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March 4, 2011

Media meme #2: about that "indie rock" petition for Prime 6; the author can't be found and the whole thing may be fake

Atlantic Yards Report

We've been played, folks.

Neighbors' concerns about Prime 6, the "sports bar," club, or simply nightlife spot with an entrance on Flatbush Avenue and a backyard extending into a residential block, has turned into a huge donnybrook about 1) bars capitalizing on the arena and 2) places attracting a "hip-hop" crowd.

The first seems at least partly true. Evidence for the second relies mostly on an online petition urging that the bar switch to "indie" rock, a petition so precious that it generated numerous parody signatures, and a petition in response urging "Jennifer McMillen" to move to the Hamptons. And lots of pile-on coverage.

Except no one, save the Wall Street Journal, tried to find McMillen, who's not listed in the phone book or in any database. And the Journal couldn't find her, and suggests the kerfuffle is based on a falsehood:

It was provocative stuff, especially for a famously liberal and oft-mocked Brooklyn enclave. Except it might not be true.

At a recent meeting, most locals who turned out in force to air gripes about the establishment—tentatively called Prime 6 and tentatively set to open in May—didn't know a Ms. McMillen. Efforts by The Wall Street Journal to find a person with that name in New York City were unsuccessful.


Related coverage...

The Wall Street Journal, Brooklyn Venue Sparks Debate

Residents insisted none of their concerns had to do with any playlist at the spot, planned for Flatbush and Sixth avenues, just a few blocks from the Atlantic Yards development, which includes a new basketball arena for the Nets.

"I care about the 4 a.m. closing hour," said Michael Rooney, an attorney.

"No one—even among the most concerned neighbors—said anything about hip-hop music. That's a complete invention with racist overtones," said Steve Ettlinger, a writer and Park Slope resident of 26 years. He thinks the petition must be a hoax.

NoLandGrab: So the question is this — is "Jennifer McMillen" just a prankster having some fun, or is there something more sinister and calculated going on here? Like an effort to tarnish people opposed to the overriding of zoning rules that typically prevent an enormous sports arena from being built immediately adjacent to residential neighborhoods?

Posted by eric at March 4, 2011 10:44 AM