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Barclays Center: no details yet on MTV awards show; vague on continuing worker pay; MLK quote stays at oculus (for now); no comment on petition for school space

This is the second of three posts on the 7/21/20 Quality of Life meeting, sponsored by Empire State Development (ESD). The first concerned construction progress and open issues.  The third concerned the B12 and B13 sites.

Barclays Center spokeswoman Mandy Gutmann responded to several questions and made a few announcements.

MTV Video Music Awards

The Barclays Center plans to host MTV's Video Music Awards on Aug. 30, without an audience.

Neighbors pointed out that the 2013 production caused great strains on local blocks.

"I was here in 2013," Gutmann said. "I know it was a massive production… This year will be different."

As details are resolved, she said, "I can discuss with [ESD's] Tobi [Jaiyesimi] the best way to disseminate information."

Noting that the North Prospect Heights Association has offered to organize a meeting before the event, Gutmann said, "we appreciate your help and your offer and will certainly be in touch as details unfold." That wasn't a commitment.

At the oculus

The arena oculus is no longer lit dimly overnight for safety purposes, likely a recognition that the number of protests, and the potential for after-midnight crowds, has diminished.

The Martin Luther King Jr. quote, which replaced advertising, "has eeturned after recalibration of the oculus," Gutmann said. "The quote will remain up for time being, with no scheduled date to change it."

Worker pay

I had posed a focused question about whether hourly workers are continuing to be paid for events they would have worked absent the pandemic, and, if so, why the arena hadn't changed the statement posted on the web site, which promised payment through the end of May.

Also, given that fewer events were scheduled after May, how many events will workers have been paid for in June and July?

"While we did commit to continuing to support our hourly workers, no formal statement was released, and I have no further information to share regarding our employee economic relief plan," Gutmann said. "The only thing I can share with you is that we are continuing to pay our workers."

That remains vague; presumably, given the lower number of events that had to be canceled, the pay would be much lower. (Also, workers should be getting unemployment insurance, right?)

Using the arena for school purposes

I asked about the recent petition calling for the Barclays Center spaces to be used for public school students.

"I have not seen that petition, so I don’t have any comment on that one," Gutmann said.

Pop-up food bank July 30 

The Barclays Center has been partnering with the Food Bank of New York to host pop-up food pantries. The next one will be hosted on Thursday July 30; more details will be posted soon.

Virtual summer basketball program

All Brooklyn Nets summer basketball programs have gone virtual. Here's the link for the Basketball Academy, which offers four sets of two sessions.