, "Every event impacts the quality of life if you live on Pacific [Street] between Flatbush and Fourth" avenues. She noted that vendors park on the street and people leave trash.

"We want to know about events," she said. "We actually live by your calendar." She said she'll decide not to take her car out if she knows an event is happening.

Resident Peter Krashes observed that there were very few high-security events. "A graduation draws a lot of drivers, they sometimes take over a travel lane on Dean Street," he said.

Taliaferrow suggested that the arena could even just indicate that a private event is scheduled, with the expected attendance, without identifying the event.

"I’m happy to pass that along," Berlenbach said. That doesn't mean there will be any change.

Guesses about the rationale

Putting aside the flimsy justification, why would the arena not want to list those private, non-ticketed events?

Well, it avoids some level of hassle, given that listings invite neighbors to be in contact, and perhaps complain.

It protects those booking the arena, if not from security threats, from scrutiny or hassle.

And it masks--maybe--what could be dubious booking/rental decisions.

As far as I can tell, the listings caused no obvious hardship for the arena and helped build some sense of trust with the neighbors who bear the brunt of Barclays operations.

The oculus

Berlenbach reported that the digital signage in the oculus, which is supposed to turn off automatically at midnight, did not last Friday, and "that was brought to my attention Saturday morning." A call to the arena got someone to turn it off manually.

She had no explanation for the miscue--which has happened before, and blinked bright lights at the closest neighbors--but said "we rebooted the system… hopefully that does not come up again."

Rushing the building

She noted that, as previously reported, "there were some issues with the Power 105 concert" 10/26/17 as unticketed fans stormed the building.

So the arena and the police shut down the entrance. Berlenbach said those who were turned away with tickets have received refunds. "There were no arrests made and nobody was injured."

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