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Barclays Center plaza access to be limited (extent: unclear) June-Sept. for renovation work on pavers and lighting; subway entrance to remain accessible

This is the second of two articles about last night's Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting. The first concerned the limited updates on platform construction, with no major project updates.

In a brief presentation, Barclays Center's Mandy Gutmann, Executive Vice President, Communications and Community Relations, talked up the start of the New York Liberty's WNBA season ("a really fun family environment") and the Brooklyn Nets' renovation of a community center in Red Hook (more on that below).

But her "one update from an operational standpoint" sounded significant.

This summer, the arena operating company--remember, the building is technically owned by the state, to enable tax-exempt financing--plans paver and lighting updates "on our plaza," Gutmann said.

(The privately controlled public space is officially the SeatGeek Plaza, named for the arena company's ticketing partner.)

After all, those paving stones might be worn, after almost a decade, and maybe new technology can be used to spruce up the lighting. 

(Time to get rid of pavers honoring the New York Daily News, the original sponsor, before Resorts World NYC and now SeatGeek, right?)

Changes should be visible soon. Equipment for the project will be staged starting in the first week of June, near the benches behind the subway entrance, toward the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

The actual work won't start until late June, and will finish in September. It will be done in phases, and the entrance to the transit complex will remain accessible.

What's the extent of the work? Further details will be shared before it starts, Gutmann said.

So, how much might the plaza--which people cross to ease their walk between neighborhood, or gather in periodically to protest, invited by that tricky "You belong here" neon signage--be closed off at any one time?

No details are yet available.

Community center revamp

Gutmann noted that the Nets had helped renovate the Miccio Community Center at the Red Hook Houses, a NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) project that has experienced significant flooding in Hurricane Ida in 2021, rendering the fitness center unusable. 

image001.png
The logos on the press release

"For the past many number of months, we have been working to renovate their fitness center and get it back up and running," she said, with new equipment such as treadmills, bikes, weights, and benches, plus new murals designed by the Nets creative team. 

From press release
Those murals, perhaps not surprisingly, also help promote the team. (This is standard operating procedure for any sports team involved in community relations, not just the Nets.)

I asked in the meeting's chat how much the team spent. "We are not disclosing the amount," Gutmann responded.

Of course it's a good thing to help renovate a community center, but, as we learned many years ago, sometimes--and I'm not saying it happened this time--the Nets claim credit when others also contribute. 

Plus, of course, the expenditure should always be seen in the context of the "earned media"--free news coverage--it generates, which is more valuable than spending for advertising. 

(See the repurposed press release in The Source; Brooklyn Eagle; Brooklyn Reader; Athletic Business; plus News12, which covered the press event, which showed kids working out in Nets t-shirts.)

Here's the press release, which quoted, among others, Michelle Yanche of Good Shepherd Services: “I am so thankful to the Brooklyn Nets for making the renovation of the fitness room possible for our NYCHA youth participants... The Miccio provides youth with a safe space to learn and play.”

To quote the press release:
The renovated Joseph Miccio Community Center Fitness Room officially opened on Wednesday, May 4 following a ribbon cutting ceremony with Councilmember Alexa Aviles, Gutmann, Yanche, [program director Roland] Knight, Nets Legend Albert King and students involved with various community center programs.
Another question

Gutmann was also asked if the arena would do any community engagement events for jobs. or job fairs.

She said she wasn't aware of one, but "we have done a number of hiring initiatives, especially this past season," given the requirement that workers be vaccinated. She said she'd look into it.

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