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May 31, 2012

May 31st, One Night Only: Battle for Brooklyn at Brooklyn Heights Cinema

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

If you haven't seen it yet, Thursday is your chance to see the critically acclaimed and Oscar short-listed documentary about the fight against Atlantic Yards on the big screen.

Battle for Brooklyn will screen on Thursday, May 31st, at 8:30pm at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema (70 Henry Street).

The film is more important than ever as Forest City and some elected officials are making every effort to bury the controversial history of the project with happy talk of successful arena shows and ticket sales (see open letter to Barbra Streisand and Leonard Cohen).


Posted by eric at 1:02 PM

NBA Draft Lottery Fail: Dominoes Tumbling for Brooklyn Nets?

Many Brooklyn fans complain about Jay-Z's underwhelming logo and color scheme ... wait till they see the Nets' opening-night roster

bleacher report
by Pete Tenney

Couldn't have happened to a nicer, neighborhood-bulldozing team.

NBA Draft Lottery conspiracy theorists were sure the league would slip a little luck Brooklyn's way. How can the NBA afford to risk a bust at Barclays Center?

We'll admit it — we fully expected the draft lottery to be rigged for the Nets. Guess even the Atlantic Yards project holds the occasional nice surprise.

No Elvis sightings, no alien coverups, no frozen ping-pong balls for the Nets… And because they didn't move up in the lottery to a top-3 spot, their 6th overall pick goes to Portland as part of the Gerald Wallace trade.

Are we about to see a gut-wrenching chain reaction ruin the team's welcome party in Brooklyn?


Related content...

Yahoo! Sports, Sources: Getting Anthony Davis won't be enough for the Nets to hold onto Deron Williams

Well, guess this one's moot, anyway...

All-Star point guard Deron Williams has made one decision about his free agency: If the Brooklyn Nets win the No. 1 pick in the NBA's draft lottery on Wednesday night – and the chance to secure Kentucky center Anthony Davis – it won't be enough for Williams to sign a contract extension, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

"It's Dwight Howard or bust," said a league source who has spoken to Williams.

NoLandGrab: Then bust it is.

Posted by eric at 12:53 PM

Protecting Neighborhoods from an Oncoming ‘Onslaught’

Civic News
by David Herman

The Park Slope Civic Council, the Boerum Hill Association, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council have created a Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan (NPP) that sets up a series of guidelines to minimize the impact of the oncoming arena on surrounding communities.

“Long-standing and historic residential neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity of Barclays Center (Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights) need protection from the onslaught of vehicular traffic, patron activity and negative externalities caused by this type of magnet destination,” the plan states. The NPP was needed because various planning documents for the Atlantic Yards megaproject “only minimally address mitigation of the operation of the arena on adjacent neighborhoods.” (You can download a PDF of the plan here.)


Related coverage...

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Neighbors want protection from Barclays hordes

“I used to visit my brother in Wrigleyville, Chicago, right next to Wrigley Field, and I was amazed at the orderliness of the neighborhood as a whole after events there. That’s because they have an active neighborhood protection plan there,” said [City Council Member Steve] Levin.

Many of those who who attended yesterday's event felt that Sam Schwartz’s recently unveiled traffic management plan, officially sponsored by the Barclays Center, was incomplete.

Brownstoner, A Summary of the Barclays Neighborhood Protection Plan

Posted by eric at 12:40 PM

Legal Implications Surrounding the Brooklyn Nets’ Move to the Barclays Center

Ruling Sports
by Richard Braun

These guys are a little late to the party...

Whenever a new stadium is approved to be built or remodeled for a team, such as what has recently been approved in Minneapolis for the Vikings and in San Francisco for the Warriors, the controversy typically revolves around how these facilities are financed. The Brooklyn Nets, however, face a different series of legal issues as they prepare to move into their new home, the Barclay’s Center.

That should be faced, not face.

Back in 2003, real estate developer Forest City Ratner proposed the Atlantic Yards project – a multi-billion dollar plan to develop the Vanderbilt Yard and Prospect Heights, a neighborhood just outside downtown Brooklyn. Headed by then-Nets owner Bruce Ratner, the plan would come to include the future home of the Nets, the Barclays Center. About half of the proposed area was already owned by the city, but various private parties owned the remaining half. To acquire control of the remaining half, the state declared the area blighted and seized the property using eminent domain.


Posted by eric at 12:34 PM

As Nets don't get lucky in lottery, warnings about a gloomy season (though much maneuvering to come)

Atlantic Yards Report

More proof that karma is for real. Tough break, Nets!

"Could be a big night for brooklyn nets," tweeted Nets/Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark yesterday before the NBA Draft Lottery. But it wasn't--the Nets wound up sixth, just about where the percentages would have put them, and thus lost the pick to Portland.

"Disasterous for Nets," tweeted CNBC's Darren Rovell. "Lose pick. No hype into offseason." (He had previously suggested that, among all the teams, the Nets needed the top pick the most for business reasons.)

Well, they don't gain the hype from the number one pick. And the inability to draft Kentucky's Anthony Davis sets them back. But the Nets didn't so much "lose" the pick as not be lucky enough to get it.

No was there any intervention, as (admitted conspiracy theorist) Charles Barkley predicted--unless you count Rovell's tweet, "Conspiracy theorists have a new one tonight: The NBA sold Tom Benson the [New Orleans] Hornets w/the promise of the #1 pick."


Related coverage...

SportsIllustrated.com, Hornets strike it rich, plus more lottery observations

That other sound you heard was Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov cursing the basketball gods when he should have been yelling at himself. When Nets general manager Billy King proposed a deal to acquire small forward Gerald Wallace in March in exchange for a package that included the team's first-round pick (top 3 protected), someone should have asked the question of whether or not the 29-year-old -- whose nickname ("Crash") likely means he has 35 years of mileage on his legs -- was truly the sort of player who could inspire point guard/free-agent-to-be Deron Williams to stick around.

NY Post, Stern wants 'sparks' in Knicks-Nets rivalry

“I am hoping, for more sparks, a few verbal, some build up,” Stern said before the NBA lottery in Midtown Wednesday night. “We are going to have two spectacular new buildings in New York City and we are going to have two very aggressively managed teams.”

Maybe, the league now will have two crowds that actually cheer for their home teams. Whenever the Knicks came into a Nets building, whether the Meadowlands or the Prudential Center, the crowd was typically pro-Knicks. The Nets hope all that will change when they go into the Barclays Center. Of course, a winning team sort of helps.

Posted by eric at 7:34 AM

May 30, 2012

NBA Official Calls Ratner & Prokhorov's Arena "Essentially a Community Center." Uh...No.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

A NY Post article about the NBA praying the Nets win the NBA draft lottery on Wednesday night, in hopes of generating more revenue for the league by turning the fortunes of the forlorn franchise, included this quote:

"For financial reasons, [Brooklyn's] hugely important," [deputy NBA commissioner Adam ] Silver said. "In fact, the team is projected to become a revenue sharing payer, instead of a recipient, which makes a big difference. Enormous credit goes to Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov, who are investing roughly a billion dollars in this new, state-of-the-art arena in Brooklyn, which not only will be a fantastic venue for the NBA but will essentially be a community center, as well."

Actually, no, it isn't a essentially a community center, it's essentially a boondoggle and a community headache.


Posted by eric at 11:35 AM

As NBA lottery approaches, a "big night" for the Brooklyn Nets would be a statistical anomaly--and very good luck (or a conspiracy)

Atlantic Yards Report

"Could be a big night for brooklyn nets," tweeted the ever-optimistic Brett Yormark, CEO of the Nets and the Barclays Center.

He's referring to the chance to land the first pick in the NBA draft, where the clear choice is 6'10" Kentucky star Anthony Davis. It's a longshot even for the team to get a pick, as the New York Post's Fred Kerber explains:

The Nets, who after losing a tie-breaker with the Kings would slot in sixth if form holds — and immediately surrender the pick — have a 7.5 percent chance to land Davis. They will keep their own pick only if the gods of fate decide to place them at one, two (8.33 percent chance) or three (9.36 percent chance). Anywhere else, and the pick goes to Portland through the Gerald Wallace trade.

So the Nets roughly have a 25 percent chance to get a top-three pick, which would be the sixth in their history. Their only pick at present is No. 57 in the second round.

League hopes and conspiracy theories

Then again, stranger things have happened. As the Post's Tim Bontemps wrote:

The NBA will be watching, as well, and maybe secretly hoping it works out that way, too. With the Nets making a highly publicized move to a new city and new arena, it would be far from a bad thing for the league to see a talent like Davis land in Brooklyn.

“With all things being equal, we’d love this team to get off to a good start,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said at last month’s unveiling of the Nets’ new color scheme and logos on the day they officially became the Brooklyn Nets. “We recognize that it’s a zero-sum game in terms of wins and losses in this league, so I don’t root for one team to have a win over another team.

I've heard a couple of people repeat what former star and TV commentator (and admitted conpsiracy theorist) Charles Barkley said last month: the league might be rigging the lottery to ensure that the Nets land Davis:

"I'm going to be very leery if Anthony Davis ends up in Brooklyn. You know, I'm going to be very leery because I know the NBA has a lot riding on that new arena, especially if Deron Williams leaves New Jersey. They didn't get Dwight Howard. I'm going to be very leery if New Jersey gets that number one pick."

There's no proof this has happened before, as Harvey Araton points out.


NoLandGrab: Harvey Araton can tweet what he wants, but is there anyone who really believes that the 1985 NBA draft lottery wasn't rigged? Sure, it's harder to fix the ping pong balls than the envelopes, but David Stern's a smart guy, right?

Posted by eric at 11:21 AM

Churches organize "Justice at Atlantic Yards!" protest for June 10; accountability and oversight might come before housing and jobs

Atlantic Yards Report

In a sign of a new configuration of Atlantic Yards criticism, a group of churches, mostly from central Brooklyn and led by Rev. Clinton Miller of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, is organizing a "Justice At Atlantic Yards" protest on June 10.

Protesters, including parishioners from some 25 congregations, as well as others from the overall Brooklyn community including some active Atlantic Yards critics from BrooklynSpeaks, will gather at 3 pm at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland Avenue, just north of the Barclays Center arena.

Several elected officials are expected to speak, though the line-up isn't yet set. Miller has a longtime close relationship with Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who joined state Sen. Eric Adams and Assemblyman Karim Camara at a press conference in January expressing their outrage at the lack of results.

Listed after Miller on the poster are the Rev. Mark Taylor of Church of the Open Door in Fort Greene and the Rev. Conrad Tillard of Nazarene Congregational United Church of Christ in Bed-Stuy. Some of the church leaders involved have previously expressed concern or opposition, while others have not. Project opponents Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn are promoting the rally, too.


Posted by eric at 11:13 AM

Coverage of the Neighborhood Protection Plan: the tabloids show up, but not the Times (or the Brooklyn Paper)

Atlantic Yards Report

Here's a roundup of the coverage of the Neighborhood Protection Plan unveiled yesterday. Note the absence of the Brooklyn Paper and the New York Times, neither of which sent a reporter, though maybe the former will play catch-up. (I'm waiting to see if the Times's blog The Local has coverage.)

New York Daily News: Pols push for parking taxes, early booze cutoff in plan to shield neighborhoods when Barlcays Center opens

New York Post: Brooklyn arena foes turn to Chicago's Wrigley Field for improvements:

The plan offers no estimated costs. However, those who penned it want Forest City Ratner to dip into the millions of dollars it'll save annually after recently dropping a car-traffic-reduction plan to provide free MetroCards with Nets tickets.

Coverage is expected in the Brooklyn Eagle.

NY1: Community Presents Plan To Preserve Life Quality Around Barclays Center, plus mostly critical email about the arena (with some pointed exceptions), on The Call.

News12: Barclays Center neighborhood introduces protection plan (link goes to log-in page, but story available from home page): "I'm always pessimistic when it comes to Forest City Ratner," says interviewee Nancy Cogen, a business owner in Boerum Hill.


Posted by eric at 11:01 AM

Hockey in Brooklyn: KHL president says two regular-season games set for Barclays Center

Yahoo! Sports
by Dmitry Chesnokov

Just a couple of month ago, we wrote about the KHL's ambitious plans to bring their hockey to North America. KHL President Alexander Medvedev met with the heads of the NHL and the NHLPA in March about the idea who, according to Medvedev, "promised that they won't oppose [having KHL games in Brooklyn]."

The new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, partially financed by Russian billionaire and New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, was the target for those games. On Tuesday, Medvedev announced that two games of the 2012-13 KHL regular season will indeed be held in Brooklyn.

"In January before the [KHL] All Star Games the KHL will hold two regular season games at the new Brooklyn arena. We are planning to send teams with names to New York," he said.

"There are five candidates at this time. They are CSKA, Dynamo [the reigning KHL champion], as well as the teams [Jaromir] Jagr and [Alexander] Radulov played for [Avangard Omsk and Salavat Yulaev] and SKA St. Petersburgh. I am sure these games will be sold out," Medvedev told Sovetsky Sport today.


NoLandGrab: The only way those games sell out is if there's an NHL lockout next season — and the tickets are priced well below NHL standard.

Related coverage...

NY Post, Barclays to host Russians

Barclays Center officials wouldn’t confirm the deal but said serious talks are ongoing.

However, sources said the arrangement makes sense considering the arena will be home to the Brooklyn Nets — which are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov — and arena officials have said they want to tap into Brooklyn’s large Russian population.

Also, with a potential NHL lockout looming next season, the KHL could be the only hockey game in town.

Hockey News, Brooklyn could host two KHL games

Nothing is official yet, but plans are for KHL teams to play two regular-season games at the Barclays Center in January during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

NYMag.com, Brooklyn Plans Two Regular-Season KHL Games

Hockey Buzz, Does Hockey Grow in Brooklyn?

So today there was an announcement that the KHL President, Alexander Medvedev will be bringing two regular season KHL games to the Barclays Center in January of 2013, a few months after the New York Islanders play the NJ Devils in a pre-season game on October 2nd. That is, of course, if the next hockey season starts on time.

The CEO of Barclays Center, Brett Yormark, may feel that “Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market” but I just don’t see it. Certainly bringing two Russian teams may play well with the very large Russian population of the area. But to think it can sustain a hockey team for 41 home games a year may be slightly unrealistic.

No matter what anyone says about the amount of public transportation available towards the Barclays Center, those of us who live on the East end of Long Island will not be able to get to games on time or be able to afford it.

I could be wrong, but something about this sounds like a Russian circus -- sans the dancing bears.

NLG: More like HockeyBuzzkill, for the fantasy that the Islanders might someday call the Barclays Center home.

Posted by eric at 10:39 AM

'Sensation' Extravaganza Coming to Barclays Center In October


That over-the-top Euro-spectacle -- Sensation -- will open in America at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in late October, according to Dancing Astronaut.

Barclays will be the first venue for the previously Euro-only event, to be dubbed 'Sensation America.' Past Sensation events have been described a "spectacle beyond belief."

Dancing Astronaut describes the Barcelona Sensation: "Sensation White is a musical experience unlike any festival, club, or rave that I’ve ever been to. 13,000 people adhered to the strict dress code — 'Be part of the night, dress in white' . . . What resulted was a night jam packed with emotion, music, and a whole lot of sweaty Europeans moving in unison decked out in white jumpsuits."


Posted by eric at 10:32 AM

Megaproject Developers Promise To Get Around To Affordable Housing Someday

NY Observer
by Kim Velsey

In a move that should shock no one, the developers of Atlantic Yards and Willets Point are dragging their feet when it comes to building the affordable housing components of their projects, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Atlantic Yards, crying “bad market,” has repeatedly delayed breaking ground on the 2,250 low- and middle-income units that were a major part of pushing the project through.

And Willets Point, promising another 1,750 affordable units, may finally have a development deal, but it will be a long time before any housing goes up. Housing is scheduled for the third stage of construction, long after the large retail center and hotel are finished.

Developers complain that unlike the other components of their boom-era projects, which can move forward even in an economy that is just regaining its footing, affordable housing is just not profitable (never mind that the other components of their project are). They’ll get around to it someday, of course. Just not anytime soon.


Related coverage...

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, No Housing, "Affordable" or Otherwise, at Atlantic Yards

Funny, all these many years we didn't just warn that Atlantic Yards wouldn't easily fulfill its promises, but rather it would be impossible to fulfill these promises. Shame they didn't listen to us before they demolished 22 acres.

Queens Crap, Did you hear the joke about Megaprojects and affordable housing?

Posted by eric at 10:23 AM

May 29, 2012

Elected officials, community groups propose Neighborhood Protection Plan: new policies, oversight, and funding commitments aimed to mitigate impact of arena on residential neighborhoods

Atlantic Yards Report

At a press conference this morning, City Council Members Stephen Levin and Letitia James, along with state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, announced the Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan (NPP), a set of initiatives "aimed at mitigating safety and quality of life impacts expected to result from locating the Brooklyn arena within residential neighborhoods."

The plan, which addresses not only transportation issues left out of last week's Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan but also police, signage, sanitation, and more, is also backed by Council Member Brad Lander and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

It was put together by the three community organizations behind the Atlantic Yards Watch initiative: the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, the Park Slope Civic Council, and the Boerum Hill Association.

As noted in the press release, the NPP addresses not only policies to be instituted (and paid for) by the Barclays Center operators, but also efforts at regulation and enforcement by state and city agencies. Several examples--paying for street cleanup, for a police hotline, and for traffic enforcement agents--are drawn from experiences around Wrigley Field in Chicago, where the Cubs support various community initiatives.


Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Civic Groups Ask Barclays to Do More to Prevent Driving to Games

To protect residents from the onslaught of traffic, sanitation, parking and other issues expected when the Barclays Center opens in the fall, area civic leaders released a “Neighborhood Protection Plan," that calls for dozens of measures that include everything from residential parking permits to a garbage cans for every corner within a half-mile of the arena.

The plan’s creators called the plan an “olive branch” to open the door with Barclays officials for open and honest discussion.

“We’re looking forward to having a good neighbor and someone who wants to be part of the community. That requires dialogue,” said Boerum Hill Association president Howard Kolins.

Posted by eric at 10:40 PM

A Dance and a Dream: Local Women Prepare For Brooklyn Nets Audition

Crunch Fitness provides weekly training sessions for young dancers.

Park Slope Patch
by Paul Leonard

Claire Zcerniuk is ready to show the Nets that she has the all right moves to cheer on Brooklyn's first home team in more than 50 years.

Almost ready, that is.

Zcerniuk, 22, was one of about 40 women taking advantage of a special training class last week at Crunch Fitness in Fort Greene to prepare for the Brooklyn Nets' Open Audition for its all-new dance team at LIU Brooklyn on June 2.

"I'm so happy to have a chance to get a feel for the audition process," Zcerniuk said before beginning to practice the choreography she and an expected 700 other women will be judged on.

"It's a big commitment," said [Nets entertainment marketing director Kimberlee] Garris, who as a former Knicks City Dancer should know exactly what it takes to represent a pro-basketball team in front of millions on TV and for thousands of cheering fans.


NoLandGrab: Fortunately, no Nets Dancer will have to know the pressure of performing in front of "millions on TV."

Posted by eric at 10:18 PM

Atlantic Yards’ Transportation Perception Management Plan

Prospect Heights Patch
by Gib Veconi

This one eluded our grasp last week.

In Chicago, the City Council passed a “Neighborhood Protection Plan” ordinance that governs on-site and remote parking for Wrigley Field, shuttle bus service, and residential parking permits for neighborhoods near the stadium. The New Jersey State Legislature enacted a “Special Event Parking Surcharge” to discourage patrons of Newark’s Prudential Center from driving to events.

In Brooklyn, we get Forest City Ratner’s Transportation Demand Management Plan (known as the TDM), presented yesterday in meetings at Borough Hall by the developer’s traffic consultant “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz.

Mr. Schwartz is one of the most respected traffic engineers in the country. He was the NYC Commissioner of Transportation in the Koch administration. But at his presentation to the community last night, Mr. Schwartz seemed a little like the Wizard of Oz.


Posted by eric at 10:09 PM

Crime Report: Is That A Gun Or Are You Just Faking Me Out of My iPhone?

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

The week featured a lot of the usual crime — including more robberies at the ever-dangerous Atlantic Terminal Mall — and the return of the ultimate criminal pantomime: the use of a finger to simulate the possession of a firearm.

More Mall Rats

There were at least three more crimes in the Atlantic Terminal Mall last week:

  • A pickpocket swiped a wallet from a Target customer after she left it on a counter and turned away for a split-second on May 26. The victim, 69, lost cash and various cards in the 1:30 p.m. crime.

  • A thief swiped a wallet after bumping into a woman inside the Daffy’s clothing store at around 6:15 p.m. on May 27, getting an iPhone.

  • Another thief has stolen unmentionables from the Victoria’s Secret shop. The manager of the lingerie emporium told cops that he spotted a thief leaving the store with $1,200 in Body Bras at around 4 p.m. on May 25.


Posted by eric at 10:04 PM

Sen. Montgomery asks State Liquor Authority to move Barclays Center hearing to Brooklyn, hold it at night

Atlantic Yards Report

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who represents the Atlantic Yards site and has been a longtime opponent of the project, has asked the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to change the location and time of the agency's required hearing on the Barclays Center liquor license.

The 500-foot rule hearing, required when there are other nearby establishments, is currently scheduled for 11 am on Tuesday, June 12 at the SLA office at 317 Lenox Avenue in Manhattan, at 126th Street. Community boards, as well as civic groups, have asked for assurances of outreach and other arena-related plans, though the community boards have not backed 10 pm cut-off of liquor sales.

The SLA is expected to approve the application; the question is whether the process will impose any conditions on the operator.

Making the hearing more accessible

Montgomery asked for "a weeknight evening in the downtown Brooklyn area," according to her letter, below.

"As you are aware, she wrote, "this is arguably the largest application Brooklyn has ever faced. While I appreciate the concerted effort your offices must be exerting to process this complicated application in a timely manner, my office has been inundated with calls from residents and organizations objecting to the current date, time, and location."

It would be a disservice "to both the applicant and the community," Montgomery wrote, unless all potentially affected parties get an opportunity to speak.


Posted by eric at 12:27 PM

June 10th: Clergy Led Demonstration for Justice at Atlantic Yards

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Sunday, June 10th at 3pm, at the Corner of Atlantic and South Portland...

Join the Committee for Arena Justice*, community members, religious leaders and local elected officials to demand stronger oversight and the housing and jobs promised by Ratner:

*Committee for Arena Justice is a coalition of Central Brooklyn Clergy including Rev. Clinton M. Miller, Rev. Mark Taylor, Rev. Conrad Tilard, Rev. Lemuel Mobley, Rev. Washington Lundy, Rev. Dr. Cleotha Robertson, Rev. Dr. Clive Neal, Rev. Michael Sniffen, Rev. Ivan Washington, Rev. John Merz, Rev. Linda Bell, Rev. Shaun J. Lee, Rev. Daran H. Mitchell, Rev. Reginald L. Bacchus, Rev. Willie Wade Jr. and others.


Posted by eric at 10:57 AM


Coordinated set of initiatives necessary to ensure safety and quality of life in residential communities after September arena opening


Today, City Council Members Stephen Levin, Letitia James and Brad Lander announced the Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan (NPP), a set of coordinated initiatives aimed at mitigating safety and quality of life impacts expected to result from locating the Brooklyn arena within residential neighborhoods.

The NPP calls for policies to be instituted by the Barclays Center operators as well as regulation and enforcement to be carried out by State and City agencies covering arena operations, public safety, pedestrian circulation, sanitation, open space, and traffic.

Among the proposals included in the NPP are:

  • NYPD’s 78th Precinct be responsible for policing the arena as well as enforcement of traffic and parking rules, protection of pedestrian safety and regulation of public behavior within a one-half mile radius around the arena block.

  • NYCDOT install signage clearly directing pedestrian and vehicle traffic, including directing vehicles to use 4th Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, 6th Avenue north of Flatbush Avenue, and Vanderbilt Avenue, instead of residential streets in Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

  • The State authorizes and the City implements a residential parking permit program in the above neighborhoods.

  • Barclays Center provide at least one additional street basket at each corner within a half-mile radius of the arena, as well as be responsible for emptying all street baskets within the half-mile zone and cleaning sidewalks on blocks between the arena and five nearby transit stations and the arena’s parking facilities by 8:00 AM on each day after an event.

  • Barclays Center provide annual funding, as established by the NYC Parks and Recreation Department, for a Parks Associate position to serve the two existing impacted public open spaces near the arena, Dean Playground and South Oxford Park.


“The plans announced by Barclays Center to date won’t be enough to protect and preserve the residential character of the neighborhoods surrounding the arena,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “We need both swift action by the State and City governments, as well as real commitments from Barclays Center, to address the impacts of arena operations before the arena opens in September. We are here to partner with Forest City and the Administration to address these issues, but that means everyone has to have a seat at the table.”

“State overrides of New York City zoning regulations allowed Barclays Center to be built among residential neighborhoods,” said Council Member Letitia James. “But so far, the State and the City have stood on the sidelines while important decisions about traffic, pedestrian safety, parking and sanitation have been left up to a private developer. I urge the Mayor’s office and City agencies to take up the proposals in the NPP with all possible diligence, and work with local elected officials to get them implemented quickly.”

“The State must take an active role to manage the impact of an arena operating in a residential district,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, whose district includes nearly the entire Atlantic Yards site, and many of the surrounding neighborhoods. “The Neighborhood Protection Plan is a road map of common-sense initiatives that have proven effective in cities like Chicago and Newark. Brooklyn deserves the same.”

Elected officials representing the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights have previously expressed support for some of the proposals contained in the NPP, such as the issuance of residential parking permits.

“The traffic on event-nights after the arena opens is likely to be atrocious,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “The measures contained in the Neighborhood Protection Plan—collaboratively developed by community stakeholders—are sorely needed. I look forward to working with my colleagues in State and City government to get them implemented.”

Forest City Ratner Companies recently released the provisions of a long-delayed Transportation Management (TDM) plan intended to incentivize arena patrons to use mass transit when traveling to Barclays Center events. The TDM has been criticized for not including disincentives which have shown to be more effective at changing driver behavior.

The full Neighborhood Protection Plan is available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/95139027/NPP-FINAL

Posted by eric at 10:48 AM

Evaluating the arena transportation plan based on AY Watch's list of questions: lots of unknowns remain (hence push for more in Neighborhood Protection Plan)

Atlantic Yards Report

Today, at a press conference, community groups involved in Atlantic Yards Watch (Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, the Park Slope Civic Council, and the Boerum Hill Association) will, along with local elected officials, unveil the Neighborhood Protection Plan.

The goal? Address issues ignored by Forest City Ratner in its release of the draft Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, as well as other arena-related issues not yet addressed.

I've already pointed out unresolved issues in the TDM plan and would remind readers that the issue that's generated the greatest concern is the protection of residential streets from those seeking free on-street parking.

But let me evaluate it based on the list of questions posed by Atlantic Yards Watch before its release. Below, I've reproduced the meat of the questions, with my scorecard in italics. Lots of questions remain unresolved.


Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

WSJ on delayed Atlantic Yards affordable housing: no mention of modular gambit or KPMG report that said project was indeed buildable

Atlantic Yards Report

There are a couple of interesting things unsaid about Atlantic Yards in today's Wall Street Journal round-up focusing on that project and Willets Point, Housing Pieces Delayed: 'Affordable' Apartments That Helped Sell Big Projects Have Yet to Materialize.

Unmentioned, however, is the state agreed to give Forest City 12 years to build the first three towers and 25 years for the whole project, despite projections that the 16 towers would be finished in a decade.

The meaning? Bumps in the road or lies on the way?

According to the Journal, the "delays speak to broader challenges of building housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income families in New York, once the main focus of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's housing agenda."

Well, yes, and no. The delays also speak to the willingness of the state to commission a dubious report from KPMG claiming that the project could be built in a decade, and the willingness of a now-retired Empire State Development Corporation official to dismiss the Kahr report, commissioned by community groups, that was far more pessimistic.


Related coverage...

Brownstoner, Forest City: Building Affordable Housing at Atlantic Yards ‘Turns Out Not To Be So Easy’

As in the case of Atlantic Yards, it’s much easier for a developer to say what the public wants to hear and then fudge, delay and renegotiate its way out of the tough stuff later on. MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president at Forest City Ratner, said that the developer really did intend to make one-third of the residential units at the Downtown Brooklyn location affordable, “But it turns out not to be so easy.”

NoLandGrab: We're shocked! Shocked! And we bet ACORN New York Communities for Change[ing Your Name] is, too.

Willets Point United, Unaffordable Hosing

Is this why the city council approved the use of eminent domain? We don't think so. The Journal lays this out and we invite rational folks to ponder the future: "In recent weeks, the Bloomberg administration reached a tentative deal with the Related Cos. and Sterling Equities to redevelop a large industrial swath of land at Willets Point, in a plan that now calls for housing to be built as a third step with a groundbreaking by 2025, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies would first spend years building a hotel, and a large retail center in the area before moving on to constructing the housing in an unproven and polluted site near Citi Field."

Yeah sure, that will happen. This is the classic bait and switch with the Wilpons as the master anglers-hooking a land grab that they have been envisioning for over twenty years. Having already hosed the tax payers with their stadium deal the Wilpons have won the daily double-and have done so by crafting an illegal lobbying scheme that created a phony not for profit to camouflage their own self interest. Hats off to them!

But shame on the city-and the city council needs to take a long hard look at this scam.

Posted by eric at 10:26 AM

Got a gun and a car? The Barclays Center wants you!

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

This just in from the company that will run the Barclays Center: The 19,000-seat arena is getting so close to hosting events that it is reaching out to subcontractors to actually do the work — including protecting celebrities as they come to the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

AEG Worldwide has posted on its Web site that it needs local firms to provide manpower and equipment in several key arena areas, including heavy equipment and handling, facilities presentation and production room operations, landscaping and snow removal services, structural engineering and rigging, sound and lighting, electrical contracting and, this is our favorite, “armed car service.”

Interested bidders must apply by June 8.


Posted by eric at 10:21 AM

Calvin Klein scores $4M arena deal

NY Post
by Paul Tharp

Et tu, Calvin?

Calvin Klein is getting the VIP treatment under a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.

The fashion house will sponsor 700 premium-priced seats in an exclusive courtside club at the $1 billion stadium, which opens in a Sept. 28 gala.

Each pricey seat in the “Calvin Klein Courtside Club” will be emblazoned with the designer’s familiar black-and-white logo, matching the arena’s overall black-and-white motif [allegedly] created by hip-hop mogul Jay- Z.

Calvin Klein is also getting the arena’s VIP entrance where the Flatbush and Atlantic avenues intersect in a spruced up plaza. Of the four entrances being sold, only EmblemHealth and Calvin Klein have been disclosed as gate sponsors.


Posted by eric at 10:16 AM

May 28, 2012

Housing Pieces Delayed

The Wall Street Journal
By Eliot Brown

The promise of more than 4,000 units of low- and middle-income housing was a significant selling point for two of the city's largest new developments, Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Willets Point in Queens.

Today, they are moving forward, but the housing pieces have been pushed back for years behind other portions of the multibillion-dollar projects, as the boom-era visions are proving to be difficult to see through in a slowly recovering economy.


At Atlantic Yards, the project's centerpiece basketball arena is nearing completion. But developer Forest City Ratner Cos. has yet to begin any of the 6,400 units of housing it once anticipated being built by 2016—2,250 of which would be for low- and middle-income families. Forest City has cited higher than expected costs and an inclement market, although it plans to break ground this year on its first building with 175 below-market rate units.

The delays have frustrated officials and given fuel to critics of the project, which went through a contested public approval process before the recession.

"They should do the affordable housing up front, now," said Assemblyman James Brennan of Brooklyn, who said the low- and middle-income housing aspects should be accelerated. "The only legitimate selling point for the entire project was the affordable housing."


Posted by steve at 10:24 PM

Press conference announcing Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan

Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

Start Date:
May 29, 2012 - 9:30am

Sponsored By:
Council Members Stephen Levin, Letitia James, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, other elected officials and community leaders

Corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland Ave., Brooklyn United States

Elected officials and community leaders will propose a nine point "Neighborhood Protection Plan," and will call on Mayor Bloomberg and developer Forest City Ratner to meet and endorse plan to protect the communities around the Barlcays Center arena.


Council Members Stephen Levin, Letitia James, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, other elected officials and community leaders


Press Conference to call for a real plan to mitigate Arena impact on neighboring communities


Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 9:30a.m.


Corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland Ave., Brooklyn


The Barclays Center arena is opening in less than four months and there is still no acceptable plan to mitigate the impact of the arena and its thousands of patrons on the surrounding neighborhoods. We have put together a 9-point “Neighborhood Protection Plan” to address what our neighborhoods need to mitigate the impact of Barclay’s Arena. The Bloomberg Administration and Forest City Ratner have not explained to our communities how the impact of foot traffic and neighborhood disruptions will be handled after Barclays events. We have not heard a real plan to address parking and transportation needs. Council Members Levin and James are calling for a public meeting with the Mayor’s office and Forest City Ratner to present the Neighborhood Protection Plan and allow for the community to have real input in the decisions that will forever change our communities.

Open to:
General public


Posted by steve at 10:15 PM

Sports Business Journal: 183 events set; "about" 75 percent of suites sold; Calvin Klein signs on; more hockey talk

Atlantic Yards Report

From Sports Business Journal (via NetsDaily):

  • there are rumors that the 2015 NBA All-Star Game would be played at the Barclays Center (2014 is already out)
  • there are 183 ticketed events scheduled (which, if you add the ten "community" events, would be a total of 193, not quite at the 225 once promised)
  • "[a]bout 75 percent of the 100 suites in the arena have been sold, including four of the 11 Vault Suites." Previously, Nets/Barclays CEO Brett Yormark has flatly said 75 percent, which indicates some wiggle room
  • Calvin Klein has joined as a founding partner, while "Remaining, or at least unannounced, top-tier sponsorship categories in the building include insurance and automobile."
  • NBA CEO David Stern "called the new arena 'extraordinary' and noted that 'several owners told me this was never going to happen, even as the steel was going into the ground.'"
  • even before 2015, when the Islanders' lease expires, a minor league hockey team might move, or a team from the Russia-centric KHL might visit

Also note a pay-per-view wrestling event announced for December.

Posted by steve at 10:11 PM

A myth multiplied: "5 Signs That China Is Colonizing America" said to include Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

If you search on Google for "45 Signs That China Is Colonizing America," you'll get a bunch of results, which include the same, misleading Atlantic Yards sign:

'#8 Chinese investors have been gobbling up real estate all over New York City. The following is from a recent Forbes article….

According to a recent report in the New York Times, investors from China are “snapping up luxury apartments” and are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercial and residential projects like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Chinese companies also have signed major leases at the Empire State Building and at 1 World Trade Center, the report said.

Except that not-by-Forbes-linked 8/11/11 Times article got it wrong. Providing a low-interest loan for infrastructure and loan replacement doesn't give them much purchase on Atlantic Yards. The immigrant investors seeking green cards would only control actual real estate if Forest City Ratner doesn't pay them back in seven years.


Posted by steve at 10:05 PM

May 27, 2012

Forecasted contractually obligated revenues for the arena: from 64% to how much? (Also, 15% of office leases for FCE from City of NY/U.S. government)

Atlantic Yards

In late March, Forest City Enterprises, parent of Forest City Ratner reported that some "64 percent of forecasted contractually obligated revenues for the [Barclays Center] arena are currently under contract."

While that's a not insignificant rise from the 56 percent reported in December 2011, the developer has admitted that the 100% mark will not be met by the arena opening.

So we should keep watch for the next report, which will come with the FY 2012 First Quarter conference call. Last year it was held in early June.

Meanwhile, the documents embedded below show how FCE describes the Atlantic Yards project, among many others, to investors. Note that, even through early March, they were using the now-outdated 56 percent mark.

Also note, in last year's Third Quarter Supplemental Package, the document immediately below, one page pulls out a list of "significant office tenants as of October 31, 2011."

The largest, with 9.38% of total office square feet, is the city of New York. The third largest, with 5.82%, is the U.S. Government. Note that the latter is surely spread over several cities. And Forest City would say that it competed to bid for at least some of those leases.

But it's still notable how more than 15% of office leases come from governmental clients.


Posted by eric at 8:43 AM

The new Nets look to Brooklyn and the future looks bright

New York Amsterdam News
by Richard G. Carter

Sure, they're coming of a 22-44 season that was a huge improvement from their previous campaign, and their best player is likely to leave through free agency, but never mind that...

These days, the Nets are all-in for Brooklyn, where they will be the first major league team to represent the fabled borough since the beloved Dodgers split for Los Angeles after the 1957 season. Bankrolled by Russia’s flamboyant Mikhail Prokhorov—the richest owner in pro sports—and buoyed by a bold, black-and-white color scheme and the spanking-new Barclays Center, the future is bright.

The Nets’ Brooklyn-bound status was first touted in a huge, 80-by-60-foot Deron Williams’ billboard in Times Square. Much like Jason Kidd, Williams is a game-changing, All-Star playmaker who makes everyone better.


NoLandGrab: And when WIlliams joins Kidd in Dallas for the 2012-2013 season, the Mavericks will be looking to regain their elite status.

Posted by eric at 8:34 AM

May 26, 2012

Barclays Center Update

CBS New York

WCBS 880's Tom Kaminski was up in Chopper 880 this week, and he snapped some photos of the under-construction Barclays Center.


NoLandGrab: Here's a sneak peak of what it'll look like when it's done. And when your sandwich is ready.

Posted by eric at 5:44 PM

Winners and Losers

Your weekly guide to heroic and villainous actions in tri-state transportation and development.

Mobilizing the Region


Forest City Ratner—The long-awaited transportation demand management plan for Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center arena, which sits at the site of one of the borough’s busiest transit hubs, leaves much to be desired. The plan does not adequately discourage driving, does not include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders that was promised in 2009, and offloads the price of increased MTA service—necessary to move the area’s huge crowds—onto the New York taxpayer.


Posted by eric at 10:16 AM

Deeming transportation plan inadequate and other issues not addressed, local officials, PHNDC will propose "Neighborhood Protection Plan"

Atlantic Yards Report

There's lots of reason to think that the Transportation Demand Management plan announced this week by developer Forest City Ratner will not do enough to discourage drivers from seeking free, on-street parking. And there's much reason to wonder how other arena operations will be handled.

In the absence of such plans, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, backed by several elected officials on Tuesday will propose a nine point "Neighborhood Protection Plan."

I haven't seen the details, but presumably it draws in part on the example of Wrigley Field in Chicago.

As I wrote three years ago, in 2004, in exchange for being able to play 30 rather than 18 night games, the City Council approved the Wrigley Field Neighborhood Protection Ordinance. The Cubs agreed to "fund and operate expanded remote parking, print residential parking permits, and expand trash pick-up in and around Wrigley Field, as detailed in the annual report (also below).

Press conference details

From the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council:

Press conference announcing Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan
Atlantic Yards
Start Date:
May 29, 2012 - 9:30am
Sponsored By:
Council Members Stephen Levin, Letitia James, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, other elected officials and community leaders
Corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland Ave., Brooklyn
Elected officials and community leaders will propose a nine point "Neighborhood Protection Plan," and will call on Mayor Bloomberg and developer Forest City Ratner to meet and endorse plan to protect the communities around the Barlcays Center arena.
Corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland St, Brooklyn
The Barclays Center arena is opening in less than four months and there is still no acceptable plan to mitigate the impact of the arena and its thousands of patrons on the surrounding neighborhoods. We have put together a 9-point “Neighborhood Protection Plan” to address what our neighborhoods need to mitigate the impact of Barclay’s Arena. The Bloomberg Administration and Forest City Ratner have not explained to our communities how the impact of foot traffic and neighborhood disruptions will be handled after Barclays events. We have not heard a real plan to address parking and transportation needs. Council Members Levin and James are calling for a public meeting with the Mayor’s office and Forest City Ratner to present the Neighborhood Protection Plan and allow for the community to have real input in the decisions that will forever change our communities.


Posted by eric at 10:09 AM

Why buy an NBA team?

TrueHoop [ESPN.com]
by Henry Abbott

There are 100 reasons to buy an NBA team. I'm sure some people will tell you it's a good business, and for some people it probably is. There are tax advantages. In places like Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City, owners talk convincingly of civic duty.

For Bruce Ratner, a team offered a sophisticated real estate play, because a stadium was a key to using eminent domain for his sprawling downtown Brooklyn Yards [sic] development. For Mikhail Prokhorov, it made him an internationally recognized name, which did wonders for his domestic political career.


Posted by eric at 10:04 AM

May 25, 2012

Gridlock Sam goes rogue: "Don't even think of driving" to arena, but Barclays Center website offers driving directions (though parsimonious parking info), and Ticketmaster didn't get the message

Atlantic Yards Report

Thanks to some uncurious and ahistorical reporting, mainly from the New York Times (and those who relied on it), Forest City Ratner's belatedly-released Transportation Demand Management plan for the Barclays Center was treated as a wise solution rather than an expected tactic with enduring question marks.

And paid consultant "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz was treated as an "expert" rather than an "expert" "consultant" delivering for a client.

Yes, we've known for years that they would emphasize public transit, and provide some increased subway (and train) service. And we've known since the beginning of this month that the number of spaces in the surface parking lot would be halved, a concession more to reality--surface capacity--than to public policy. (In other words, they aimed to build 1,100 spaces, but the oft-discussed use of stackers would have caused delays, as Schwartz's firm had warned.)

But the six-month delay in releasing a plan with little new--and even less than promised, given the loss of the free MetroCard--was obscured by some headlines that treated the smaller parking lot as a solution in itself.


Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

Developer Pieces Together Legoland Deal for Ridge Hill

The Wall Street Journal
by Laura Kusisto

The huge Ridge Hill open-air shopping center in Yonkers, which initially leased slowly, has cut a deal to beef up its entertainment offerings with the first Legoland Discovery Center in the state.

Forest City Ratner Cos., the developer of Ridge Hill, has leased a roughly 33,000-square-foot space to Merlin Entertainments, of the U.K., which operates half a dozen other Legolands in the U.S. The stores sell Lego sets and offer a number of attractions for children ages 3 to 10 based on the popular building toy.

Ridge Hill's Legoland will feature a pit filled with soft Legos, classes, rides, party rooms and a cinema. It also will have a "Miniland" with iconic buildings designed out of Lego pieces, including the Empire State Building and the new Ground Zero tower known as One World Trade Center that is nearing completion in downtown Manhattan.


NoLandGrab: Here's a preview.

Posted by eric at 10:27 AM

May 24, 2012

Six Big Name Acts With Brooklyn Ties That Should Play Barclays Center

The L Magazine
by Josh Kurp

Four months from Memorial Day, on September 28, 2012, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will host its very first event: a Jay-Z concert. After that, the arena’s scheduled shows include Barbra Streisand on October 11 and 13, Rush on October 22, and Justin Bieber on November 12 (as well as all those Brooklyn Nets games). With the exception of Jay-Z, there’s not much to get excited for there, unless you really like Roll the Bones. Below are suggestions of six big-name acts that could play Barclays and get us more excited than hearing “Boyfriend” for the 6,538th time.

Never mind the suggested acts — it's the lone comment that's really worth reading.

shouldn't this read "Six Big Name Acts With Brooklyn Ties That Shouldn't Play Barclays Center, because fuck that place"?


Posted by eric at 10:50 PM

Today - 4:30 PM City Hall - Minneapolis Says NO to Stadium Tax Scam!! VampireSquid!

Daily Kos

Why, Minneapolites might get a brand-new football stadium! Why might that be bad?

FYI - this rally announcement is propagating on facebook and the list-serves of traditionally DFL allies in our area... a referendum is what voters put into place and deserve, and I think it is apalling that we would use our limited taxing and bonding capacities to subsidize a billionaire's pro sports team while expanding gambling. There is time to stop this theft and show the State Legislature and Governor Dayton that we hold schools, hospitals, basic functions of civilization to be higher priorities than corporate mass spectacle.

The Minneapolis City Council has taken a novel legislative approach.

In 1997, Mpls residents voted overwhelmingly to protect us from the power of the City Council to tax us for professional stadiums. As a result, our City Charter (Constitution) requires a referendum for any such costs over $10 million. City leaders asked for and received a State exemption from their own Charter! If the Council votes Yes on this plan, they will take away your hard-won right to a vote by the people!

If this makes you angry, DO SOMETHING NOW! Come to the rally, come to the Council meetings, and contact the members of the Mpls City Council!


Posted by eric at 10:42 PM

Beat the Barclays Center Traffic Blues: Use Mass Transit

Huff Post New York
by Ellen Freudenheim

I'd never heard of Samuel I. Schwartz before this morning's coffee and The New York Times.

But, Samuel I. Schwartz, I'm blowing a kiss your way.

While Forest City Ratner, with its detail-free "Transportation Demand Management" Plan, is blowing smoke somewhere else.

I care, because I live in a nearby Brooklyn neighborhood, Park Slope, a 10-minute walk from Barclays Center. And the arena promises to spring into action this autumn, boasting a Madison Square Garden-like schedule of 200 annual events (that's an average of three per week) including such blockbusters as Barbra Streisand and Disney on Ice.

I'm coming down with a case of anticipatory road rage from being stuck in stadium traffic.


Posted by eric at 10:34 PM

Worth follow-up from the transportation meeting: disincentives, penalties, missing parking data, impact of tower construction, security, and truck routes

Atlantic Yards Report

Following up my coverage of the May 22 public meeting on the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, I want to focus on some exchanges that deserve more analysis, given that the questions didn't quite get full answers.

I already wrote this morning about one seemingly inadequate answer: whether the halving of on-site parking, and other changes, should have triggered revision of project documents. The answer was no, but the evidence seems otherwise.


One of the biggest issues looming: What disincentives will prevent people from circling neighborhood streets to look for free, on-street parking? When Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman read the question, there were some titters from the crowd.

Forest City Ratner consultant Sam ("Gridlock Sam") Schwartz answered incompletely, stressing incentives: to use the parking reservation system that will direct them to nearby garages, and to “intercept drivers” so they use remote lots--at 50% of the rate of lots closer to the arena--near the BQE and use a shuttle bus along Atlantic Avenue.

He didn't discuss disincentives such as residential permit parking.


Posted by eric at 11:43 AM

Meet Barclays Center General Manager John Sparks, just for a bit

Atlantic Yards Report

Like a fleeting Sparks, this guy couldn't be bothered to hang around for long.

A key Barclays Center figure, General Manager John Sparks, made brief appearances at two meetings (morning and evening) May 22 regarding the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan.

In both cases, he received the exact same introduction by Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall, reading from a prepared script.

"We engaged with our new colleagues, the arena operators, to develop plans for running the building," Marshall said. "To that end, I want to introduce John Sparks, the general manager of the Barclays Center. As such, he runs the building, and everybody reports to him. Going forward, as John builds his team and we open the arena, there will be more interaction with arena operations and the community, elected officials, and agencies. We want you to meet him. We cannot stay for the entire presentation today, but we thought it was important to put a face to the name.


NoLandGrab: Call them what you want, it's all Forest City Ratner to us.

Photo: Tracy Collins

Posted by eric at 11:33 AM

Forest City Builds Communities From Within Through National Day of Service

1,200+ associates nationwide participate in ninth annual Forest City Community Day

Forest City Enterprises Press Release

Forest City Community Day sounds like something straight out of The Office.

Today, more than 1,200 Forest City associates nationwide will trade in their computers and office supplies for work gloves, paint brushes and shovels during the company's ninth Annual Community Day.

What, no bulldozers, wrecking balls or crowbars?

Community Day is a day of service that brings together Forest City associates from across the country to provide much-needed help to more than 60 agencies and charitable organizations nationwide that provide critically needed services in our communities.

Associates from the company's properties and regional offices are also participating, including more than 130 from Forest City Ratner, the company's New York subsidiary, who are teaming up with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit, to build a new playground in Brooklyn.


NoLandGrab: "KaBOOM!" is also the sound we all heard when Forest City Ratner knocked over the Ward Bakery Building, Daniel Goldstein's apartment, and Freddy's. How fitting.

Posted by eric at 11:23 AM

Barclays Will Have Little Parking For Cars, Lots For Bikes

by Garth Johnston

We already knew that the Barclays Center over at the Atlantic Yards was going to have half the parking it originally promised, but yesterday officials came together to try and explain why that is actually a good thing. And also to talk bike parking, animal marches and the not-surprising death of the dream of "Netrocards."

As you might remember, when the 19,000-seat arena was first proposed, officials were mulling the idea of giving free Metrocards to attendees as a way to ease traffic. Yesterday former Koch traffic commissioner Sam "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, who is working on the arena's traffic plan, explained that, "We find that the people who were driving to the arena, what they were facing was a $30 charge for parking versus a $2.50 MetroCard. Giving them the free MetroCard was not the incentive." Schwartz went on to say that the arena's plan was to "scare drivers away from the arena. I will be advising people on opening day, don’t even think about driving to the Jay-Z concert."


Related coverage...

NYMag.com Daily Intel, Please, Please Do Not Drive Your Car to Barclays Center

500-some-odd spots near the arena seems destined to have a bunch of dopes driving around Park Slope looking for spots. Even here, to quote Singles, people love their cars.

Ditmas Park Corner, What Do You Think About All the Barclays Hubbub?

From Jay-Z to Babs to the Biebs, from basketball to hockey to horses, and possibly now from traffic to traffic changes to even more traffic, the saga of the Barclays Center has been exhausting from the word go. And even though we’re a good 15 minutes from the future arena, there’s no denying that it will impact us in some way.

So as someone who doesn’t live there but who does pass through regularly, how do you think transportation around the Barclays Center is going to be? Do you anticipate packed subways cars, backed up traffic on Flatbush Avenue, and a pedestrian mash on your evening commute? Or do you think there won’t be a noticeable difference?

Take the poll — so far, disaster is outdistancing confidence in Forest City's TDM plan by a 12-to-1 margin.

Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

Can state/Forest City cut on-site parking and tweak driving disincentives without amending project documents? Officials said yes, but it looks doubtful

Atlantic Yards Report

Update: I queried the ESD yesterday about the answer below, and Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, responded this morning: "We will post a corrected answer to this question as soon as we can."

At the meeting May 22 on Transportation Demand Management, officials were asked if, given the changes in the plan, notably the offering of only 541 on-site parking spaces instead of the promised 1100 (driven by the inability to use once-planned stackers), revisions were required to project documents.

Several officials said no, but that deserved a lot more explanation, given that the parking change, as well as other changes, clearly depart from previous agreements and disclosures. Then again, changing some of the documents might have meant delays, including potential additional environmental review.

(State officials and developer Forest City Ratner are currently fighting a court ruling that requires a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement to examine the potential for a 25-year project buildout. Shouldn't a smaller parking lot have triggered additional review?)

The documents cited were the 2009 Modified General Project Plan (MGGP), the 2009 Master Development Agreement (MDA), and the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC).

The first was approved by the board of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the state agency overseeing the project, while the other two are contracts between the ESDC and developer Forest City Ratner. Two other documents I've identified also would merit modification.


NoLandGrab: Ever notice that the Atlantic Yards project has more acronyms than the U.S. military?

Posted by eric at 10:23 AM

In Memory of Preservationist Everett Ortner

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

We received news yesterday that Everett Ortner, who amongst so much else was a DDDB Advisory Board member, has passed away.

You can read more here about Mr. Ortner's life.

We express our condolences to all of his relations and loved ones.


Posted by eric at 12:32 AM

Forest City Ratner's savings from scrapping the MetroCard bundled with ticket: perhaps $2 million to $3 million a year

Atlantic Yards Report

“We might be able to put a ticket on a MetroCard, but we might not be able to put a MetroCard on a ticket," Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall said at a public meeting in May 2011.

And the plan was part of the suite of strategies promised in the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments the developer signed with the Empire State Development Corporation.

But Forest City Ratner officials and consultant Sam Schwartz yesterday said it would be impractical to link a MetroCard to a ticket, that it would not serve as a practical incentive, and that many arena-goers already have unlimited ride MetroCards.

All of those are plausible, but another angle on the issue should be clear: scrapping the plan would save Forest City Ratner a lot of money.

So, is Forest City Ratner just keeping the cash, or spending the money to otherwise deter driving?


NoLandGrab: Three guesses — and the first two don't count.

Posted by eric at 12:25 AM

May 23, 2012

More Trains, But No Free MetroCards or RPP in Barclays Center Plan

by Noah Kazis

The MTA will be adding extra transit service on Barclays Center game nights. But past promises of free or discounted MetroCards for arena-goers did not materialize in the transportation demand management plan revealed yesterday by developer Forest City Ratner, which local advocates are calling “too little, too late.”

Under the plan to reduce the number of people who drive to the arena, developed by Sam Schwartz for Forest City, more 4 and Q trains will run at the end of a Nets game, according to Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report. LIRR trains will run from to Jamaica every 15 minutes, rather than every 25. Nine subway lines already run directly to the now-renamed Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center station.

But the plan goes neither as far as the developer had promised, nor as far as arena neighbors and sustainable transportation advocates would like. “The plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and a member of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, in a press release. As recently as last year, free or discounted transit fares were being discussed by Forest City Ratner. Now it looks as if riders will have to pay full freight.

Slevin also pointed to the cost to the MTA of providing additional service on event nights. “The TDM assumes the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events,” she said. “Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”


Related coverage...

The Brooklyn Paper, A rail solution for Nets games

Forest City Ratner also said it has abandoned a plan announced last year to offer free subway rides to ticket-holders on game nights, saying technological glitches are standing in the way.

“We did look at that but the technology isn’t there,” Schwartz said.

NoLandGrab: Yes, we can put a man on the moon, but we can't get MetroCards into the hands of Barclays Center patrons.

Posted by eric at 5:06 PM

Whatever Happened to ‘Net-roCards’? Barclays Transit Promise Disappears

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern

A broken Atlantic Yards promise? Now there's a shocker.

Barclays Center officials have quietly abandoned a proposal to offer reduced-fare MetroCards to Nets ticket buyers to discourage them from driving to the basketball arena.

The MTA was tight-lipped on the deminse of the so-called “Net-roCards.”

“It was an idea that Forest City Ratner put forward that they are no longer putting forward,” said agency spokesman Adam Lisberg.


NoLandGrab: An idea that was put forward sounds like bait, and that idea being no longer put forward sounds a lot like switch.

Posted by eric at 4:59 PM

Justin Bieber Scheduled for Barclays Center Concert

The teen idol will perform his first major Brooklyn show in November.

Park Slope Patch
by Jamie Schuh

Hide your teenagers, or invest in some heavy duty earplugs, because Bieber Fever is coming to Brooklyn.

It was announced this morning that pop star Justin Bieber will perform at Barclays Center on Monday, November 12 at 7 p.m., with guest Carly Rae Jepsen (of “Call Me Maybe” fame).

For those keeping track, other mega performers slated to perform at Barclays Center when it opens this fall are Jay-Z, Andrea Bocelli, Barbra Streisand, Leonard Cohen and Rush.


NoLandGrab: Well, one thing's for sure — The Biebs will lower the median age of the average Barclays Center concert act by a few decades.

Posted by eric at 1:56 PM

Meeting on TDM plan is cordial, constructive, and frustrating; distrustful faces suggest residents not convinced plan will work; first phase sure to be an experiment

Atlantic Yards Report

Schwartz (aka "Gridlock Sam") and others fielded numerous questions from the public, read by Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman and culled mainly by CB 2 District Manager Rob Perris. In the audience was Brooklynite Kenneth Adams, CEO of Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing the project and his top aide Justin Ginsburgh.

And while Hammerman called the meeting “extremely healthy and constructive,” the emphasis on getting people to use public transit, without specific disincentives (or even incentives like a free MetroCard) led Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council to grouse, “It’s a marketing plan,” not a true plan to deter drivers.

(See Veconi's comments on Patch's live-blog coverage, also emphasizing the lack of details about the surface parking plan, and the PHNDC's Danae Oratowski's comments about the lack of community leverage, as well as comments by CB 2's Perris observation that the plan is "a good starting point," which should eventually lead people to realize they shouldn't drive.)

“It’s our job to make this work as best we all can,” Hammerman said, leading off the Q&A session. “There's no longer an us and them... I need to represent that building. I need to make sure it works.”

How well it works, however, remains in question. Two follow-up studies are planned for 2013, portending tweaks and changes in the transportation plan. And it will take weeks if not months, most likely, for the use-transit message to sink in.

That suggests that the first season of Barclays Center operations will be an experiment, and the neighborhoods around the arena will bear the brunt of that experiment.

Click through for much more, including video of the presentation.


Posted by eric at 12:16 PM

Arena transportation plan released, emphasizes additional transit service after events; BrooklynSpeaks calls it "too little too late," as drivers will seek free parking on residential streets

Atlantic Yards Report

While the MTA and LIRR will add transit service after Barclays Center events to encourage use of the adjacent transit hub, and arena operators are trying hard to educated and encourrage event-goers to use such transit, the long-delayed Transportation Demand Management plan released today by developer Forest City Ratner still left arena neighbors worried.

Without residential parking permits or other disincentives to drive, “I think the risk to the community has been elevated,” commented Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association after the bimonthly meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, which involves agency stakeholders.

While the reduction in the on-site surface parking lot--to 565 spaces (including 24 for the NYPD) from a potential 1100 spaces (with stackers)--”is a good thing,” Krashes said, there’s no “insurance” that the reduction won’t lead to more people seeing free parking. (The reduction, announced early this month, was driven significantly by the surface capacity and the inability to use stackers.) He pointed to construction workers who tear down “No Standing” signs and police vehicles parked on sidewalks.

How can the plan be held accountable, asked Council Member Steve Levin. “Are there any penalties if offsite lots are underutilized?”

Forest City executive Jane Marshall pointed to required follow-up studies that should improve the plan, but sidestepped the issue of penalties.


Related content...

Empire State Development, Draft Transportation Demand Management Plan

The public has until June 22nd to comment on the proposed Transportation Demand Management Plan, after which we expect Empire State Development and Forest City Ratner to summarily ignore the comments, as they did with the Environmental Impact Statement. Comments can be emailed to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

Posted by eric at 12:03 PM

Atlantic Yards’ Transportation Demand Management Plan is too little too late


The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors expressed frustration with the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM), released today nearly six months after its initially scheduled announcement, and only four months before the opening of the Barclays Center Arena. The TDM as presented by Sam Schwartz Engineering emphasized marketing of transit use to prospective arena patrons over disincentives to drive, and reduced the scope of the demand management strategies previously agreed between Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) in December of 2009.

“Effective demand management is a lot more than advertising,” said Ryan Lynch, Policy Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But the plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009. The TDM assumes the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events. Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”

“It appears that the TDM is still primarily geared to the 40 Nets games planned each year, with adoption of its elements for the other 180 events at the discretion of Forest City Ratner,” said Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of the 52nd Assembly District. “With little more than four months before the arena opens, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg need to get in the game. Government must play a constructive role in making demand management of streets around Barclays Center accountable to the public. It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s necessary to implement meaningful demand management strategies—like residential parking permits—so that arena patrons will leave their cars at home.”


Posted by eric at 11:54 AM

Live Blogging: Barclays Center Traffic Mitigation Plan Public Meeting

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

Patch was covering the blow-by-blow last night.

6:15 p.m.: The ESDC's Arana Hankin is introducing the plan to a room of several dozen community members and reporters. The powerpoint presentation of the plan will be on the Empire State Developmen Corporation's website later tonight, she said. 7:22 p.m.: Hankin just provided us with a working link.

Forest City Ratner's senior vice president Jane Marshall: "We look forward to working with all the stakeholders … to come up with the best possible plan to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation."


Posted by eric at 11:48 AM

A Brooklyn arena rises and so do transportation worries

2nd Ave. Sagas
by Benjamin Kabak

Last night, the major stakeholders in the project gathered in Brooklyn to discuss the infrastructure impact the project will have. Led by Sam Schwartz, the traffic and transportation consultant for the project, Forest City Ratner officials and local politicians led a meeting and discussion on transportation demand. While transit use remains the focus for arena-bound patrons, it’s unclear if the plan goes far enough to avoid an influx of congestion in the area, and a call for a residential parking permit program has stalled in Albany.

What to do with the cars though remains an issue. Schwartz said the number of spaces near the arena has been chopped from 1100 to 541, and those who will drive are being encouraged to park in remote lots. Free shuttle buses will ferry patrons from those lots to the arena as unloading areas around the arena on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues will be extremely limited. Still, though, parking rates will not be raised to discourage driving, and more importantly, a residential parking plan has stalled in Albany.

The latter point, as Council Member Letitia James noted, is a problem. Even if the bill were to move forward tomorrow, it would likely be another year — and a full basketball season — until the parking passes become a reality, and residents will have to contend with game-bound drivers seeking out a free space. Even with a public outreach effort discouraging drivers, enough temporary arena visitors will cruise Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Fort Greene to cause problems. “I just don’t think there’s enough disincentives,” James said. “I believe cars will flood our residential streets.”

Finally, pedestrian safety is a problem too. While the new subway entrances will siphon arena patrons to the building’s front plaza, crossing Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in that area isn’t fun on a good day. The city hasn’t been willing to institute many traffic-calming measures around the arena during construction, and there are none on the table for after. It remains, according to Schwartz, a work in progress that will be reassessed periodically.

So I am left wondering how flexible these plans will be. We do not know who will foot the bill for added post-event transit service, and a plan floated in 2009 that would have provided free MetroCards to Barclays Center guests has died a death due to unknown causes. Has Forest City Ratner done enough to discourage parking? Will the conditions on the street disincentivize driving after a few weeks? The Barclays Center arena is one of the most accessible around, and it’s in a neighborhood with little room for additional parking. Transit will be a part of the equation, and how patrons embrace that element will impact how residents come to view the return of professional sports to Brooklyn.


Related coverage...

The Wall Street Journal, New Arena's Traffic Impact Under Debate

But that Mr. Schwartz indicated there was a need to educate people about public transportation troubled Council Member Stephen Levin. "It makes me worry that you're worried that people are still going to drive," Mr. Levin told him.

Transportation Nation, Parking Slashed By Half In Plan For Barclays Center In Downtown Brooklyn

Schwartz says another way of keeping vehicles out of the heavily congested area will be to encourage drivers to park at a half-priced lot a mile away near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and take a free shuttle bus.

However, the arena’s website makes clear that suite-holders will get priority parking: ” You will have a reserved spot within a one to two block radius from the premium entrance. Important to note that our parent company controls parking both on the Arena site and surrounding areas that will enable us to deliver the most convenient parking access possible to our suite customers,” according to the Arena website.

The New York Times, Traffic Plan for a Brooklyn Arena Cuts Parking Slots by Half

“We will scare drivers away from the arena,” Mr. Schwartz said in an interview. “My message to New Yorkers is, Don’t even think of driving to the Barclays arena.”

The goal, he said, is for visitors to travel instead by subway and the Long Island Rail Road, which is to add extra trains to accommodate the fans. But his assurances were met by intense skepticism from several panel members, including the City Council members Letitia James and Stephen T. Levin of Brooklyn.

“If you live in Canarsie or Marine Park, you’re never going to take the train,” Councilman Levin said. “Much of Brooklyn and most of Queens and Staten Island are not accessible by train.”

Peter Krashes, head of the Dean Street Block Association, whose members live near the arena, said he wished that Mr. Schwartz had proposed residential parking permits to reserve on-street spaces for residents. “It’s definitely a concern that those who aren’t provided parking on site will circle the streets looking for parking,” he said.

NY Daily News, Free MetroCard plan for Barclays Center arena scrapped

Officials have scrapped a plan to give free MetroCards to patrons at the new Nets arena to discourage them from driving.

Developer Forest City Ratner had vowed to give free subway fares to fans who would otherwise drive, but officials dropped that idea from a transportation plan presented Tuesday - saying it wouldn’t make any difference in preventing a traffic mess.

And it would mean them having to give away free subway fares.

“You sort of have to follow the money. That was a tangible contribution they were going to make to get people to ride transit, and that’s fallen by the wayside,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “I think that’s kind of outrageous.”

NY Post, Barclays fouls out on plan to provide MetroCards

There will be no free rides to the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn.

The arena’s developer, Forest City Ratner, has scrapped its plan to offer MetroCards to ticketholders for Nets games or other events at the 18,200-seat arena, which opens Sept. 28, in order to encourage people not to drive.

It left many residents and elected officials fuming that the plan potentially creates more headaches — including jacked-up parking-garage rates that could drive away shoppers in local business strips — while doing little to prevent traffic nightmares.

Prospect Heights Patch, Barclays Center Planners to Public: Don't Drive

Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of Brooklyn's 52nd District and longtime critic of the project, was not impressed by the plan.

"One of the big problems is not whether you can get people to the arena site," she said, "but can you get them home again."

"It's going to be as bad as everybody fears. I'd like to be proven wrong, but I don't think I will."

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill], Big Transit Boost for Barclays Center, But Costs are Unknown

Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of opposition groups, called the transportation plan “too little, too late.”

“Effective demand management is a lot more than advertising,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But the plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009. The [plan] assumes that the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events. Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”

WPIX, Parking still an issue with new Nets stadium [Video]

NY1, Barclays Developers Push Mass Transit As Residents Worry About Parking [Video]

Residents said one of the best ways to discourage drivers is to issue residential parking permits for the neighborhood.

"That eliminates free parking for arena patrons near the arena at the time of arena events," said Tom Boast of the Carlton Avenue Association.

The possibility is being studied but Department of Transportation officials warn that it will take some time.

NoLandGrab: And approval in Albany, which has never yet been forthcoming.

Brownstoner, Barclays Center Transportation Plan Revealed

Posted by eric at 11:04 AM

Why was arena transportation plan delayed six months? FCR consultant Schwartz dodges the question; state official cites cut in parking spaces, agency signoff, need for surveys

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner and its transportation consultancy, Sam Schwartz Engineering, released the long-delayed Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan, which, depsite the long delay, was shockingly short on details.

Norman Oder kicks off the coverage.

Transportation consultant Sam Schwartz (aka Gridlock Sam) is well-respected, and for good reason: he has a distinguished career in the public sector and the private sector.

But he also works for his clients, and they come first. And this morning, when, on behalf of Forest City Ratner, he unveiled the long-promised Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, he wouldn't acknowledge that it was six months late.

Querying Schwartz

After the meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, when Schwartz took questions, I pointed out that the plan was initially due last December. I asked why it was delayed.

“I don’t see this as being delayed," Schwartz replied. "I see this as being very timely. A lot of work went into it in the past year. Doing it 130, 140 days before we even have a concert at the arena is a reasonable time to get all of our ducks in a row. And in fact, the participation of the MTA administration, all of their divisions, the participation of the Police Department, the DOT, has been key to this. So I don’t find this not to be timely at all."

There are only 30 days for public comment, and elected officials like Council Member Steve Levin have warned that the delayed release was too late to truly incorporate public input.


Posted by eric at 10:57 AM

Golden State Warriors Officially Moving To San Francisco

by Andrew Dalton

Congratulations, San Francisco! You're getting your very own privately funded [wink, wink] pro basketball arena!

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Mayor Ed Lee and the Golden State Warriors front office are scheduled to make good on months of rumors by officially announcing a deal to bring the NBA franchise back to San Francisco proper. According to the Chronicle, the deal will bring a $500 million, privately financed 17,000 - 19,000-seat arena to Pier 30 along the southern Embarcadero. The new arena is expected to be completed in time for the team to start hosting home games on the waterfront during the 2017 - 2018 season.

The team hasn't drawn up any blueprints for the arena yet, but they are confident they can rehab the aging pier to the point where it can support the scores of basketball fans. In exchange for fixing up the pier, the team gets a long-term lease on the 13 waterfront acres as well as a 2-acre parking lot across the Embarcadero. As part of the deal, the new stadium will need to include a "maritime element," which could include ferry or water taxi service directly to the arena.

The deal sounds like a win for city residents as well. According to the Mayor and team officials, the project won't require any money or new taxes from the city and will be 100% financed by the team's investment group.


NoLandGrab: You can absolutely, positively bank on two things here — when they say it "sounds like a win for city residents," it most surely won't be, and when they say it "won't require any money or new taxes from the city" and will be "100% financed by the team's investment group," that "investment group" will include the taxpayer's, and plenty of their money.

Image: The Warriors/Future Cities

Posted by eric at 10:43 AM

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn gives Streisand and Cohen a history lesson on Barclays Center

Sports ITeam Blog [NYDailyNews.com]
by Michael O'Keeffe

Better add The Biebs to the salutation.

Democracy is coming to the U.S.A., according to a song by Leonard Cohen. But Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) says it's just an empty lyric when it comes to Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project.

DDDB has written an open letter to Cohen and Brooklyn native Barbra Streisand about their plans to perform at the Barclays Center later this year. It's worth sharing with the rest of New York.

Click through for the full text.


Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Posted by eric at 10:35 AM

First look: Inside Brooklyn Nets new $1 billion arena

USA Today
by Michael McCarthy

You'd think they were going to be playing softball in the Barclays Center...

[Bruce] Ratner gave USA TODAY Sports the final media preview of the 675,000 square foot Barclays Center before it closes until its grand opening Sept. 28 with a concert by partial Nets owner Jay-Z. About 75% of the construction is done.

Ratner answered questions about Barclays as he toured the arena Tuesday. Excerpts:

What will this arena ultimately cost?

With land, interest, subway entrances, the whole works, it's going to be a billion dollars. All together, that's probably the most expensive arena in the country.

What do you say to opponents who say Barclays will ruin the neighborhood?

I don't think the traffic will be so difficult that people won't be able to live here.


NoLandGrab: Now that'll take a load off your mind — Bruce thinks people may still be able to live in the area. Phew!

Posted by eric at 10:24 AM

So You Think You Can Dance? Prove It Next Saturday

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

The Nets may be the doormats of the National Basketball Association, but their courtside dancers are second to none. And on Saturday, you get a chance to audition for the big time.

The Crunch Fitness-sponsored dance team will entertain at all Brooklyn Nets home games at the soon-to-open Barclays Center — and there may even be some international travel (perhaps if the Nets finally lose last place).

Nets dance team auditions at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center at Long Island University, 161 Ashland Place between Willoughby Street and DeKalb Avenue, 11 a.m., June 2. For information, visit netsdancers.com.


NoLandGrab: Just be forewarned — you may be subject to ogling by Dennis Holt, but at least you won't have to worry about Jim Stuckey any more.

Posted by eric at 10:18 AM

In brief, somewhat cryptic remarks, city official says task force is pushing to improve conditions around Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

This morning's Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting was almost exclusively about the Transportation Demand Management plan that aims to get arena-goers to use public transit.

But Lolita Jackson, the mayor’s director of special projects (and not quite ombudsman on quality-of-life issues), for the first time spoke publicly at moderate length, though her remarks were relatively brief and a bit cryptic.

A task force of agency officials, Jackson said, has done “three walkthroughs” (presumably beyond the Atlantic Yards site itself) and “did discover some conditions we were able to alleviate very quickly.”

The response includes “ some enforcement from NYPD,” presumably to limit parking violations; outreach from Department of Health rodent export Dr. Bob Corrigan to businesses; and an effort to more efficiently collect information regarding project-related issues delivered via 311 calls.

Beyond that, Jackson said, work is ongoing to establish protocols regarding arena operations, such as sanitation. More information on that work will be offered at the next District Service Cabinet meeting, scheduled for an unspecified date in July, some two months before the arena opens.


Posted by eric at 10:00 AM

May 22, 2012

An Open Letter to Barbra Streisand & Leonard Cohen Re: Barclays Arena Shows

Before Playing Barclays Arena Superstars Urged to Learn About History Behind Despised Atlantic Yards Project

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Dear Ms. Streisand and Mr. Cohen:

We at Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, the grassroots community non-profit organization that led the fight against Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project and advocated for inclusive, democratic development, write to you regarding your scheduled performances at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The billion dollar, publicly subsidized Barclays arena is the only component of the larger Atlantic Yards project under construction.

We understand the excitement your fans feel about your upcoming shows in Brooklyn and we do not question your right as artists to play whatever venue you choose to play, or your fans' right to enjoy your performances.

However, as artists of your stature and caliber, as artists with a history of philanthropy, social justice and civil liberty advocacy, and protest lyrics, we strongly urge you to take on every citizen's responsibility to learn about the history behind the venue you are associating yourselves with.

We believe you won't like what you discover.

Click through for the rest of this must-read letter.


Posted by eric at 11:37 AM

On BCAT, BUILD's Caldwell and Chamber rep talk up arena "win-win" (and a few things are missing)

Atlantic Yards Report

Last night, on Brooklyn Independent Television's Intersect, on the BCAT TV Network, Lori Raphael, Director of External Affairs at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and James E. Caldwell, President and CEO of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), joined host Brian Vines "for a discussion about job and business opportunities for Brooklynites" as "the Atlantic Yards become the Barclays Center."

(The show appears Mondays and Thursdays at 1:30pm & 9:30pm and Wednesdays at 3 pm & 11 pm, on Time Warner 56, Cablevision 69, RCN 84, Verizon 44, and streaming: Channel 3. It also should be available on the web site as an individual episode.)

Given such a focus on opportunities, not to mention the conflation of the Vanderbilt Yard with the Atlantic Yards site, it wasn't surprising that the project was presented as a win-win, with a mild acknowledgment of people who "feel" promises haven't been kept. (Is it just a "feeling" or could it maybe be documented?)

There was no mention of the big picture questions, such as the New York City Independent Budget Office's calculation that the arena would be a net loss for city taxpayers, or, however much there may be trickle-down spending and hiring, whether the big beneficiary is developer Forest City Ratner. Or, as the rather mainstream Regional Plan Association recently suggested, it's too soon to come to a verdict.

Nor was there discussion of other charged issues, such as the failure to deliver promised affordable housing--part of the public promotion of the project--or the much-delayed arena transportation plan. It was pretty much happy talk.


Posted by eric at 11:32 AM

Disincentives to drive? Many questions raised by Atlantic Yards Watch before meeting tonight on arena transportation plan

Atlantic Yards Report

There's a big meeting tonight at 6 pm at Borough Hall for the public to respond to the belated release about the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, and Atlantic Yards Watch points out many questions to raise about fitting an arena into a residential area.

How much will we learn from Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz and associated government agencies? Unclear. But some questions might be answered earlier in the day at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting at 9:30 am at Borough Hall; I hope to have at least a preliminary report up by the afternoon.

Disincentives to drive?

The biggest questions regard disincentives to drive, which have not been mentioned so far in official plans: will Forest City, and the involved city and state agencies support an arena parking tax surcharge? will they support residential permit parking? how will they otherwise restrict arena patrons from parking on streets near the arena?

AYW lists several questions and issues, which are expanded on in their post:

  1. Does the TDM program apply to all arena events at all times of day?
  2. Setting of real performance goals.
  3. Parking controlled by FCRC.
  4. Protection of local streets.
  5. On-going monitoring and enforcement.
  6. Stronger data collection.
  7. Effective transit incentives.
  8. Utilization of shuttle and other buses.
  9. Bicycle incentives.
  10. Cross-marketing plan.


Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

Crime Report: A Big Break on Atlantic Terminal Crime?

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

For a second there, we thought the Feds had finally indicted Bruce Ratner.

It was a big week for the cops of the 88th Precinct, what with an arrest of a longtime Atlantic Terminal Mall shoplifting suspect, and other collars, but the randomness, the violence, of crime continued to mar an otherwise great neighborhood (yes, we’re talking about the bizarre umbrella beating).

He’s the Target

Cops say they have arrested a serial Atlantic Terminal Mall shoplifter.

According to police, Richard Burgos was arrested on May 19 and quickly connected to shoplifting incidents on May 13, 17 and 18. In his three known trips to the mall, Mr. Burgos, 43, allegedly stole two DVD players, shirts and spider wrap.

Seems Mr. Burgos must've spawned some copycats, however.

Thief Caught

An alleged shoplifter was arrested after he stole a shirt and shorts from the Old Navy in the Atlantic Center Mall on May 15, cops said.

Police said that the man entered the Atlantic Avenue store at around 5:20 p.m. and stole the clothing — but he was spotted by a security guard. After a brief fight, the thief escaped, but cops picked up the suspect the next day.


Posted by eric at 11:15 AM

Building Blocks: South Portland Avenue

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern

In the second installment of our new Building Blocks column, The Local spoke with Peter Vitakis, the president of the South Portland Avenue Block Association. Mr. Vitakis has led the organization, which oversees the block between Fulton Street and DeKalb Avenue, for seven years and has been a resident of Fort Greene since 1979.

Q. How did you originally get involved with neighborhood activism?

A. When I had just moved into the neighborhood, we were just exchanging notes in terms of renovations. Little by little, there were other outside developments coming in, such as Atlantic Center Mall, and that was of concern because it was going to affect us, with its traffic and truck routes. All of the surrounding blocks were very much in favor of Atlantic Center’s development at that time. So, I joined an active committee to fight. We were the only block that sued [developer Bruce] Ratner.

What are some concerns you have for the neighborhood?

A. Primarily the ongoing traffic re-routings in the area and I like to know about new projects in the immediate vicinity. And quality of life preservation, street beautification — we take care of our trees very well. South Portland is a two-way street that’s interrupted by a one-way street between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street and we’d like to keep it that way because it protects these two blocks from northbound traffic and the residential quality, not only of South Portland, but also of the neighborhood in general. And over the years, I’ve noticed that the city, in connection with developers, try to be one or more steps ahead of us so that we’re tripped over. That I find difficult.

It seems that the neighborhood’s concerns are being dismissed over and over again and we’re not paid any heed.


Photo: Kyle Thomas McGovern/The Local

Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

NBA’s Brooklyn Nets Woo Fans to Barclays Center with Socialcam

by Sheila Shayon

Hey, if you don't have competitive basketball, you can try to wow them with phone apps! That shoot really bad video!

The social video sharing app Socialcam, just scored the NBA’s (and Jay-Z's) Brooklyn Nets, formerly known as the New Jersey Nets.

Their “Hello Brooklyn” campaign is a pitch to the team’s community of fans, 35 million and growing, and takes users on a subway ride to their new home for the 2012-13 NBA season at the new Barclays Center.


NoLandGrab: 35 millions fans? Citation, please — and Brett Yormark doesn't count.

Posted by eric at 10:51 AM

The Day: Everything the Traffic Will Allow

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

Today’s another big day in the Atlantic Yards project, with the state releasing its long-awaited “Transportation Demand Management plan” for the Barclays Center. The details will be unveiled this morning at a meeting of local pols at Borough Hall, then later at a public hearing also at the people’s house. Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report provided the deepest preview (but, hey, what else is new?), but our Kyle Thomas McGovern is on the case and will file later today.


Posted by eric at 10:45 AM

May 21, 2012

Terminal Tower, Cleveland headquarters of Forest City Enterprises, has overdue loan; developer must go to "special servicer" to revise terms

Atlantic Yards Report

Crain's Cleveland Business, in Forest City overdue on Terminal Tower loan: Developer houses 500 workers in city icon, reports (sub. required):

A $38 million loan secured by Terminal Tower, the Public Square skyscraper the Guide to Cleveland Architecture calls “the landmark of the city,” is overdue.

How that debt will be resolved by the building's owner, real estate giant Forest City Enterprises Inc. — which has its headquarters and more than 500 employees in the 52-story structure — remains to be seen.

As with other buildings that are worth less than previously valued and not delivering the once-predicted revenues, the loan has been assigned to a "special servicer" to revise and extend loan terms and even potentially re-assign ownership.


Posted by eric at 11:49 PM

Questions to ask about Barclays Center's Transportation Demand Management Plan

Atlantic Yards Watch

On Tuesday, May 22nd FCRC and their traffic consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering will present their long-delayed Transportation Demand Management program (TDM). PHNDC (an Atlantic Yards Watch sponsor) has developed some questions we'd like to hear answered during the presentation.

FCRC is required to implement a TDM as part of the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC) between FCRC and ESDC. The specific TDM actions required by the MEC are reprinted at the end of this article.

Robust TDM plans include both incentives and disincentives to discourage driving and parking. (AYW has already written about the need for disincentives.) The known details of FCRC’s TDM plan only include incentives. Disincentives such as Residential Parking Permits and an arena parking surcharge can only be implemented with the assistance of the City and State.

Read on for some questions to which answers have thus far proved elusive.


Posted by eric at 11:41 PM

From the latest Construction Alert: noisy jackhammering on Atlantic Avenue will be by day, not night; surface parking lot scheduled to start soon

Atlantic Yards Report

The latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 5/21/12 (and embedded below) and released today by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner, quietly reveals that noisy jackhammering along Atlantic Avenue will be done during the day, thus sparing residents' sleep, even as it may cause drivers to complain.

Work on raised medians along Atlantic Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to Vanderbilt Avenue--aimed to mitigate the impact of traffic and make it easier to cross--was supposed to begin in April but apparently has been delayed as the methods were debated. (Previous late-night jackhammering disturbed many residents.)

And while the state agency (via Forest City) had stated that work at night would be faster, the city Department of Transportation's Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination (OCMC) "reviewed the scope and location of the medians and determined the work shall be performed during daytime hours."

That will take lanes out of service during the work period, though some traffic signal and street light conduit work may occur during nighttime hours. Because other project-related work will take lanes out of service, the median work must be scheduled block by block.

Other highlights: railyard lights, parking lot

Also noted in the Construction Alert, some railyard lights in the eastern portion of the yard will not be turned off at 3 am on some nights but will be left on during some light plumbing work that is described as quiet and subject to cancellation if there is rain.

Also, as work in the north rail yard is completed in preparation for cutover in mid-June, and work in the yard turns into a 24-hour a day operation around that time, yard lights will on all night, and it's possible "that yard lights may intermittently need to be turned on all night through the end of June."

This "is essential to timely completion" of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, which is supposed to be open before the arena opens September 28 but is currently delayed.


NoLandGrab: Funny, we kinda thought not waiting for three years to begin reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue bridge after beginning its demolition in January 2008 would've been "essential to the timely completion" of the bridge.

Posted by eric at 11:27 PM

Flashback: in 2006 comment, MSG employee warned of rowdy fans, noise; ESDC responded that sidewalks would be fine, crowd noise "masked" by vehicle noise

Atlantic Yards Report

Tomorrow we're supposed to learn about the Transportation Demand Management plan for the Barclays Center, first at a 9:30 meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, then at a 6 pm public meeting at Borough Hall.

That plan's been delayed nearly six months, and there are other plans yet unrevealed, such as a code of conduct for the arena.

A warning from a MSG employee

So it's worth looking back to an 11/29/06 post, in which I pointed to an interesting, if anonymous, nugget of commentary emerged from the multitudinous comments filed in response to the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and included in the Final EIS.

A ten-year employee of Madison Square Garden warned urgently about noise, rowdy patrons, garbage, and gridlock.

The writer, who said he could not give his name, because, "like contracts that are signed with Bruce Ratner, there are speech restrictions included in the contracts with MSG." (The latter is unconfirmed, but there is a record of Ratner gag orders.)

The writer warned that, after events with younger crowds, drunk patrons crowd the street and carelessly strew garbage. They also treat the streets like they own them, he said, and are quite loud:

In the end, on any number of occasions, it's just one big party in the streets...

The proposed Nets Arena is surrounded by dense residential neighborhoods. What can the residents expect before and after events? There needs to be a study that addresses and answers that question.


Posted by eric at 2:44 PM

The Barclays Center hiring plan, incomplete statistics on hiring/contracting (vs. CBA goals), and the difference between self-reporting and an Independent Compliance Monitor

Atlantic Yards Report

I reported April 30 that, despite estimates that 150 to 200 of the promised 2000 jobs at the Barclays Center would be full-time, a more precise prediction was 105, according to a slide presentation by officials representing the arena.

Now I have the full presentation, reproduced at bottom.

What's missing: contracting

While the slides may seem to be self-explanatory, there is some information missing.

For example, Forest City Ratner counts 16.3% of contract dollars going to MBE (minority business enterprises) and 6.3% WBE (women's business enterprises).

Unmentioned: the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) on p. 18 sets goals of 20% for MBE firms and 10% for WBE firms.

Nor were Forest City's statistics not segmented into New York City or Brooklyn firms, despite CBA language regarding preference for "Community based firms."


Posted by eric at 11:29 AM

Are concerns about Barclays Center liquor license "entitled neighborhood grievance"? Times columnist doesn't look closely enough

Atlantic Yards Report

Ginia Bellafante's Big City column yesterday in the New York Times Metropolitan section, The Neighborhood Drinking Problem, raised the question: "Should we think harder about drinking as a matter of urban policy?"

And in getting to her prime example--the threat in Corona, Queens, where working-class single male immigrants face a plethora of bars--the writer took an uninformed swipe at the arguments over the Barclays Center liquor license.

Bellafante wrote:

The problem with modern-day temperance initiatives in New York — beyond the obvious risk of their seeming hoary in a place where a wine bar provides the ultimate imprimatur of gentrification — is that they so often take the form of entitled neighborhood grievance. Recently in Chelsea, residents protested the potential opening of a gastro pub that had the well-known club owner Amy Sacco attached...

In the same vein, this month, Brooklyn Speaks, an amalgamation of civic organizations and community groups concerned about the development at Atlantic Yards, drew up a petition calling on the State Liquor Authority to end alcohol sales at the Barclays Center arena no later than 10 p.m. The group worried that drinking at the stadium could linger on until 4 a.m., even though no amount of N.B.A. overtime — or encores at a Bon Jovi concert, for that matter — would ever likely last that long. (The group was seeking to end drinks sales at basketball games at half time; at Madison Square Garden, they are permitted until the beginning of the fourth quarter.)

These outcries, however warranted, have received far more attention than the existing threat to civic and social life elsewhere.

Looking more closely

It's not unreasonable to point to Corona, but to consider qualms about the Barclays Center liquor license "entitled neighborhood grievance" (yet "however warranted") is to not have looked closely enough.

Indeed, as one commenter on the article observed, the arena operator "has REQUESTED that drinks be served at its establishment until 4 am. It's not an idle idea floating out there as your article implies."

And, as BrooklynSpeaks points out, liquor sales after 9:30 pm are banned at Wrigley Field in Chicago. That's because Wrigley is ensconced in a residential neighborhood.


Related content...

The New York Times, The Neighborhood Drinking Problem

In 2009, alcohol was responsible for more than 8,840 hospitalizations in New York, a 36 percent increase over 2000. Additionally, the proportion of alcohol-related emergency-room visits among New Yorkers ages 21 to 64 doubled from 2003 to 2009. There were 70,000 such visits just in 2009.

The Bloomberg administration, for its part, is adamant that it is not seeking to reduce the number of bars in the city, a spokesman said. (“The answer is no.”) Responding to inquiries earlier this year about whether the city might discourage the opening of more bars, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s press secretary, Stu Loeser, said, “We’re deeply committed to encouraging entrepreneurs to start and expand small businesses in the city.”

In this instance an interventionist administration that recently called for residential buildings to regulate smoking seems oddly satisfied simply to play advertiser in chief.

Eschaton, It's The Pre-Game Drinking That's The Problem

I think efforts to limit the time of booze sales at sports events is really counterproductive. People aren't getting plastered off of $8 Coors Lights, they're getting plastered from the shots they downed before they walked into the place. Limit sales at the games and you're going to encourage more of that.

NoLandGrab: No, we're pretty sure from our many visits to sporting events that arena patrons are indeed getting plastered off of $8 (or $9) Coors Lights.

Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

Ticketmaster to Provide Primary and Resale Ticketing Solution for Barclays Center

Barclays Center to Leverage Ticketmaster's Comprehensive Technology Portfolio

PR Newswire via Marketwatch.com

Fans of double-digit "convenience" charges will be pleased to learn that Ticketmaster will be the "exclusive official ticketing provider" for the Barclays Center.

"We are committed to aligning ourselves with the best in the sports and entertainment industry, and that is why we have chosen Ticketmaster as the exclusive ticketing provider for Barclays Center," said Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark. "Customer Service is an integral part of our business and Ticketmaster offers the ultimate fan-friendly ticket experience for our visitors, as every ticket bought and sold on the platform will be validated as an authentic ticket by Ticketmaster."


Posted by eric at 10:56 AM

May 20, 2012

Amanda Burden gets buffed (again) in the Times; what's missing: where things didn't work out as promised (BK waterfront, Downtown Brooklyn), where the city punted (Atlantic Yards), and the failure to plan

Atlantic Yards Report

City Planning Commissioner Chairwoman Amanda Burden a mostly laudatory profile in today's New York Times Metropolitan section, Amanda Burden Wants to Remake New York. She Has 19 Months Left., which lets the protagonist claim, “I like to say that our ambitions are as broad and far-reaching as those of Robert Moses, but we judge ourselves by Jane Jacobs’s standards."

The writer, real estate reporter Julie Satow, gives a nod to a few critics of Burden, but not author Roberta Brandes Gratz, who demolished that supposed Jacobs/Moses duality in her book The Battle for Gotham, or others who've blanched at Burden's arrogance.

Nor is there any sober criticism from a mainstream figure like Alex Garvin--who, the article reveals, was Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff's choice for the post Burden got--who has consistently warned that the city has failed to support "the public realm," parks and transportation improvements that would more organically support and drive growth.

There's a lot in the article about Burden's elegant appearance and Social Register background, but the reporter ignores or forgets several examples, including Atlantic Yards, Downtown Brooklyn, the Fourth Avenue rezoning, Yankee Stadium, and the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront, where things didn't work out as Burden planned or professed. (Here's an epic critique of Burden, from Noticing New York's Michael D.D. White in September 2008.)

Nor does Burden's cheerleading for eminent domain, as with the Columbia University expansion or the (very different-than-planned) Willets Point rezoning, get a nod.


Posted by steve at 11:05 AM

Park Slope in the 1970s: abandoned buildings, empty lots, and tough-looking kids who could be dissuaded with a bat

Atlantic Yards Report

On the day of the annual Park Slope House Tour, here's a reflection on Park Slope in the 1970s, written for Dominion of New York in reaction to the Trayvon Martin case. Prof. Mark Naison's main aim was to suggest the right way to deal with "suspicious" people:

During the late ’70s, when I moved to Brooklyn, the Park Slope neighborhood I settled in was a tough place very different from the gentrified community it is now. There was a long row of abandoned buildings along 7th Avenue south of 9th Street, there were abandoned buildings on Garfield Place between 7th and 6th Avenue, and 2nd Street between 4th and 5th Avenue looked like a block in East New York or the South Bronx, with only three apartment buildings left standing amidst vacant rubble filled lots. There were tough working class kids all over, mostly white, but some black and Latino too. And muggings, break ins and car thefts were common. The street that I moved to was 6th Street between 8th and the Park. It had a mixture of old residents, artists and hip professionals. It also had a block association and I was soon recruited to help organize a security committee to protect block residents –especially senior citizens, who were especially vulnerable.

For this purpose, I kept a large metal bat near my door. When a group of tough looking kids whom I didn’t recognize came on the block, I would come out of the house with my bat... In all of those confrontations, never once did I have to use my weapon. There were a couple of times that I had to bang my bat on the sidewalk to remind them that I was serious, and potentially dangerous, but my most effective weapon was ironically, the respect with which I addressed them. (More)

It's hard to argue with Naison's lived experience, and his comment that George Zimmerman overreacted when confronting Martin and shooting him.

Putting aside the race issue, which surely compounds the level of paranoia Naison ascribed to Zimmerman, I suspect that another difference is that, back then people really did often settle disputes with fists, and young people were more amenable to Naison's offer to get to know them and perhaps coach them.

That's not to say that sports and other activities for teens aren't necessary these days, just that the best time to recruit them is before they go out looking for trouble.

But the most important difference, I suspect, is that more "neighborhood watch" people are armed, especially in states like Florida with their dubious "Stand Your Ground" laws. So a bat may be less of a weapon.


Posted by steve at 11:02 AM

May 19, 2012

"Everybody Knows": Leonard Cohen, the Barclays Center and remembering how "the fight was fixed"

Atlantic Yards Report

Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's coming to the Barclays Center on December 20, sure to attract a large if not sold-out house.

After all, he's a legend. As the promo describes it, Cohen's "a master songwriter, musician and poet whose stunning body of original work" cites "W.B Yeats, Irving Layton and Walt Whitman as literary influences."

But the Cohen lyric most appropriate for Brooklyn's glistening but tainted new arena is this, from the song "Everybody Knows": "Everybody knows the fight was fixed: the poor stay poor and the rich get rich."


On 9/17/09, as I reported, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) re-approved Atlantic Yards on developer Forest City Ratner's preferred terms, allowing--in ways we didn't fully learn until later--a 25-year project buildout, deferred payments for land needed via eminent domain, and payments for the developer's "soft costs" previously not permitted.

Michael D.D. White, lawyer, urban planner, and writer of the Noticing New York blog, testified (full text) with gravity and anger, warning that the arena had been calculated, by the New York City Independent Budget Office, to be a net loss for the city.

"ESDC’s phantom arrangements involving no designs, leave ESDC with absolutely no negotiating leverage to insist on benefit or counteract Forest City Ratner’s future blackmailing of the public for subsidy," White warned. "You shower Forest City Ratner now with additional multimillion dollar benefits such as excusing it from its railyard obligations, and we can expect that you will similarly shower more benefits upon them in the future, again without quid pro quo. What you are doing is destructive of neighborhoods, the city, our public finances, destructive of government and destructive of the basic fabric of trust required for a civilized society."


Posted by steve at 8:49 AM

May 18, 2012

What to expect from big Barclays Center transportation meeting next Tuesday--and what's missing (and why the first year may be a risky experiment)

Atlantic Yards Report

Coming Tuesday, May 22, as noted in the announcement at right, is the belated meeting on the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, at 6 pm at Borough Hall.

Beyond consultant Sam Schwartz, who works for developer Forest City Ratner, representatives of several government agencies will be present, including the Metropolitan Transportation, Long Island Rail Road, and Department of Transportation. The meeting should focus on incentives to use public transit or at least to not drive to the arena area.

We should learn how the MTA and LIRR will increase service, how Forest City Ratner will use incentives (like a free MetroCard with ticket and remote parking lots with shuttles) to encourage use of public transportation, cross-marketing with area businesses, how bike parking will be run, perhaps even how they rationalized cutting the surface parking lot to fewer than 550 spaces, and whether the incentives will be used for other large events beyond Nets games.

The plan was supposed to be released last December, and the delay--let's hope for a clear explanation why--is seen by elected officials like Council Member Steve Levin as precluding effective public input. (Maybe we'll also get a straight answer about the likelihood of the Carlton Avenue Bridge reopening before the arena opens, given that the current schedule puts it about a week late, portending traffic chaos.)

The missing disincentives to drive, and the risks

Indeed, what we apparently won't learn, as representatives of Atlantic Yards Watch have pointed out, are any plans for parking disincentives, such as a surcharge on area parking lots (as in Newark) and residential permit parking (as in several other cities with sports facilities).

And that runs the risk of a rough first year of operation, before policies are revised.


Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

From the Real Deal: a profile of former City Hall officials "who wield big influence" in real estate includes Forest City's Ashley Cotton estate meets politics

Atlantic Yards Report

The Real Deal's May issue offers Where real estate meets politics: A look at former City Hall politicos who wield big influence in the industry:

With Mayor Michael Bloomberg nearing the end of his third (and final) term, it’s no surprise that many of his top aides have now caught a case of government fatigue and fled to the private sector. And a high percentage of those who’ve worked for the pro-development mayor have been tapped for jobs in the real estate industry.

While hiring a former administration official (or former City Council member) doesn’t get a real estate firm the keys to City Hall, it can provide valuable insight when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of government.

...But there are firewalls in place: For example, an ex-government official can’t lobby their former employer for a year after stepping down, and can’t ever advocate for a project that he or she voted on while in office.

So that means, for example, that Forest City Ratner's Ashley Cotton, who's among those profiled in the piece, can't be lobbying City Hall for a year.

(Note that, despite the Real Deal's description, Cotton previously worked as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Mayor's Office, and before that the New York City Economic Development Corporation and under Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.)


Related content...

The Real Deal, Where real estate meets politics

Ashley Cotton
Senior Policy Adviser, EDC
Now: Vice President, External Affairs, Forest City Ratner

Cotton — who got her start helping manage Andrew Cuomo’s successful campaign for state attorney general in the mid-2000s and later worked for deputy mayor Bob Steel — only recently left the public sector.

At Forest City, she will focus on the opening of Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards, which is set to debut with a Sept. 28 concert featuring Jay-Z.

The opening “is a huge moment for Brooklyn, and as a Clinton Hill resident, I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” she wrote in an e-mail. “There is no question that my City Hall experience was ideal preparation for working on a project that is going to be a game changer for this borough.”

Cotton replaces government relations executive Bruce Bender, who also formerly worked for the city as policy advisor to the mayor. Cotton said Bender left to start his own consulting business.

Posted by eric at 11:00 AM

Barclays Center will have a horseshoe seating configuration

by Jason Brough

On Oct. 2 the New York Islanders will play a preseason game at the Barclays Center, the new Brooklyn arena that could become the franchise’s home once its lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015.

Key word there: could. The NHL is still hoping a new arena can be built closer to its current rink. But if not, the Barclays Center is an option.

One of the major drawbacks to the Barclays Center is its NHL configuration, which includes just 14,500 seats. (The building was designed for the NBA’s Nets.)

So basically the whole left side will be empty.

At first glance, it doesn’t look great to me. But maybe that’ll be part of its charm? It’ll be the horseshoe rink. Sort of like Fenway is the park with the big green wall.

Whatever. I’m just trying to be positive.


NoLandGrab: The Barclays Center is more likely to be home to professional horseshoes than professional hockey.

Posted by eric at 10:28 AM

Barbra Streisand Fans Dejected By Scalpers Reselling ‘Back To Brooklyn’ Tickets For Big Bucks

Seats Being Sold For Jaw-Dropping Amounts, Including A Set Of 4 For $53,000

CBS New York

A concert ticket tug-of-war is pitting die-hard fans of Barbra Streisand against money-hungry scalpers.

The Brooklyn-born superstar’s one-night-only “Back To Brooklyn” concert is sparking a Babs buying frenzy that is already getting ugly, CBS 2′s Dave Carlin reported Thursday.

Pre-sale tickets for the Oct. 11 show at the new Barclays Center sold out in minutes, and now resellers and scalpers want tens of thousands of dollars for them.

The CEO of the Barclays Center released the following statement: “As much as we’d like to, we can’t control what ticket buyers do with their tickets. Barbra Streisand performing at Barclays Center is a once in a lifetime event and we truly wish we had enough tickets to satisfy this incredible demand.”

Wait, we thought Brett Yormark said "we're going to protect the interests of the consumer... and the public will have access to those tickets for sure."

Marty Markowitz (who'll surely be sitting in the house seats) isn't blaming Yormark, though — he's blaming Washington.

“It limits it to the very, very wealthy only,” Markowitz said. “I’m hoping someday soon Congress will look into how we can limit this phenomena of scalpers and resellers.”


Posted by eric at 10:17 AM

How To Fix the Nets

The Epoch Times
by Dave Martin

The New Jersey Nets ended out their last season in the Garden State with a 22–44 record, good for last place in the Atlantic Division, while finishing their fifth straight season without a playoff appearance.

Not much went right for the team that will be calling Brooklyn’s Barclays Center its home next season.

All in all, the Nets have some good players [NLG: ?!!!], but aren’t yet a good team. Here are three keys to them competing next year...

Read on for the prescription, which has something to do with spinning straw into gold.


Posted by eric at 10:01 AM

On Gov. Cuomo's Schedule: Al D'Amato

Gov. Cuomo posted another batch of his daily schedules on his CitizenConnects website this afternoon.

Daily Politics [NYDailyNews.com]
by Celeste Katz and Glenn Blain

The latest offerings cover the first three months of 2012 and – like the previous postings on the site – offer a limited view of how Cuomo spends his day. They include an array of meetings the governor had with officials, labor leaders and educators leading up to passage of the 2012-13 budget.

One of the more interesting meetings took place on Feb. 20 in Cuomo’s New York City office between Cuomo and former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (the schedule misspelled D’Amato’s first name as Alphonse). Also in attendance: Top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco.

Cuomo’s office has not responded to a request for information about the meeting and a D’Amato spokeswoman said she had no information on what the sitdown was about.

There's more of that transparency that Status Cuomo has been trumpeting.

D’Amato is now a registered lobbyist with a bevy of deep-pocketed clients, including telecommunications giant Verizon New York.

Other D’Amato clients include the Atlantic Yards Development Company , the Trustees of Columbia University and the Real Estate Board of New York.


NoLandGrab: In other words, D'Amato's client list is a Who's Who of eminent domain abusers.

Posted by eric at 9:55 AM

May 17, 2012

$53K to see Babs

Fans singing blues over high ticket price$

The NY Post
by Claire Atkinson

Something’s not kosher about ticket sales for Barbra Streisand’s “Back to Brooklyn” concert in October, fans of the singer are crying.

Minutes after a pre-sale started last week, tickets were gone — only to turn up on resale sites moments later, avid fans charge.

And now, just days before the May 21 official sale date, resale sites are choked with tickets — with one down-in-front ducat being offer on eBay yesterday for a staggering $53,000!

“I feel like fans do not have any real opportunity to buy tickets at face value,” one long-time Barbra fan, Evan Cohen told The Post.

The Manhattan dentist said he got online to buy tickets at a Streisand-fan only pre-sale the minute it opened but was shut out.

Thousands of other fans are sounding off on chatboards and Facebook pages. The brouhaha has reached from Carroll Gardens to California, where Streisand apologized on her website for the ticket snafu.

“We apologize to those who were unable to secure tickets from our limited allotment, and we are doing everything we can to accommodate as many fans as possible,” a statement on her site read.

Of course, another statement on Babs's website also said she was opposed to the "autocratic power of eminent domain to take land from unwilling sellers" for the KeystoneXL pipeline, but that's not stopping her from performing in an arena built with the "autocratic power of eminent domain to take land from unwilling sellers."

Ada Diaz wrote, “So scalpers can get tickets but fans can’t. If Barbra wanted to fix this she would cancel all sales and do this over.”

“Crazy, unbelievable,” wrote fan David Stewart.

“This is disgusting and I would have expected more from [Barbra]. Does [Barbra] know about this?” wrote Adam Mazzuca.

Adam, see above, under KeystoneXL pipeline.

Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center, said in a statement to The Post, “As much as we’d like to, we can’t control what ticket buyers do with their tickets. Barbra Streisand performing at Barclays Center is a once-in-a-lifetime event and we truly wish we had enough tickets to satisfy this incredible demand.”


NoLandGrab: Really, Pinocchio Brett Yormark? Because just a week ago, you were on Good Day New York saying just the opposite. The following exchange takes place at the 5:12 mark in the video below between dimwitted host Rosanna Scotto and The Great Prevaricator:

Scotto: How do we ensure that we don't get all those scalpers in there and they don't glom all the good seats?

Yormark: We're going to protect the interests of the consumer... and the public will have access to those tickets for sure.

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

Railyard lights and construction may extend to 24 hours through June

Atlantic Yards Watch

Empire State Development continues to do absolutely nothing to protect the interests of people living near the Atlantic Yards site.

ESDC and FCRC have issued a supplemental construction alert giving notice that work in Vanderbilt railyard will be extended to 24 hours a day for some periods through June. Work already takes place in the railyard from 6 AM to 3 AM. The notice states that working hours are being expanded to help speed up the reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge. Work to reconstruct the bridge began in December 2010, nearly 3 years after it was closed for reconstruction.

According to the notice, plumbing work scheduled over the next few weeks and located in the section of the railyard between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues cannot be executed while other work is taking place there. It is described as "quiet work" that will be localized and intermittent. The work will be lit either by the LIRR yard's permanent lights (only those lights in the vicinity of the work), or by portable lights.

The hours the lights will be used will be expanded again when the "cutover" of LIRR operations from the southern tracks to the northern tracks takes place. Around the clock work will occur immediately before and during the cutover, which will take place over the course of two weekends in mid-June. Moving LIRR operations to the northern tracks is the next step in the construction of the railyard. The southern half now has to be lowered 27 feet to be at the same height as the recently excavated northern half.

Numerous complaints about the lights spilling over into nearby residences have been received by AYW. In the past, neighbors residing near the railyard have noted all the yard lights have been turned on even when a small number of workers have been concentrated in just a portion of the two-block area.


Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, A delay in the railyard cutover means... a delay in completion of the Carlton Avenue Bridge?

Posted by eric at 11:58 AM

Building the Next New York: the RPA's recommendations for mega-projects implies avoidance of Atlantic Yards pattern, though report suggests no verdict yet on project

Atlantic Yards Report

With "advocacy" groups like RPA, who needs developers?

The Regional Plan Association has just issued Building the Next New York: Recommendations for Large Real Estate Projects, which offers some sober criticisms of Atlantic Yards while analyzing a range of large development initiatives in order to propose some recommendations.

The business-oriented, rational RPA--self-described as "America's oldest and most distinguished independent urban research and advocacy group"--says it's too soon to come to a verdict on Atlantic Yards, a project it offered support mixed with suggestions for reform.

However careful in not making such a judgment, the RPA surely learned some lessons from Atlantic Yards. "These projects are enormously complex and can take a generation or more to build," said RPA President Robert Yaro. "This makes it essential to maintain both flexibility and a public stake throughout the life of the project."

That sounds like an acknowledgment that the significant changes in Atlantic Yards should not have been surprising--but that the government agencies approving those changes should have done more to represent the public interest.


Posted by eric at 11:51 AM

Welcoming committee isn't out for Forest City in Cambridge, Mass.

Crain's Cleveland Business
by Scott Suttell

Forest City, which is no stranger to friction with urban residents after its Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, N.Y., is getting some pushback in Boston.

Boston.com reports that neighbors of a 130-unit residential tower proposed at the edge of Central Square in Cambridge “are criticizing the size of the building and its potential effect on nearby parks.”

The 165-foot tall tower is part of a proposal by Forest City Commercial Group and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that would require passage of a zoning change by Cambridge City Council before it could be built, the website notes.


Related coverage...

Boston.com, Neighbors wary of tower proposed near Central Square

Speaking at a hearing about the proposal before the City Council’s Ordinance Committee Tuesday, Cambridge resident Jonathan King lamented the effect the residential tower would have on the area around Central Square and the Lafayette Square neighborhood. King said shadows would be cast on the nearby Jill Brown Rhone Park and the building would not offer a pleasant view from the park.

“The proposed residential tower will be a scar on the sight line,” King said. “This is going to be an ugly tall building out of place.”

Posted by eric at 11:28 AM

Small Arts Venue Casts a Weary, Yet Hopeful, Eye On Barclays Center

Both pitfalls and positives seen from opening of mega-arena in September.

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch
by Paul Leonard

As a resident, Terry Greiss is one of many neighborhood voices that have been critical of Atlantic Yards redevelopment, including the still-rising Barclays Center.

But as executive director of Fort Greene's Irondale Center, Greiss' feelings about the mega-project are decidedly more mixed—a sign of the many challenges and opportunities awaiting small local cultural venues as the September opening date for the 18,000-seat arena draws closer.

"The jury is out about whether it’s going to be a good thing or a bad thing," Greiss said of Barclays' imminent arrival.


NoLandGrab: The jury is out, but they've only been out for five minutes, and they just sent the judge a note asking if they can award higher damages than those outlined in the instructions to the jury.

Posted by eric at 11:21 AM

May 16, 2012

Horseshoe seating for hockey puts Barclays on thin ice

The Brooklyn Paper
by Daniel Bush

Speaking of getting away with things, the media have largely and repeatedly allowed Bruce Ratner and Brett Yormark to get away with floating the absurd notion that the not-designed-for-hockey Barclays Center might someday be home to the Islanders. Kudos to Dan Bush and the Brooklyn Paper for calling their bluff.

The Barclays Center will debut an unconventional horseshoe-shaped seating configuration for a preseason hockey game this fall — raising questions about whether the undersized arena could truly accommodate an NHL franchise.

A dozen sections behind one of the goals will be closed off when the Islanders take on the hated New Jersey Devils on Oct. 2, according to a seating chart that shows what hockey might look like in a $1-billion arena that would be the smallest stadium in the National Hockey League and the only arena without wrap-around seating.

Nets spokesman Barry Baum confirmed the seating arrangement, but declined to provide further details.

“We have to see how all the sight lines are and then we’ll move forward,” Baum said.

Arena developer Bruce Ratner has long courted the Islanders. Hockey was originally considered for the arena but the plans were scuttled after Barclays Center’s starchitect Frank Gehry was fired in 2009 and his proposed design was scrapped to cut costs.


Posted by eric at 12:54 PM

Why was Forest City Ratner not touched in the Yonkers case? Law prof suggests prosecutorial discretion regarding a potential conspiracy charge that would've been tough to win

Atlantic Yards Report

Some keeping watch on the recent Yonkers corruption trial, in which former Council Member Sandy Annabi and her political mentor, Zehy Jereis, were convicted, had to wonder why developer Forest City Ratner, the beneficiary of Annabi's vote flip to enable its huge Ridge Hill retail/residential project, went unscathed.

After all, while Annabi got nearly $200,000 from Jereis over eight years, and he got a far smaller sum from the two developers he worked with, Forest City's gain, in exchange for a no-show job it gave Jereis after the vote, was surely far greater.

Annabi's vote unlocked progress on a project on which Forest City had already spent some $70 million. Forest City's potential losses, from delay, from selling Ridge Hill to other investors, or from shrinking the project, could have been huge. And it only cost Forest City a commitment of $60,000 to Jereis, who ultimately was paid only for three months: $15,000.

So, why didn't prosecutors target the biggest beneficiary?


Posted by eric at 12:47 PM

POLL: Should Area Residents Get First Shot at Barclays Tickets?

Would such a perk be a well-deserved reward for dealing with the arena’s inconveniences or an unfair insider benefit?

Prospect Heights Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

When the “early-access” tickets to Barbra Streisand’s “Back to Brooklyn” concert went on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, they were sold out nearly instantly.

An area resident said she and two family members all tried for the coveted seats at exactly 10 a.m. but were told the tickets had already sold out.

She wanted to know exactly how many tickets to Barclays events to were reserved for area residents. The answer? None.

A spokesman for the 18,000-seat Barclays Center said management has never discussed the possibility of reserving seats at big-ticket events for people living near the arena, though he noted that Brooklynites were given the chance to buy general admission Nets tickets on April 30, a day before the general public.

What do you think? Should people living in the 11238 or 11217 zip codes, which covers Prospect Heights, and parts of Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill and Park Slope have the chance to buy tickets to high-demand events before the general public?


NoLandGrab: Considering that people living near the arena aren't going to ever want to put a dime into Bruce Ratner's pocket, does it matter?

Posted by eric at 12:41 PM

Barclays Promises State-of-the-Art Wireless To Meet Fans Expectations

All Brooklyn Nets News

Regular readers of NoLandGrab know we don't normally have much good to say about Bruce Ratner's basketball arena, but here's an exception — they're kindly providing a means for fans to entertain themselves when the Nets are down 30 midway through the third quarter.

To say wireless coverage at NBA arenas is spotty is being kind. They weren’t built for it and the nooks and crannies of such large spaces, filled with thick concrete walls, is not an ideal environment. But Barclays Center was built with wireless in mind and Tuesday, the team announced it’s chosen a company to design, install and operate the arena network.

ExteNet Systems of Illinois will set up a a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network in the newly constructed arena that will meet “rising expectations in fan demand”, says the company.


Posted by eric at 12:36 PM

Barclays Center Signage Now Underground


There goes the neighborhood.

A reader sent in the photo above, as well as the following note: “I noticed this on my commute in this morning — It looks as if some of the new “Barclays Center” signs are up and uncovered — at least at the far end of the Q/B platform at Atlantic Avenue (or I guess I should say Atlantic Ave / Barclays Center). It looks as if the signs are up for the length of the platform, but the rest are covered.”


Posted by eric at 12:31 PM


The Lafayette Gardens

Justice at Atlantic Yards! Justice for Brooklyn!
Join residents, clergy, community leaders and elected officials for a rally to demand the promised housing, jobs and stronger oversight.
June 10, 2012, 3pm - c/o Atlantic & South Portland Aves.


Posted by eric at 12:26 PM

NBA Mock Draft 2012: Our Dark Basketball Overlords

The Basketball Gods are not nearly as benevolent as you think. If they get their way, the NBA Draft will look a lot like this.

by Tom Ziller

SBNation speculates about how the NBA draft could shape up if the cruel basketball gods have their way — or if David Stern & Co. rig the draft so the #1 pick goes to their brand-new Brooklyn franchise.

Think of The Basketball Gods as cruel pranksters, mischievous dalliers who seek to inflict pain on the unholy and maximize schadenfreude in the execution. (Basically, think of them as the actual Greek and Norse gods you learned about in middle school.) What tricks will they have in store for us in 2012? Let's make some predictions. Let's mock.

Note: this is not the actual draft order, only the most cruel but legitimately possible draft order according to my assessment.


Why would The Basketball Gods give Brooklyn the No. 1 pick?

  1. The Basketball Gods have abandoned Portland, who gets this pick if it's not top three.
  2. Bruce Ratner leveraged this team to gentrify/destroy a neighborhood, basically. Mad black hat swag.
  3. Jay-Z not only has sway over young players, but holy spirits. Game recognize game.
  4. Mikhail Prokhorov. See Bullet No. 3.


Posted by eric at 12:17 PM

May 15, 2012

The "moral limits of markets" and the Atlantic Yards impact: naming rights, sponsorships, and visas for sale

Atlantic Yards Report

Yes, the luxury suites and sponsorships needed to pay for the enormously expensive Barclays Center are part of a questionable trend. So is the credit to the Barclays Nets Community Alliance for playgrounds it has helped refurbished. And so is the green-cards-for-jobs scheme used to save Atlantic Yards developer tens of millions of dollars.

In case you missed it, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Sunday wrote This Column Is Not Sponsored by Anyone, taking off from Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel’s new book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. (Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic).

Sandel might be thought of as the anti-Brett Yormark, as the Nets/Barclays Center CEO has tried to monetize nearly everything to do with the team/arena, and, in the wake of experience finding sponsors for soccer jerseys and NASCAR gear, is ready to sell sponsorship space on NBA uniforms.

He told Sports Business Daily, "You can monetize this in ways you can’t monetize any other kind of marketing inventory." Indeed. Because the arena and team are, in the words of developer Bruce Ratner, a "civic" endeavor.


Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

MTA updates subway maps to include Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Blog [NYPost.com]
by Rich Calder

Next stop, Barclays Center!

The MTA has quietly updated subway maps on its Web site by slapping the name of the Brooklyn Nets’ new arena onto all listings for the busy Atlantic Avenue stop.

The transit hub — which connects to the under-construction arena set to open in September and serves nine subway lines plus the LIRR — was revised online to “Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center” as part of the agency’s first naming-rights deal approved in 2009.

Printed subway maps and station signage won’t be updated until the summer, said officials yesterday.

Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner has agreed to pay the MTA $200,000 over 20 years for the name change.


Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Sloppy! MTA updates subway maps to include Barclays Center--and excises Pacific Street

Well, the MTA was a wee bit sloppy. After all, the subway hub is known as Atlantic Av/Pacific St. The entrance to the N/R/D lines running along Fourth Avenue originally had both names, as indicated in the screenshot from a May 2011 map, below.

By that logic, the station along those lines should be renamed Pacific St-Barclays Ctr, not Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr. Was the MTA so concerned about getting the arena mentioned that they'd mislead straphangers?

Brownstoner, Barclays Center Makes it to the Map

Posted by eric at 11:08 AM

THIS JUST IN: Big Barclays Transportation Meeting Next Week

The Local

Set your calendar for the most important meeting of the spring: Tuesday’s release of the transportation mitigation plan for the 18,000-seat Barclays Center.

Community members have been long awaiting this plan, which was supposed to have been revealed in December. The delay has frayed nerves for residents of the low-rise, residential communities around the basketball arena and proposed 16-tower development.

Transportation Demand Management Plan hearing at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street between Adams and Court Streets in Downtown, (718) 596-5410, May 22, 6 p.m. For info, contact Arana Hankin, director of the Atlantic Yards project for the Empire State Development Corporation, at AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.


Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

May 14, 2012

Sleep tight: Railyard lights to be on all night to rush completion of delayed Carlton Avenue Bridge

Atlantic Yards Report

Ratner (and ESDC) to residents near Atlantic Yards site: "F**k you!"

Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, today issued a Supplemental Report to its regular two-week Construction Updates.

The gist: floodlights at the Vanderbilt Yard that are supposed* to be off by 3 am may be on all night during the next two week period, in mid-June, and possibly through the end of June. That means residents nearby to ensure they have very thorough coverage blocking their windows.

Why'd I add the asterisk? Because residents have already reported, via Atlantic Yards Watch, that those operating the lights do not necessarily follow the stated plan.

The reason? Developer Forest City Ratner is rushing to achieve "timely completion" of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, indicated in the announcement by the rather cryptic initials CAB.

What's missing? That the current schedule for the bridge indicates completion in the week after the arena opens, though the reconstruction of the bridge is an "arena opening condition," and the state has asked Forest City Ratner to draw up mitigation plans in case the arena opens September 28 without having the bridge open. The bridge is a major artery between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.


Posted by eric at 5:05 PM

Will the TDM plan be only a half a plan?

Atlantic Yards Watch

Community groups learned from Empire State Development Corporation CEO Kenneth Adams on May 2 that less than half of the 1,100 parking spaces required for arena patrons in ESDC’s 2006 and 2009 development agreements with Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) would be available at the opening of Barclays Center. FCRC and ESDC appear to believe their Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan will be effective enough to revise expected demand for arena patron parking on-site down by 50%.

Robust TDM plans include both incentives and disincentives to discourage driving and parking. We’ll know more about the TDM plan for Barclays Center on May 22 when FCRC, its transportation consultant, NYCTA and LIRR present it. But the details of the TDM plan in the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments include only incentives, and the draft scope of the TDM plan FCRC’s consultant presented to community groups in January did not include some effective disincentives.

Barclays Center still appears to guarantee reserved parking to all suite-holders. Its web site includes the following information on its FAQ page:


Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, About that Transportation Demand Management plan: where will the suiteholders go? Where are the disincentives to drive (as opposed to incentives for public transit)?

After Empire State Development announced that the Block 1129 parking lot would be cut at least in half from 1100 spaces, I asked the agency's Arana Hankin what would happened to the 600 spaces promised (in the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments) for HOV (high-occupancy vehicles) at the Project site.

I got no answer.

Similarly, there's been no public statement about where the suiteholders will park. Have they all be moved to the Atlantic Center/Terminal parking that is closer to the arena?

As noted today on Atlantic Yards Watch, the suites and boxes can hold 1,179 people. In Will the TDM plan be only a half a plan?, Tom Boast points out that Forest City Ratner "has committed to demand management incentives like remote parking lots and free round trip subway fare for Nets games."

What it hasn't committed to are disincentives:
--parking management, via residential parking permits, as in the areas around baseball stadiums in Chicago and Washington, DC
--a parking surcharge, as in the area around the Prudential Center in Newark

Posted by eric at 4:55 PM

More than 1,000 Brooklynites call on Governor Cuomo and the State Liquor Authority to end liquor sales at Barclays Center by 10:00 PM

Local elected officials join call for policies to limit impact of arena crowds on residential neighborhoods


The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors announced today that more than 1,000 Brooklynites have signed an online petition calling on the State to limit the hours of liquor sales at the Barclays Center arena, with a final cut-off time of 10:00 PM. The petition was first posted on BrooklynSpeaks’ web site on Monday, May 7.

“The response to BrooklynSpeaks’ petition says volumes about public concern for safety and neighborhood quality of life following the opening of the Barclays Center,” said Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of the 52nd Assembly District. “The arena operators and concessionaires have an obligation to do what is reasonable and responsible to ensure that crowds leaving events late in the evening don’t disrupt residential life.”

Said City Council Member Stephen Levin, whose district includes the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill and Park Slope adjacent to the arena, “Residents don’t understand why Barclays should be reluctant to accept a 10:00 PM limit on liquor sales, when the same concession operator has a 9:30 PM curfew at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Barclays has a responsibility to ensure that rowdy crowds will not be spilling into our residential communities late at night, causing problems for the families who live here.”

“The only reason Barclays Center is being built at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues is because the State allowed overrides of City zoning regulations that would have prevented an arena being sited next to homes,” said Council Member Letitia James, who represents the adjoining neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Fort Greene. “We now need the Governor and the State Liquor Authority to ensure we don’t end up with an all-night bar, too.”


Posted by eric at 4:48 PM

Crime Report: Thief Crashes Big Steiner Celeb Bash

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

After a rare off-week, Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Center mall reappears on the crime blotter — along with its crime-ridden sister-mall.

It was a different sort of week for the cops in the 88th Precinct, with a rare crime inside the Steiner Studios film center and lots of good collars. Of course, there was more crime in the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls, and some car thefts and burglaries.

More Mall Rats

A thief stole a wallet from a shopper inside the crime-riddled Target department store in the Atlantic Terminal Mall on May 8.

The victim told cops that she had been shopping inside the store at around 6:20 p.m. when a pickpocket swiped the wallet — and with it various credit cards.

The thief tried to use the credit cards at a nearby Applebee’s and in a Metrocard machine, but failed. But the villain was more successful at the Macy’s on Fulton Street, where he or she rang up more than $1,000 in purchases, cops said.

Bathroom Break

A thief waited until an Atlantic Center Mall customer was in the bathroom before he or she stole an iPhone and wallet from the shopper’s baby stroller on May 10.

The victim told cops that she was stopping at the crime-addled mall on Atlantic Avenue at around 4:30 p.m. when she needed some restroom relief. After conducting her business, she returned to the hallway to discover that someone had taken her phone and wallet.


Posted by eric at 4:42 PM

State seeks to reverse Atlantic Yards decision

The Empire State Development Corp. insists that its earlier approval of the $5 billion project was not illegal, as it had examined the impacts of delays in construction as required.

Crain's NY Business
by Theresa Agovino

The Empire State Development Corp. filed a request on Friday to appeal an earlier court ruling which said that the agency illegally approved changes to Forest City Ratner's massive Atlantic Yards project in 2009 by failing to examine how the long-term construction would affect the neighborhood.

The agency must get permission to appeal because last month's decision by the Appellate Division of New York state was unanimous in affirming a July 2011 lower court ruling. That earlier ruling said that the Empire State Development Corp. violated the law by not conducting another environmental study of the $5 billion project when the plan was modified in 2009.

However, the project’s opponents believe that there is a very slim chance that the ESDC will be allowed to appeal because two courts found it acted illegally.

“We are disappointed in ESDC’s decision to bring an appeal instead of working with the community to make the project better and just do the environmental impact study,” said Jeffrey Baker, a partner at the law firm of Young Sommer, which is representing Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, a group opposed to the project. “The appeal is a waste of resources.”


Posted by eric at 4:36 PM

"Brooklyn native" Jimmy Kimmel to broadcast from Brooklyn, to coincide with NBA season

Atlantic Yards Report

"Late-night comedian and Brooklyn native Jimmy Kimmel is taking his show on the road to broadcast from his home borough this fall," reported the Daily News today.

"Jimmy Kimmel is heading home," said the Hollywood Reporter.

The Brooklyn Paper did a whole Q&A, far more space than it devoted to the documentary film Battle for Brooklyn.

Well, Kimmel's family moved from Mill Basin to Las Vegas when he was nine. But just like announcer David Diamante, who moved to Brooklyn at age 30, is described as a fifth-generation Brooklynite, so too can Kimmel be claimed.


Posted by eric at 4:29 PM

ESDC files request to appeal decision ordering new environmental review, says “shadow of uncertainty" shrouds project's Phase 2

Atlantic Yards Report

Some people monoliths don't know when to quit.

Yes, Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, is not accepting defeat. It is seeking to appeal a unanimous loss last month in the Appellate Division, which upheld a lower court's requirement that a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) be conducted to examine the impacts of a 25-year project buildout.

The effort may seem like a long shot, but state Court of Appeals has proven friendly to Atlantic Yards before--remember the November 2009 eminent domain decision. It must first agree to accept the appeal. The key part of the ESD's motion:

The Appellate Division's order requiring that a SEIS be prepared to study the impacts of a delay in the Project's construction schedule is an unprecedented expansion of SEQRA [State Environmental Quality Review Act] that would interfere not only with progress being made on the Atlantic Yards Project, but with the progress of other large-scale projects that are subject to delays due to adverse economic conditions or other circumstances.

"Shadow of uncertainty"

I'll have more once I see Forest City Ratner's expected companion motion, and the petitioners' response. But the ESD contends that the court decision "casts a shadow of uncertainty on Phase II of the Project," a shadow elongated by the preparation of the SEIS and the inevitable legal challenges it will prompt.


NoLandGrab: Any "shadow of uncertainty" has much more to do with the giant overreach of the Atlantic Yards project, and the shakiness of its developer's financial wherewithal, than with the state's court-ordered requirement to produce another sham environmental impact statement.

Posted by eric at 11:32 AM

Public meeting May 22 on Transportation Demand Management plan for Barclays Center

Atlantic Yards Report

As previously reported, there will be a public meeting on May 22 at Brooklyn Borough Hall to hear presentations on the Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan, aimed to reduce driving to the arena.

The plan is about six months late, presenting a schedule that concerned elected officials, like Council Member Steve Levin, say is too tight. The plan will first be unveiled publicly that morning, at a bi-monthly meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, scheduled for 9:30 am at Borough Hall.

Representatives of developer Forest City Ratner, namely consultant Sam Schwartz, will make a presentation, and representatives of the MTA and LIRR, though not on the notice below, were said by state officials to be presenting.

The meeting is sponsored by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, in association with Brooklyn Community Boards 2, 6, & 8.

Community residents will have 30 days to file comments, after which state officials promise a response in 30 days.


Posted by eric at 11:27 AM

What Time Should Barclays Stop Serving Alcohol?

Is a 2 a.m. last call too late for the 18,000-seat arena? Is a 10 p.m. cutoff time too early?

Park Slope Patch
by Will Yakowicz and Amy Sara Clark

The answer to this question may help keep the surrounding neighborhoods more quiet: At what time should the Barclays Center stop serving alcohol?

Last week, Community Board 6 voted to recommend an absolute cut-off time for all alcohol sales at 2 a.m. during all events at the arena.

However the recommendation, which will go to the New York State Liquor Authority, came with two conditions that follow the policy already in place for the 40 NBA games:

  • During all NBA games no alcohol can be sold after the third quarter.
  • All alcohol sales cease an hour before the end of any other event.

But, BrooklynSpeaks , a coalition of civic organizations surrounding the arena, has a petition that requests all alcoholic beverage sales be cut off at 10 p.m. at the absolute latest in all areas of the arena, reflecting area residents' fear of drunk pedestrians and drivers flooding the streets after the 180 non-NBA events expected next year.

In addition, there are four clubs in the buiding that could be open until 4 a.m. additional nights, and still be working within the state's legal time frame to sell booze.

That said, what time do you think Barclays should be required to stop serving alcohol?


Posted by eric at 11:21 AM

N.Y. arena subsidized

Edmonton Journal, Letters to the Editor

Some guy wrote a letter to the Edmonton Journal to correct some misperceptions in a letter the paper published last week.

Re: "Two cities, two arenas," by M.L. Clark, Letters, May 11.

M.L. Clark is grossly misinformed in writing that "another, presumably successful funding model appears to be in the works using American ingenuity and entrepreneurship" for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

In reality, developer Bruce Ratner is receiving at least $726 million in taxpayer subsidies, according to a report issued by New York City's Independent Budget Office in 2009 (ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/AtlanticYards091009.pdf).

However unwise the City of Edmonton's proposed subsidy package for a new arena may be, it surely pales beside the pork being larded on Ratner.

If Edmonton taxpayers are looking for a smarter, fairer way to fund a new arena, they most assuredly won't find it in Brooklyn.

Eric McClure, Brooklyn, N.Y.


Posted by eric at 11:09 AM

'Jimmy Kimmel Live' to Broadcast from Host's Native Brooklyn in October

The comedian will tape a week's worth of shows beginning Oct. 29, pegged to the inaugural season of the New York City borough's Nets pro basketball team.

The Hollywood Reporter
by Lacey Rose

Et tu, Jimmy Kimmel?

Jimmy Kimmel is heading home.

ABC’s late night host announced on Live! with Kelly Monday that he’ll be uprooting Jimmy Kimmel Live to his native Brooklyn for a week of shows beginning Oct. 29. The move is set to coincide with the inaugural season of the newly minted Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, with Kimmel broadcasting from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).


Posted by eric at 11:05 AM


F***ed in Park Slope

Sometimes I sit at home and wonder to myself, Are Park Slopers still angry about the Barclays Center? After Barbra Streisand recently ANNOUNCED HER PLANS TO HAVE A CONCERT THERE, I figured we'd all moved past our qualms to just simply bask in the joy -- the pride of Brooklyn is coming home! (not a Babs fan? Shame on you.) Turns out we're not so joyful.


Posted by eric at 11:00 AM

May 13, 2012

Kemistry update: more pols, CB6 pile on opposition; owner vows to move forward with some level of compromise

Atlantic Yards Report

Park Slope Patch has an update on the planned Kemistry Lounge, a "club" (at least in neighbors' eyes) with bottle service on Flatbush Avenue near the Barclays Center.

Not only has Assemblywoman Joan Millman sent a letter to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) opposing a liquor license for the establishment, so too have Council Member Steve Levin and state Senator Velmanette Montgomery. And the full Community Board 6 has backed the opposition stated by its permits and licenses committee.

The sticking points include hours of operation, bottle service, and the nature of the back entrance on residential Prospect Place. Co-owner James Brown told Patch he'd compromise in part on hours and the entrance, but there was no word on bottle service, which neighbors fear would fuel unruly behavior.


Posted by steve at 9:57 PM

Looking beyond the NYU deal: the failure to plan

Atlantic Yards Report

This is late of course, but the 4/9/12 comment on New York University's expansion plan by GlobeSt.com's Jacqueline Hlavenka, IN THE KNOW: What NYC Needs to Do About NYU 2031, contains some larger lessons:

Whether you agree or disagree with the project, there’s one huge flaw that sticks out in the city’s overall planning process here. For all its proposals, studies, special zoning districts and other tools available to the public, the New York City Department of Planning has no institutional master plan in place, as thoughtfully pointed out by Gary Hack, professor of urban design and former dean of PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design at the Municipal Art Society’s recent debate about the project.
..I am not for or against the project in either way. NYU, a strong economic contributor to the Village economy and one of the city’s top employers, has a need to compete on a international level with other universities in the wake of global competition. The West Village, on the other hand, is one of the city’s most cherished historic neighborhoods that should be protected and valued for generations to come. Striking a deal between these two has – and always has been – a delicate balancing act.

What's missing

Compromise, the author suggests, would be a challenge. (Borough President Scott Stringer ultimately managed, to the frustration of those organizing against the plan.) But the author quotes a veteran of the Atlantic Yards battle and a former City Planning Commissioner:

But as Ronald Shiffman, a professor at Pratt’s Graduate Center for Planning, so eloquently put it, “it is important that we look at this in its full-dimension rather than just a real estate deal.”

That was true with Atlantic Yards, and it's true today.


Posted by steve at 9:55 PM

May 12, 2012

Inconclusive court argument over lawsuit against BUILD/Forest City: can case proceed with claims against deep-pocketed developer regarding promise of union cards and union jobs?

Atlantic Yards Report

In the annals of Atlantic Yards battles, the half-hour argument in Brooklyn federal court yesterday was relatively undramatic. It concerned the lawsuit filed by seven (of 36) participants in a pre-apprenticeship training (PATP) program run by Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signatory BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) .

Nor was it conclusive, as U.S. District Judge John Gleeson gave no indication of where he was leaning on the motion to dismiss most but not all of the multiple charges, nor when he'd rule. Nor did the audience include any of the plaintiffs, who charged they were promised union cards and jobs at the Atlantic Yards site after entering the coveted program, or any of the defendants.

But the legal jousting concerned a significant issue: if the case stands as filed, it will concern damages that represent lost earnings from a union career, and paid potentially by deep-pocketed Forest City Ratner and two of its executives. And it will concern one of the big public promises behind Atlantic Yards, that the CBA would bring significant benefits to at least some people in the "community."

If the motion to dismiss is successful, the case will be reduced to an argument about smaller sums that represent unpaid wages from the training program, paid by less-established defendants BUILD and Orbin's Green Machine, the firm that conducted the training at a Staten Island site, and their officials.


Posted by steve at 5:48 PM

New Construction Alert: three parking spaces on Dean Street lost as of May 14

Atlantic Yards Report

An announcement from Empire State Development indicates a change along Dean Street is coming on Monday:

Approximately three (3) parking spaces along Dean Street directly across from the gate at Dean and 6th Avenue will be taken for construction purposes, effective Monday, May 14, 2012. This became necessary after the construction fence and gate located in this area were relocated to outside the curb line to allow for the installation of the new curb, sidewalk and bollards. The removal of the spaces is necessary in order to maintain the turning radius for truck deliveries into and out of this gate. At completion a new fence will be installed in board of the new curb. It is anticipated that this condition will be in place for two months during which time all work will be completed, weather permitting and barring any unforeseen conditions.

(I'm not quite sure what "in board of the new curb" means, nor exactly where the spaces are. How about a map?)


Posted by steve at 5:46 PM

May 11, 2012

Ratner on Bloomberg TV: first tower "definitely" will start this year; controversy was "more than I expected"

Atlantic Yards Report

On Bloomberg TV's "In the Loop," jolly Bruce Ratner met friendly anchor Betty Liu, fresh from her hard-hitting interview last September.

The one piece of news? When Liu said the modular housing tower has "sort of become a moving target," Ratner responded, "It's not been a moving target because of financing," but didn't quite explain the delay.

He said the modular plan was "important in terms of cost, in terms of environment" and said "we've had tremendous success on" agreements with unions to build a modular union factory. But he didn't say whether, for example, the city Department of Buildings or any other agency has caused roadblocks.

When will the building start? "By the end of the end the year we'll be starting," Ratner said. "Definitely by the end of the year."

Liu didn't point out that, in the interview last September, Ratner said the building would start at the end of 2011 "or at the beginning of next year." Or that, at a press conference last month with Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Ratner said it could start in the beginning of 2013.


NoLandGrab: Fortunately, no video has been posted — yet.

Posted by eric at 12:33 PM

Has BUILD done more for job-seekers, or Forest City? Barclays Center jobs, like those at Atlantic Terminal mall, to be filled via city workforce center

Atlantic Yards Report

Last month, when Mayor Mike Bloomberg joined his friend and neighbor Bruce Ratner at the in-construction Barclays Center to announce a plan for 2,000 jobs at the arena--1240 FTE, or 1,901 part-time--there was an important subtext: however useful Forest City Ratner's (paid) Community Benefit Agreement job-training partner has been, a city agency is in charge of hiring.

Sure, Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD) has a role--along with other agencies, from NYCHA to community boards--in spreading the word to job-seekers. Indeed, BUILD has collected some 7,000 resumes, offering some version of job help. And BUILD has led unpaid customer service training programs to prepare 100 people to apply for such arena jobs.

But New York City's Workforce1 service will be responsible for hiring. And, as noted below, when the Atlantic Terminal mall opened in 2004, the same city agency did the job, without the help of BUILD.

That raises the question: has BUILD been more helpful to job-seekers, or to Forest City Ratner, for whom it has supplied regular public support?


Posted by eric at 12:20 PM

A caution on the Gridlock Sam admiration society: the consultant still has to satisfy his clients; he and his client already have failed to deliver the transportation demand management plan promised for December

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York Observer's Matt Chaban this week penned an interesting and admiring portrait of former government official, consultant, and all-around New Yorker "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, headlined May the Schwartz Be With You: Gridlock Sam Wants to Turn New York Traffic On Its Head—the Same Thing He’s Done for 40 Years.

Schwartz deserves attention for his not-quite-congestion-pricing plan, which would toll East River bridges, improve highways, add pedestrian bridges, and generally try to treat New Yorkers equitably while removing glaring inequities and their inevitable consequences.

However, unmentioned, Schwartz has no small seduction left for Brooklyn. On May 22, he and his colleagues will unveil--six months late--the long-promised Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management plan.

The general contours of the plan have been well-known, the details not so much. Only this month did we learn that there would be fewer than 550 surface parking spaces on Block 1129, the southeast block of the project site, but we don't know where, if at all, the spaces previously designated for HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) and suiteholder parking would go.

Yes, Schwartz is an able presenter. But he's already sacrificed some credibility. As I wrote 5/5/12, Schwartz, during a 6/4/11 Q&A (video) at a forum on Atlantic Yards traffic changes/mitigations, answered a question about bike parking by saying, "That's over the next six months when we come back to you figuring out how we're going to get people out of their cars."

At that point, the TDM plan was due in December 2011. They didn't "come back to you." The plan was delayed multiple times, for reasons obscure. Did Schwartz really underestimate the schedule by six months? Or was he hampered by his client?

The upshot is that, four months before the arena opens, there will be 30 days for public comment. That's too little time, as Council Member Steve Levin has observed, for public input.


Posted by eric at 12:03 PM

Two cities, two arenas

Edmonton Journal, Letters to the Editor

Ha! "M.L. Clark" must be a nom de plume for B.C. Ratner, since Mr. Ratner's [Charles?] "Barkley Center" is being subsidized to the tune of $726 million — at least.

Re: "Isles could be rolling into new Brooklyn arena," the Journal, May 1.

Help me understand why the City of Edmonton is contemplating funding a disproportionately large portion of the Daryl Katz boondoggle with taxpayers' money when another, presumably successful, funding model appears to be in the works using American ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

If by "American ingenuity and entrepreneurship" M.L. Clark means "backroom-dealing and subsidy-plundering, with some eminent-domain-abusing tossed in," then yes, American ingenuity and entrepreneurship are alive and well in Brooklyn.

The New York Islanders could be moving into Brooklyn's new state-of-the-art Barkley Center, owned and developed by Bruce Ratner, after Nassau County residents voted down a proposal that would earmark $400 million in public funds for building a new Nassau Coliseum.

Perhaps Katz and Mayor Stephen Mandel should have sought advice from Ratner rather than National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman on their recent trip to the Big Apple.


NoLandGrab: Seeking advice from Bruce Ratner on protecting taxpayers' money from boondoggles is like asking Willie Sutton to guard your bank vault. Mr. Sutton, of course, was ultimately apprehended a stone's throw from the site of Mr. Ratner's biggest score.

Posted by eric at 11:42 AM

May 10, 2012

Gehry Spire Stake on Block

The Wall Street Journal
by Laura Kusisto

Savvy sale — or strapped for cash?

As apartment rents in Manhattan hit new highs, the owners of New York by Gehry, the city's tallest rental building, are looking to cash in by putting a stake in the tower up for sale.

A venture led by Forest City Ratner Cos., which developed the Frank Gehry-designed silver spiral in lower Manhattan, is seeking to sell as much as a 49% interest in a deal that is expected to value the 76-story building at more than $1 billion.

Forest City and its partner in the tower, National Electrical Benefit Fund, are looking to take advantage of the high demand among investors for New York City apartment buildings, which have been steadily increasing rents despite the shaky economy. Dallas-based Invesco Real Estate, for example, recently closed on a nearly $60 million purchase of the Arias in Park Slope, which was built as condos and converted to rentals.

Some in the industry, though, believe the rental market has peaked as renters are fed up with rising prices and may turn to buying. Thousands of new rental units are also in development, adding more competition to the market.


Photo: Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

Posted by eric at 11:04 PM

Where were promised union jobs, and wages for training program? Lawsuit by trainees against BUILD, Forest City faces key court argument tomorrow; defendants ask judge to dismiss most but not all claims

Atlantic Yards Report

Amid the Barbra Streisand hoopla, Atlantic Yards controversy persists.

The federal lawsuit filed last November against Forest City Ratner and job-training group BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) faces a crucial hearing Friday, May 11, as a federal court will hear arguments on the defendants' motions to get most but not all of the charges dismissed.

Seven (of 36) people who went through a highly-competitive pre-apprenticeship training program (PATP) enumerated in the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), sued BUILD, Forest City, and individual executives, as well as the company that BUILD found to provide unpaid training for them.

The plaintiffs, who sued on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, seek to recover not only unpaid wages but also to recover damages based on what they call broken promises that led them to participate in a "sham employment training program."

Whatever the result of the motions, some version of the case will persist. If the motions are unsuccessful, the court argument will ultimately concern damages that represent lost earnings from a union career, and paid potentially by deep-pocketed corporate defendants.

If successful, the motions will reduce the case to an argument about smaller sums that represent unpaid wages from the training program, paid by less-established defendants. Note that a motion to dismiss must treat allegations as true, but argue that, as a matter of law, they are not valid.

The hearing will be at 11:30 am in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Courtroom 6C South, Brooklyn, before Judge John Gleeson.


Posted by eric at 1:05 PM

Glendale's Public Hockey Project

The Cash-Strapped Arizona City Loses $12.9 Million a Year Supporting the NHL's Coyotes

The Wall Street Journal
by Brad Parks

And if neither the drunks nor the thugs get you, the never-ending debt payments just might.

On Monday, the Phoenix Coyotes advanced to the NHL's Western Conference finals for the first time since moving to the desert in 1996.

But here in Glendale, the Phoenix suburb where the Coyotes play, not everyone is cheering. "If you need a poster boy for how to pour your whole budget down the drain of professional sports, Glendale is the place," says Glendale resident Ken Jones, a retired construction superintendent, who calls the team a financial albatross.

The city is obligated to make debt payments on the arena that average $12.6 million a year. To keep the team afloat, moreover, the city has been paying a so-called "arena management fee" of nearly $25 million a year to the NHL, which three years ago bought the Coyotes out of bankruptcy.

The NHL has announced a tentative sale to a group headed by former San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison, under terms that would essentially institutionalize Glendale's commitments. Under the proposal that the NHL has laid out for city council members, the city would continue paying an arena-management fee that would average about $14.5 million a year.

On top of the city's average $12.6 million in debt service, that amounts to annual expenses of about $27.1 million—to be offset by anticipated Coyotes-related revenue of $14.2 million, according to projections by Glendale's city management department. That adds up to a projected annual loss for Glendale of $12.9 million.

By the time the new ownership deal ran its course in 2033, Glendale would have paid $271 million—nearly $1,200 for each of its 226,721 citizens—to keep the team.

These expenses outweigh Glendale's Coyotes-related revenue by such a degree that Moody's has downgraded the city's bond rating twice in the last 18 months, citing the city's ongoing hockey payments. In part due to the Coyotes, the city's reserve fund has fallen to $11.7 million from $72.5 million six years ago. Facing a projected $35 million budget gap—in a city whose general revenue funds in the most recent fiscal year amounted to $142.6 million—Glendale is proposing to raise its property and sales tax rates, while slashing library hours and hiking fees for city services.


NoLandGrab: "Jobs, Housing & Hoops?" More like Drunks, Thugs and Debt.

Posted by eric at 12:57 PM

3 arrests made in connection with beatings, robberies following Prudential Center concert

The Star-Ledger
by James Queally

If the drunks leaving the arena after their 2 a.m. alcohol cut-off don't cause problems, the "gangs of thugs" assaulting them just might.

City Police have captured three of the teenagers involved in a rash of beatings and robberies outside the Prudential Center after a sold-out rock concert on Saturday, authorities said.

Two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old, whose identities were withheld because of their age, were arrested Wednesday and charged with rioting, aggravated assault, conspiracy and robbery in connection with a series of brutal attacks that left one victim with a shattered eye socket and another unconscious, according to police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Glover.

The trio was part of a larger group of teens involved in the brutal assault and robbery of five people as they left a sold-out Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert in Newark Saturday night, police officials have said. One victim was left with a shattered eye socket, and another was beaten unconscious in front of his 14-year-old son, according to police reports. Two Livingston teens were also hurt, and one suffered at least four fractures to his face, according to one of the victim's fathers.


Posted by eric at 12:49 PM

Community Board 6 votes to support liquor license with 2 am cutoff, far from BrooklynSpeaks' request of 10 pm

Atlantic Yards Report

In a very modest nod toward recognition of some neighbors' concerns, the full Community Board 6 last night voted to approve a liquor license for the Barclays Center with cut off of sales by 2 am, after the third quarter of NBA games, and one hour before the end of other events, whichever comes first, as noted by Patch.

Arena officials had previously said they planned to follow the NBA policy of a third-quarter cutoff, and to end sales one hour before events conclude. The law typically allows sales until 4 am. In this case, the 2 am cutoff would go into effect only for events that lasted past 3 am, surely an unusual occurrence.

Request for earlier cutoff

BrooklynSpeaks and other groups have requested a 10 pm cutoff, noting the 9:30 pm example set by Wrigley Field in Chicago--nestled completely in a residential neighborhood, even more so than the Barclays Center.

However, proposals to pass a cutoff of 10 pm or even midnight did not pass the board, whose committee last month did not address a cutoff time. The board's vote is only advisory; the decision will be made by the State Liquor Authority.

"It's good to see the board stipulate a cut off time for non-NBA events, but the late limit of 2 am is a blow to residents of Dean Street and other blocks near the arena," Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, said last night. "As of tonight, more than 900 people have signed BrooklynSpeaks' online petition calling for a 10 pm limit, clearly more appropriate for a residential neighborhood."


Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, CB6 Approves 2 A.M. Last Call for Alcohol Sales at Barclays Center

Nica Lalli, a member of CB6 and Park Slope resident said that it is the board’s responsibility to vote on restrictions on how long the Barclays Center should sell alcohol.

“If this is an opportunity to stipulate hours, I think we should take that opportunity,” Lalli said, explaining that the board recommends hours and regulations for every bar and establishment that stands before them to apply for a liquor license.

Before the vote, Richard Bashner, another member, said that he was “troubled” by the “absence of restrictions” Levy Restaurants would have if the board did not vote on a recommendation.

Bashner, along with Lalli, suggested that alcohol should stop being sold at half time during NBA games, 45 minutes before the end of any other event and a hard cutoff time of 10 p.m., whichever came first.

Park Slope Patch, Brooklyn Speaks Circulates Petition on Barclays Liquor License

“Wrigley Field has a 9:30 p.m. cutoff during night games,” [Brooklyn Speaks's Gib] Veconi said, explaining that Levy Restaurants also runs the food and beverage program at the Chicago-based stadium. “I don’t think the people in Brooklyn deserve less respect than people in Chicago.”

Posted by eric at 12:37 PM

Building Blocks: South Oxford Street

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern

Today, we begin a new column, Building Blocks, which will profile the men and women behind the best streets in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. For the debut, The Local spoke with Abby Weissman, president of the South Oxford Street Block Association, which oversees the block between Fulton Street and DeKalb Avenue, and a resident of Fort Greene for 14 years.

How did you originally get involved with neighborhood activism?

When my wife and I first moved in, we met all of the people on the block and that was the organization. Althea Buchanan, the woman who was the president before me, died, and a lot of things came up that somebody had to take care of, notably the tree guard project and the fight against Atlantic Yards. I became the lead organizer. There was nobody else who was willing or who had the time.

What are some concerns you have for the neighborhood?

I’m wary about Atlantic Yards and all the bars opening. The neighborhood is becoming like Williamsburg, like a party zone. When the arena opens, who knows what’s going to happen? Thankfully, we’re on the other side of Atlantic Avenue, but there’s still going to be a big quality-of-life impact here.


Posted by eric at 12:29 PM

So complain-y! The Times's Streisand coverage treats "neighborhood critics" as making allegations, not winning a big court case

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York Times, heretofore uninterested in the number of jobs at the Barclays Center arena, goes long in the CityRoom blog and in today's paper with A Daughter of Brooklyn, Now Known as ‘Barbra,’ Will Return to Perform.

This passage gives a nod to larger issues:

Because of Ms. Streisand’s identification with Brooklyn, the Streisand concert is a feather in the cap of the promoters of the arena, which will hold 220 entertainment events a year. Concerts by Jay-Z, Leonard Cohen and Andrea Bocelli are scheduled, as well as the roughly 40 home games of the newly christened Brooklyn Nets basketball team. The developers have been fighting neighborhood critics who say the crowds and traffic will overwhelm quiet small-scale neighborhoods. News of the concert was first mentioned on a blog that tracks the issue, Atlantic Yards Report.

Getting all complain-y

Isn't it unfortunate that developer Forest City Ratner has to be fighting "neighborhood critics," who sound so complain-y. The "he said, she said phrasing" sounds like another example of "the usual tumult," the Times's dismissive August 2009 phrase regarding the public process concerning the re-approval of Atlantic Yards.

The thing is, there's reason to get all complain-y.


Related content...

City Room, A Streisand Encore, 5 Decades Overdue

The concert gets its own creation myth:

Bruce Ratner, the developer of Barclays Center, said that two years ago he received a phone call from Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn’s borough president, urging him to call Martin Erlichman, Ms. Streisand’s longtime manager, about arranging a Brooklyn concert.

“He said, ‘This is possible but I have to discuss it with Barbra,’ ” Mr. Ratner recalled of his conversation with Mr. Erlichman.

Posted by eric at 12:11 PM

Does Barbra Streisand Know How Barclays Arena Came to Be?

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Eminent domain for private gain? Discuss.

So Barbra Streisand is booked at Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov's Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We're supposed to get schpilkas or something?

Here's what's making us verklempt. Barbra, polymath that she is, has previously posted an article on her website which expresses opposition to eminent domain for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would cut across the US. The column her site featured doesn't look kindly on "...the fact that this foreign-owned corporation would use the autocratic power of eminent domain to take land from unwilling sellers along the 2,000 mile route..."

Good on her.

But we wonder, then, how she justifies lending her name and bright shining star power of a rare live show to the early opening days of the House that Eminent Domain Built aka Barclays Center. Is it that she is a liberal do-gooder in the mold of Frank Gehry and Bruce Ratner?


Posted by eric at 12:06 PM

Commercial Observer has some fun with my "defense" of Bruce Ratner

Atlantic Yards Report

Not to get all meta-insider-y or anything, but The New York Observer/Commercial Observer, which devoted one whole paragraph to developer Bruce Ratner in its "Power 100" list, devotes a whole bunch more to the purportedly man-bites-dog phenomenon of my argument that Ratner deserved a somewhat higher rank.

In Ratner’s Drop In Power 100 Too Much: Norman Oder, readers are told of the belief that "this is the first time Mr. Oder has ever defended Forest City Ratner."

For the record, I "defended" Ratner--or, rather, argued for his placement above partner Mikhail Prokhorov--in my comments on the 2011 and 2010 Observer lists. I even disagreed with my placement on the list in 2008.


Related content...

The Commercial Observer, Ratner’s Drop In Power 100 Too Much: Norman Oder

Posted by eric at 11:35 AM

May 9, 2012

The Barbra Streisand announcement, finally; Markowitz, Yormark talk it up on Fox5

Atlantic Yards Report

Well, here's the answer to yesterday's question: as long as the pipeline is delivering bucks to her pocketbook, Babs doesn't seem too concerned that eminent domain was used to build it.

"She's not touring," said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, so this will be one-shot, Streisand's first performance in Brooklyn. He also said Jay-Z will perform five concerts, a number not previously revealed, and will have several "guests."

"I think it was Bruce Ratner's vision, as well as Marty's, to bring Barbra home," Yormark said.

"We never had a venue," said Borough President Marty Markowitz. "We finally have a facility that shows Brooklyn respect."


NoLandGrab: Right, Marty, the Atlantic Yards project has been all about showing Brooklyn respect.

Posted by eric at 1:52 PM

Jay-Z to play five dates, not one, at Barclays Center; will the Carlton Avenue Bridge be open for any of them?

Atlantic Yards Report

On Fox 5 NY this morning, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said Jay-Z, whom we knew was opening the arena on September 28, would play five dates, with special guests.

Those likely aren't consecutive, given that there's an October 2 hockey game scheduled by the New York Islanders. Will the Carlton Avenue Bridge be open for any or all of those dates?


Posted by eric at 1:48 PM

Contradicting state agency, report says Carlton Avenue Bridge would not be finished before arena opens; as Forest City aims for speed-up, agency suggests plan to mitigate likely chaos

Atlantic Yards Report

So, is the Carlton Avenue Bridge on schedule?

Only if the state flunks transparency.

Last week, Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for Empire State Development (ESD), assured those at a community meeting that "I'm more than confident that the bridge will be open before the first public event at the arena." That's a September 28 Jay-Z concert.

However, the regular site observation report issued yesterday by Merritt & Harris, the construction monitor for the arena bonds, predicted that the bridge would be completed five days later, by October 3.

At the meeting May 2, Hankin and agency CEO Kenneth Adams made no mention of that schedule, though it was surely known to them. While the October 3 date was referenced publicly in the report issued yesterday, it comes from a schedule dated March 30.

"The Developer is optimistic they can reduce the completion date by 2 weeks," states the report issued yesterday.

So it's possible the bridge will open on time. But the word "optimistic" indicates less certainty than Hankin's "more than confident" phrasing.


Posted by eric at 1:42 PM

What are the consequences of a change in parking? If we had an SEIS, we'd know.

Atlantic Yards Watch

But how many cars can block 1129 really hold? Documents submitted to the NYC Department of Buildings describe a lot area that is 144,501 square feet. Using a calculation provided by an architect with experience in the design of parking facilities, dividing the available square footage of the lot by 300 square feet per car will provide the approximate number of spaces a parking lot including driveways can fit. 144,501 square feet divided by 300 results in 482 spaces.

However, the area described in the DOB application does not include perimeter plantings. The 2010 Technical Memo describes no less than a four-foot landscaped perimeter around the lot set in from the property line, and although the documents submitted to DOB do not include perimeter landscaping, CEO Adams confirmed some would be implemented. Reduced by 4 feet of perimeter landscaping only, the lot would be 139,493 square feet and fit approximately 465 spaces.

In July of 2011, the New York State Supreme Court found that ESDC's 2009 approval of the MGPP violated State environmental law, and ordered the agency to prepare an SEIS. ESDC and FCRC appealed the ruling, but were denied by a unanimous decision of the Appellate Division in April 2012. ESDC has not yet stated when or if it plans to comply with the court order for an SEIS that is now almost three years late. In the meantime, plans for parking continue to shift, reducing the parking for arena patrons by half with no formal study released to the public of the impact to traffic and on-street parking in local neighborhoods. Nor has it assessed the long term environmental impacts on the community of a lot that does not meet NYC's own guidelines for the landscaping of surface parking lots.


Related coverage...

Prospect Heights Patch, Is Reduced Parking at Barclays a Good or Bad Thing? [POLL]

What do you think? Is reducing the number of parking spaces a good or bad thing?

Posted by eric at 1:34 PM

Observer downgrades Ratner (not completely fairly) from #48 to #72 in "Power 100" list; the fate of modular could change all that

Atlantic Yards Report

Bruce Ratner can't be all that thrilled about his plummet in the latest iteration of the New York Observer's Real Estate Power 100, from last year's #48 to this year's #72.

And, wouldja believe it, I think the Observer went too far. Sure, Ratner deserves a downgrade because of the continued delays in his plan to build the first Atlantic Yards apartment tower. But if Ratner can pull off modular construction, likely only with help from the city and/or state, you can bet he'll jump in next year's list. And he's opening an arena, no small feat.

As for the observation that "the brand, not to mention the family name, has been so blackened in Brooklyn, it will be a wonder if [Ratner] ever builds there again," well, that sounds like the item got outsourced to NoLandGrab, previously un-consulted by the Observer on sunnier Ratner mentions.

I agree the brand has been blackened, including by the loss last month in court on the environmental review case and the pending lawsuit filed against Forest City Ratner and its Community Benefits Agreement partner BUILD, plus the machinations in Yonkers. But I don't think that most elected officials and reporters/editorialists either agree or would say so publicly.

And if Ratner pulls off the modular plan, he sure will be building in Brooklyn again. Perhaps the Observer has some insight on modular snags?

This year's mention

72. Bruce Ratner (48) Chairman and CEO, Forest City Ratner
Mr. Ratner has taken his ball, but he can't go home yet. The Barclays Center will actually open on time this fall, bringing professional sports back to Brooklyn, as well as Jay-Z, but the Cleveland-born developer has still yet to secure financing for the now-well-behind-schedule apartment towers. Those are now planned to be built modular, which has the potential to transform the way the city builds, but most New Yorkers will believe that when they see it. He completed one of the most beautiful buildings on the skyline by the world's most famous architect, with sky-high rents to boot, but the brand, not to mention the family name, has been so blackened in Brooklyn, it will be a wonder if he ever builds there again.


Posted by eric at 1:26 PM

Group Seeks Restrictions for Barclays Center's Liquor License


A neighborhood group wants to limit the hours Brooklyn's Barclays Center can sell alcohol when it opens in September.

"The application by Barclays Center doesn't have any specified cutoff time for liquor sales and that's not typical at a sports facility and certainly not in a residential neighborhood," said Gib Veconi of the group Brooklyn-Speaks.

The arena dos not yet have a liquor license from the New York State Liquor Authority.

Brooklyn-Speaks started an online petition this week asking the state to stop alcohol sales at the arena by 10 p.m.


NoLandGrab: You can sign the petition here.

Posted by eric at 1:20 PM

New real estate firm has nothing to do with Barclays Center — except name

The Brooklyn Paper
by Natalie O'Neill

He’s not Bruce Ratner, but this Prospect Heights real estate player is selling the Barclays Center.

Broker Greg D’avola dubbed his new Bergen Street firm Arena Properties — an Atlantic Yards-influenced name he hopes will help snag customers searching online for land near the soon-to-open basketball arena.

D’avola has no stake in the controversial mega-project, but he claims gaining web traffic from Nets-related Google searches was the main reason he named his three-man residential and commercial enterprise after the arena — a development that has sparked a real estate gold rush and protests from neighbors who say it will harm the community’s quality of life and charming ma-and-pa spirit when it opens this fall.

“I understand a lot of people have bitter taste in their mouth about the arena — but you can’t deny it’s coming,” said D’avola.


Posted by eric at 1:15 PM

Consultant's report: arena still on schedule, but mystery document not yet analyzed and made public

Atlantic Yards Report

According to the latest Site Observation Report, dated 5/1/12 and prepared by construction consultant Merritt & Harris on behalf of the arena bond trustee, Forest City Ratner, and Empire State Development, the Barclays Center arena is on schedule for substantial completion by 9/5/12--a date that was nudged back earlier this year--and a final completion by 6/30/13.

The associated transit connection is 3.5 months late beyond the 4/2/12 schedule,, but given that it doesn't need to open until the arena does, the slippage "will have no impact on the overall project schedule. "The slippage was dubiously attributed to "early delays." There were no such early delays.

Nor, actually, is either schedule completely credible, since, as I've reported, they revised the charts.

Schedule unclear

There's still a mystery. As noted in the screenshot below, the GMP2 [Guaranteed Maximum Price] executed 3/9/12 clarifies any "extension of the construction term" and "establishes the final completion date."

Merritt & Harris is still reviewing it. Note that the GMP2 was supposed to be issued before the end of 2011.


Posted by eric at 1:07 PM

May 8, 2012

From the latest Construction Alert: "loud banging noises" predicted until 1 am over ten days; work to begin on broadcast parking lot, comfort station at Dean Playground

Atlantic Yards Report

The latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 5/7/12 (and embedded below) and released yesterday by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner, contains some warnings to neighbors near the site.

Notably, from 3:30pm – 1:00 am between May 10-20, residents should expect to hear "loud banging noises by dump trucks will occur as they empty their loads of stone in the east yard between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues."

Also, there will be additional demolition on the southeast block of the project site, Block 1129, in preparation for construction on the surface parking lot, which is to start May 15.

New broadcast parking lot, comfort station

A "vacant lot at the northeast corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue that is currently being used as temporary NYPD parking will be improved for use as an at grade broadcast location for the Arena," according to the alert. Of course, the lot was dis-improved by being created out of, in part, two intact houses that were demolished. A Department of Buildings permit is expected within two weeks.


NoLandGrab: As far as we know, those "loud banging noises" have nothing to do with James P. Stuckey.

Posted by eric at 1:14 PM

Why the NBA Loves the Brooklyn Nets (and Why Bruce Ratner's Now Talking Up Hockey)

The Classical
by Norman Oder

Surely Adam Silver, the lean and confident NBA Deputy Commissioner, wasn't the star guest at the Brooklyn Nets' big branding/sporting goods reveal last Monday, held at a Modell's big box store catercorner to the in-construction Barclays Center arena, whose motif might be dubbed "rusting tortoiseshell."

There was developer Bruce Ratner, introduced with imperial genuflection as "a man who has led the renaissance of Brooklyn." There was wind-up booster Marty Markowitz, the man who turned the Brooklyn Borough Presidency into a crusade to restore wholeness to his 12-year-old self, devastated by the Dodgers' departure.

There was goofy giant Brook Lopez, who got to play spokesmodel for the (not quite) Hova-designed Brooklyn Nets ballcap.

And there was Brooklyn Nets/Barclays Center uber-marketer Brett Yormark, the guy who claimed he'd never heard of P.T. Barnum, who finally sounded like he believed what he was saying: "The Brooklyn Nets are finally part of the conversation."

But if Yormark is marketing the heck out of the ineffable authenticity of the borough--"Brooklyn will become a chant," the advertising now claims--Silver surely will compound the relentless commodification.

"Brooklyn is of course a global city," Silver declared, "and in many ways parallels the NBA. Our games are seen in over 215 countries, and televised in 47 languages, plus Brooklynese"--a jocular dig at Markowitz--"so there's a perfect fit between Brooklyn and the NBA."

Well, Silver was exaggerating that list of countries--the league more precisely claims "215 countries and territories"--but make no mistake, the NBA must be salivating over a brand that can sell globally. The (New Jersey) Nets sure didn't.


Posted by eric at 1:06 PM

Welcome to Brookyn’s Barclays Center: (practically) NO PARKING

Meadowlands Matters [NorthJersey.com]
by John Brennan

Sage advice for Jerseyites (and everyone else) from the Bergen Record's sagacious John Brennan.

Good news or bad news?

The word understandably is being welcomed in the neighborhoods surrounding the Nets’ $1 billion arena, as residents fear nightmarish traffic on game nights – which would regularly occur at least twice a week from November until April. The site is the most “urban” in the NBA, in terms of the number of residents who live within a couple of full-court heaves from the arena.

But it’s just another reason for me to push North Jersey Nets fans even harder to give up on the idea of driving to Brooklyn for a game (especially on a weeknight). My compromise idea in the article, since North Jerseyans do love their cars, is to drive to Secaucus Junction and park there. Then take any of numerous trains to New York Penn Station (hey, that’s Madison Square Garden! Too bad the Knicks are always sold out) then the 2 or the 3 subway line to the arena (about a 22-minute ride).

From north and west, Secaucus is about as far as you’ll get with decent hopes of avoiding major traffic on the way.


Posted by eric at 12:50 PM

Teases of a Streisand Return to Brooklyn

City Room
by Andy Newman

Is she or isn't she?

On Monday morning, the blogger Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report posted a screen grab showing the seat map listing.

But by Monday afternoon, Ms. Streisand’s name had been scrubbed from Ticketmaster’s Barclays listings.

And an eerie and oddly constrained silence was upon the lips of those who could speak to the facts.

“We are not confirming this,” said a Barclays spokesman, Barry Baum, when asked if Ms. Streisand was coming.

“I cannot confirm anything, on the record, off the record, between the record,” said Ms. Streisand’s longtime spokesman, Ken Sunshine.


NoLandGrab: Might Ms. Streisand have learned of the unseemly means by which the Barclays Center is coming into existence? From a March 1, 2012 post on BarbraStreisand.com about opposition to the KeystoneXL pipeline:

...the fact that this foreign-owned corporation would use the autocratic power of eminent domain to take land from unwilling sellers along the 2,000 mile route....

Posted by eric at 12:38 PM

Putting the Tech in Metrotech

Start-Up MakerBot Industries to Move to Downtown Brooklyn; Engineers Mixing With Office Workers

The Wall Street Journal
by Laura Kusisto

Metrotech is getting its first actual tech tenant in its 20-year existence.

The MakerBot lease is also good news for Forest City Ratner Cos., which owns One Metrotech and a large chunk of Downtown Brooklyn's office space.

In recent years, the landlord tried to attract more media, nonprofit and technology companies to the area, especially given that demand for back-office space has shrunk.

"We've had creative, media and not-for-profit tenants. This is our first technology company. We hope it's the first of many," said MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development for Forest City.


Related coverage...

The RED Wrap [CrainsNewYork.com], Forest City’s neighbors hold key

When the young co-founder of a hot, fast-growing maker of 3-D printers talked about why he recently decided to become the first tech tenant at downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech complex, which was built 20 years ago to house back offices for Wall Street firms, he had some surprising reasons. Sure, MakerBot Industries’ Bre Pettis mentioned the area’s excellent transportation links and views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. But he also threw into the proximity to Shake Shack and Five Guys....

Posted by eric at 12:29 PM

Citizens Union: City Council discretionary/capital funding should be distributed more equitably; more transparency needed not only for Council but for Borough Presidents

Atlantic Yards Report

Something's rotten in the City Council. Citizens Union on 5/1/12 released a comprehensive report on the New York City discretionary funding process that concluded that, despite past reforms, the process of allocating funds to Council members for distribution is based on political ties to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, rather than the needs of the district:

"While the city's discretionary funding process is improved in significant ways from a decade ago, it remains flawed and needs additional reform," said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union. "Recent reforms in the City Council have improved the vetting of organizations receiving funding and provided additional disclosure, yet the distribution process to members remains too politicized and not equitable and objective enough."

The Post reported 5/2/12, Council’s pots of gold go to power pols. The Daily News reported, 3 Brooklyn Democrats were best at stuffing coffers with pulled pork: Dominic Recchia, Erik Dilan and Lew Fidler top $10 million each in City Council discretionary funding, Citizens Union reports.

Should we be surprised that Recchia, Dilan, and Fidler, two of whom represent fairly affluent districts, have been reliable supporters of Atlantic Yards? And that Council Member Letitia James, no Quinn ally, was down on the list, ranking 48th of 51 Council Members, as The Local explained.


Posted by eric at 12:20 PM

Crime Report: Beatings, Thefts and a Cop is Run Over

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

It was a wild week in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s 88th Precinct, with some random beatings, lots of pockets picked, more crime at the Atlantic Terminal Mall and the second week of an ongoing catalytic converter crime wave.

More Atlantic Mall Crime

At least two shoppers at the crime-ridden Atlantic Terminal Mall had bags stolen last week:

  • One shopper told cops that she was inside the Target on May 5 at around 3 p.m. when she discovered that her wallet, containing various cards and cash, had been taken off her baby stroller.

  • Another shopper with a baby stroller told police that she lost her wallet in the same manner a half-hour later.


Posted by eric at 12:15 PM

May 7, 2012

Should arena crowds really be able to drink all night?


In Chicago, Wrigley Field is allowed to host only 30 evening events a year. Liquor sales must end no later than 9:30PM. And any changes to that policy have to be approved by the Chicago City Council.

You’d think that the people of Brooklyn deserve no less respect.

Not according to Barclays Center, which has applied for a license that would allow it to keep serving alcohol up to the 4AM State limit in an 18,000-seat arena. Sure, the NBA has a policy that requires liquor sales to end after the third quarter. But basketball only accounts for 40 of the expected 220 events to be held at the arena each year. And Barclays’ application isn’t even limited to serving drinks at arena events. (Arena plans include four club/lounge areas.)

We all know that the history of Atlantic Yards has been one blanket approval by government after another, with little oversight afterward. But isn’t this getting ridiculous?

Click here to tell the New York State Liquor Authority and Governor Cuomo that Barlcays’ liquor license must be appropriate for the residential neighborhoods in which it is situated, and through which patrons will travel on their way home. Require drink sales to end after half time at a NBA game, 45 minutes before the end of an event, or 10PM, whichever comes first. And only permit alcohol to be sold during ticketed arena events.

Sign the petition now!


Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

BrooklynSpeaks launches petition to request that alcohol sales at Barclays Center end no later than 10 pm, 45 minutes before event end, or at halftime

Atlantic Yards Report

When local community boards expressed qualified support for the Barclays Center liquor license, they requested a community liaison from the arena as well as the expected issuance of transportation and security plans, but they did not accede to community requests for a time to cut off alcohol sales, other than at NBA basketball games, where the league standard is the end of the third quarter.

The typical time is an hour before a concert ends, AEG's David Anderson said, in a statement that unnerved a few people, who noted that some concerts could go very late.

The votes from the community boards are advisory; the decision is up to the State Liquor Authority.


Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

Hakeem Jeffries rides a wave of (mostly deserved) praise, which happens to ignore his caution on Atlantic Yards; what kind of AY governance compromise is coming?

Atlantic Yards Report

Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries was anointed yesterday by the New York Times as one of the city's ten "rising" power players, a nod to his record of accomplishment and his role as the clear front-runner in the race to succeed Rep. Ed Towns, who chose to retire rather than face Jeffries and Council Member Charles Barron:

Mr. Jeffries, 41, a former lawyer at the Paul Weiss firm, is politically moderate and untouched by scandal, and can talk to the gentrifiers in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene and to the Hasidim in Crown Heights. “He has the potential to swing a much larger bat in the power game than any of the black leaders in Brooklyn,” said Norman Adler, a Democratic political consultant.

Indeed, Jeffries has real accomplishments in his record, notably, as the Times put it, sponsoring a bill that "prohibited the police from collecting data on people stopped and frisked but not charged with a crime." I'd add that he got another bill passed that ensures that prisoners upstate are counted as part of the population of their home counties.

Jeffries and Atlantic Yards

For all the reasons to admire Jeffries, his not-so-forthright stance on the most controversial issue in his district, Atlantic Yards, should not be ignored. Jeffries has been close to the fence, sometimes a supporter, more often a critic, but generally not standing with the activists out front nor Council Member Letitia James, the clear political opponent of the project. He doesn't mention Atlantic Yards on his campaign web site.


NoLandGrab: Jeffries has plenty of sizzle. It's the steak we're worried about.

Posted by eric at 11:04 AM


Brooklyn Born

Brooklyn reborn. Welcome back.

I wondered about this particular post that you're reading. It has been a while since I've added anything to this blog. Nearly one year. and longer still since I wrote consistently. That's probably closer to three years since I updated posts consistently.

When I started this blog my goal, as is stated, was to add a voice to the cacophony on Brooklyn Bloggers, many of whom seemed, new, to put it coy and lightly. I also wanted to tell Brooklyn stories. Stories I thought people would like and maybe had experienced themselves, but that were not widely distributed or spotlighted. Another goal was creative discipline, I wanted an outlet that I could pour my energy into, and a production structure to reliably present content as well as reminding myself that I was the creative professional my resume claims me to be. I was also, like many people very under-employed and needed something to do with my free computer time other than checking my checking account and iCalendar to see exactly when I was likely to be broke and homeless. And let us not forget the dragons. Dragons like the beasts to be know as Atlantic Yards, and the Barclays Center and the 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee and a rule breaking Mayor in search of a third sheet, all in need of righteously fueled raging blog posts to be written in hopes of defeating and sending them all back to their misconceived caves. All that and more was why I started writing this blog.


Posted by eric at 10:56 AM

Bike-Parking Promise Broken at Nets Stadium

The L Magazine
by Henry Stewart

Last year, we heard that the Barclays Center—where the Nets will play basketball, and where Jay-Z and Leonard Cohen will play concerts—would feature a bike-parking facility that could hold up to 400 bicycles. This morning, we hear that's no longer the case. Developer Forest City Ratner admitted last week that accommodations for 400 bikes, for the foreseeable future, will be made with racks on the sidewalks, Streetsblog reports—even though "one of the commitments the developer made was to 'provide any ticketholder traveling to the arena by bicycle with free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block.'"


Photo: New York Bicycling Coalition

Posted by eric at 10:48 AM

Yes, Barbra Streisand is coming to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: even Ticketmaster says so

Atlantic Yards Report

I reported May 1 that Barbra Streisand was performing at the Barclays Center, and on May 4 the Brooklyn Paper and its sibling Brooklyn Daily followed up, getting confirmation from what "ticket reps for the arena say."

It's more definitive than that. As noted on a Streisand message board, Ticketmaster has information, if not tickets available, confirming there will be a show (or shows).


NoLandGrab: We prefer our grandmothers singing in Russian — and traditional garb.

Posted by eric at 10:37 AM

From Crain's Insider: Atlantic Yards subcontractors worried

Atlantic Yards Report

From Crain's Insider today, Subs at Atlantic Yards Worried:

Subcontractors at the Atlantic Yards fear that money withheld by Forest City Ratner’s contractor won’t be paid to them when the project nears completion. “Toward the end, there’s a lot of change orders,” said Ron Berger, executive director of the Subcontractors Trade Association. “We’re worried they don’t have sufficient funds to pay for the change orders.” Berger wants the developer to float a $50 million bond to set aside cash; FCR offered $25 million. Regardless, a spokesman for the developer said, the trustee of the public bonds floated by the company has put aside money to pay subcontractors.


NoLandGrab: Pshaw! Bruce Ratner has kept all his other promises, hasn't he? Oh, um, wait a minute...

Posted by eric at 10:32 AM

"Mayor Bloomberg, I take sleeping pills in an effort to sleep through disruptions."

Atlantic Yards Watch

Below is a copy of an open letter sent to the Mayor and to The New York Times by a local resident. The resident lives near what is now the construction staging area for the project and will soon become a full block of surface parking. It is also currently anticipated to continue as a location for construction staging for 25 years or more. Unlike most arenas and stadiums around the country, the operation of Barclays Center is integrated into a residential community.

April 27, 2012

An open letter to Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York:

My daughter Chelsea was born December 29, 2010 in the nasty aftermath of the Blizzard that crippled New York. Conquering the obstacles of unplowed Brooklyn streets, we made it to the hospital in one piece and came home with our little girl. We’re New Yorkers and can navigate a difficult situation. However, since bringing her home almost a year and a half ago, her days and nights have been filled with the relentless noise, dust, dirt and vibration of a project that you’ve given your support to: The Atlantic Yards Project.

Our apartment on Carlton Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn faces the staging area for this development that few have rallied for and many have opposed. Last night at 11:00 pm our entire apartment shook with a force equal to or greater than that of the earthquake that hit this area last summer. This morning tractors were buzzing around at 4:00 a.m. This has become the status quo and I’ve had enough. I’m not opposed to development, but I am most definitely opposed to disrupting the sleep and well being of a community.

I now go to bed at night dreading the inevitable wake ups. My wife and I take sleeping pills in an effort to sleep through the disruptions. We create white noise in the bedrooms to drown out the noise. My blood pressure has gone up in this time and my daughter wakes up crying.

Click below to keep reading.


Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, From Atlantic Yards Watch: "Mayor Bloomberg, I take sleeping pills in an effort to sleep through disruptions."

Empire State Development CEO Kenneth Adams sounds concerned about getting community input regarding Atlantic Yards, but he really has much more urgent issues on his agenda, ones that were touched on but not fully explored during his May 2 community meeting.

Posted by eric at 10:25 AM

May 6, 2012

Jay-Z and the Mushnick controversy

Atlantic Yards Report

New York Post media columnist Phil Mushnick has stirred up a huge backlash with an item in his column slamming Jay-Z (who also was pictured "riding" a bulldozer by a camera-wielding construction worker with a line to TMZ):

As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?
Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N------s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B----hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!

Yes, this is dumb and offensive on several levels. (Does a black-and-white color scheme have a racial angle?) It's provoked a roundup of critical responses (as collected by NetsDaily).


Posted by steve at 11:03 PM

Learning from Keith Haring: "Obey" from Ratner, #HelloBullshit, #GoodbyeBrooklyn, Nets/Crooklyn, and the critique of commodification

Atlantic Yards Report

Visiting the Brooklyn Museum last night for an exhibition on artist Keith Haring's early work, I was reminded how Haring made a practice of drawing on the temporarily unused advertising panels in New York City subway stations.

In the subway, his personal, open-ended images alongside a blitz of corporate advertising made an implicit statement about the role of corporate culture in shaping the urban environment.

Well, what was an outlaw critique is now iconic fare for a museum.

The commodification of the Nets

Given such precedent, perhaps we should take more seriously the artistic/satirical responses to the relentless commodification of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center.


Posted by steve at 10:43 PM

Forget Rap... I Work Construction Now


Wait, are we sure that isn't Michael Dukakis?


Posted by eric at 10:17 PM

May 5, 2012

Bike parking at the Barclays Center will be outdoor bike racks: will it be secured and sheltered?

Atlantic Yards Report

What's going on with bike parking at the Barclays Center?

Streetsblog reports, in Bad News: Forest City Breaks Bike Parking Vow; Good News: Less Car Parking:

The bad news first: Forest City no longer plans to keep its much-touted promise to build a staffed indoor bike parking facility in time for the arena opening. Instead, for the foreseeable future, the bike parking will consist of plain outdoor bike racks.
In the December 2009 Atlantic Yards Amended Memorandum of Environmental Concerns, Forest City promised to implement a number of measures “prior to the opening of the arena” to encourage people to leave their cars at home when traveling to the Barclays Center. One of the commitments the developer made was to “provide any ticketholder traveling to the arena by bicycle with free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block.”
That bike parking, Streetsblog has learned, won’t be available for opening day or anything close to it. Arana Hankin, the director of the Atlantic Yards project for Empire State Development, said in an e-mail that while there will still be room for 400 bikes at the arena, it will be provided via outdoor bike racks for the foreseeable future. The bike parking will be indoors once the project’s “Building 3,” located at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street, is complete, at which point it will be located in the basement, Hankin said.
There’s currently no public timeline for the construction of Building 3, and Hankin didn’t respond to a Streetsblog inquiry about when the building might be complete.

The Streetsblog account is ambiguous about whether the outdoor bike racks would be staffed, and some commenters took that to mean it would not be staffed and thus not secured.

If so, that seems to contradict what Forest City consultant Sam Schwartz said last June, that it would "always be secured during the arena events," with an operator.


Posted by steve at 6:56 PM

From Crain's Insider: Atlantic Yards subcontractors worried

Atlantic Yards Report

From Crain's Insider today, Subs at Atlantic Yards Worried:

Subcontractors at the Atlantic Yards fear that money withheld by Forest City Ratner’s contractor won’t be paid to them when the project nears completion. “Toward the end, there’s a lot of change orders,” said Ron Berger, executive director of the Subcontractors Trade Association. “We’re worried they don’t have sufficient funds to pay for the change orders.” Berger wants the developer to float a $50 million bond to set aside cash; FCR offered $25 million. Regardless, a spokesman for the developer said, the trustee of the public bonds floated by the company has put aside money to pay subcontractors.


Posted by steve at 6:52 PM

From Atlantic Yards Watch: "Mayor Bloomberg, I take sleeping pills in an effort to sleep through disruptions."

Atlantic Yards Report

Empire State Development CEO Kenneth Adams sounds concerned about getting community input regarding Atlantic Yards, but he really has much more urgent issues on his agenda, ones that were touched on but not fully explored during his May 2 community meeting.

Atlantic Yards Watch has posted an open letter to Mayor Mike Bloomberg from a Carlton Avenue resident who lives near what is now the construction staging area for the project and will soon become a full block of surface parking--and likely will continue as a location for construction staging for decades.

This is the price, it seems of building an arena project that encroaches on a residential community. An excerpt:

Last night at 11:00 pm our entire apartment shook with a force equal to or greater than that of the earthquake that hit this area last summer. This morning tractors were buzzing around at 4:00 a.m. This has become the status quo and I’ve had enough. I’m not opposed to development, but I am most definitely opposed to disrupting the sleep and well being of a community.
I now go to bed at night dreading the inevitable wake ups. My wife and I take sleeping pills in an effort to sleep through the disruptions. We create white noise in the bedrooms to drown out the noise. My blood pressure has gone up in this time and my daughter wakes up crying.
My wife and I have lodged a dozen or so calls to 311, contacted the Atlantic Yards Project, called our Council Member, complained to one of the trucking companies, and logged complaints on a locally run website. Unfortunately, it’s a fruitless effort and I believe our only recourse may be incurring the expense and disruption of packing up my family and moving from a home and neighborhood that we love.

For more, go to Atlantic Yards Watch.


Posted by steve at 6:50 PM

Parking Lot Scaled Back While Transit Booms at Atlantic Yards

Mobilizing the Region
By Sam Handler

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has announced that the surface parking lot for the Atlantic Yards project has been scaled back. The lot for the northern Prospect Heights development—home of the Barclay’s Center—was initially going to accommodate 1,100 spaces, but it is now slated to have fewer than 550. The BrooklynSpeaks coalition has previously advocated for the reduction of parking by 50% and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council called for the lot to adhere to New York City Department of City Planning regulations for surface parking lot design.

Critics have contended that ESDC and Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner, instead of focusing on adding more parking to the area, should develop a more comprehensive transportation plan for the arena site and surrounding neighborhoods. This message was reiterated at the recent Brooklyn Gateway transportation workshop, which was sponsored by New York City Council Member Tish James, Tri-State, the Boerum Hill Association, the Park Slope Civic Council, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. Workshop attendees expressed concerns about traffic congestion, parking, pedestrian safety, and cyclist safety in their neighborhoods, along with the need for better transit options in the Brooklyn Gateway area ...


Despite the clear need for improvements, neither Forest City Ratner nor the MTA has identified how the Atlantic Yards’ transit network will maintain existing levels of service under increasing strain to the system. In fact, the developer has yet to release or finalize the long-delayed transportation demand management plan, which should outline how the area will handle increased traffic and other transportation challenges (the plan is due out on May 22). While an additional subway entrance is being built by the arena, more remains to be done.


Posted by steve at 6:43 PM

May 4, 2012

Tonight: eight years of Atlantic Yards distilled into 20 minutes (and a few laughs)

Atlantic Yards Report

There are still a few tickets left for nerd nite nyc tonight at Galapagos in DUMBO, starting time 9 pm. My presentation, in about 20 minutes, will be more entertaining than this blog. That was a requirement....


NoLandGrab: God, we hope so.

Click the link for more info on Norman Oder's talk, which actually will be quite entertaining — no, really — and visit JaneJacobsWalk.org for details on the Atlantic Yards tour Oder will be leading on Saturday.

Posted by eric at 11:36 AM

ESD CEO Adams says agency seeks ways to formalize public input on Atlantic Yards "before the project's done 25 years from now"

Atlantic Yards Report

(L-r.) Carlo Scissura, Arana Hankin, Ken Adams, Justin Ginsburgh. Photo and set by Tracy Collins.

It's actually not on the video, but there was a telling moment during the meeting May 2 held by Empire State Development (ESD) CEO Kenneth Adams with Atlantic Yards community stakeholders.

Adams was ruminating on the obligation he acknowledged for his agency "to be more responsive than we were as an agency in the past."

While ESD is still figuring it out, based on discussions with elected officials, Adams said they were open to a "formal structure for community input over the long life that we expect the project to have."

"25 years from now"

"Again, it's not a secret that there have been legislative efforts to do that," he continued. "So that sort of prompted my original interest, in conversations with Senator [Velmanette] Montgomery and Assemblyman [Hakeem] Jeffries, Council Member [Letitia] James and Council Member [Steve] Levin."

"We're having discussions, and we're open to doing it," he said. And that would be "a way to formalize a system for us to be more helpful, more responsive... before the project's done 25 years from now."


Posted by eric at 11:26 AM

Residents Worry Whether Prospect Heights Can Accommodate Barclays Arena's Traffic

by Jeanine Ramirez

With the Barclays Center going up in the background in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Peter Krashes measures the widths of the sidewalks that lead into and out of the arena. He and other members of the Dean Street Block Association worry about the crowds the 18,000-seat arena will attract.

"Our sidewalks, our streets don't have the capacity to accommodate all of those people," said resident Christine Schmidt.

"It's very, very close to our residences, the operation of it, the loading dock, the parking lot. They're all interwoven with our homes and our businesses and our churches," said Krashes.

The developer and the community both say they hope event-goers will use mass transit. But across from this stretch of the Prospect Heights Historic District, a parking lot will open for about 500 cars.

It is not likely to be enough for all those who decide to drive.


Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Unresolved questions ventilated by NY1: sidewalks near arena have been measured as narrower than publicly announced, but Forest City says they've been approved

The response? NY1 reports:

As for sidewalk congestion, Forest City says there will be workers to guide pedestrians through main thoroughfares to and from the arena and that both state and city officials have approved the sidewalk capacity for the crowds.

That doesn't actually resolve the question. There still should be well over 1000 people using narrow Dean Street from the surface parking lot alone. It isn't a main thoroughfare.

And just because the city and state have approved the sidewalk capacity--I thought it was just the city--doesn't mean they've measured it correctly. That was the point of a whole, detailed effort by Atlantic Yards Watch.

Gothamist, Barclays Center To Initially Have Half The Parking It Promised

While Brooklyn Heights is now freaking out over potentially 2,500 people filling its streets when a new Fieldhouse comes to Brooklyn Bridge Park, residents around the Atlantic Yards have been freaking for ages now about the 18,000 people expected to flood the area when the Nets start playing the Barclays Center this fall. And for them, there is good news today! The arena will initially have less parking than originally planned.

Park Slope Patch, State Reduces Parking at Barclays Center Lot from 1,100 to 550

Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Prospect Heights, called the change of heart “good news for the community.”

“I had asked some time ago about the issue of stacking and I’m glad they’ve finally seen the error of their ways,” she said.

But Dean Street Block Association President Peter Krashes criticized the ESDC for shortchanging the community by not requiring developer Forest City Ratner to comply with city standards for surface lots, which he said would require a 7-foot fence around the lot and about 65 trees inside.

Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

Brooklynites sound off on Hooters’ efforts to open near Barclays Center

Residents split on whether chain should come to borough

NY Daily News
by Joseph Tepper, Lore Croghan and Erin Durkin

The Daily Hooters News can't get enough of running this photo.

Hooters’ march on Brooklyn may have been rebuffed by some property owners near the new Nets arena, but the busty chain is reportedly scouting other spots in the neighborhood. And while Hooters’ interest drew howls of protest from many in the area, others say critics should relax and enjoy Hooters’ wings and good clean fun. Here’s a sampling of opinions from around the borough:

City Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Prospect Heights):

“I think Hooters is offensive to women, and I think Hooters is an affront to the women’s movement, and I think we have enough hamburger restaurants that have located on Flatbush Ave. and Vanderbilt Ave. in the last year. I think we have enough establishments that are serving alcohol. Flatbush Ave. is often referred to as booze ally, and do we don’t need booze and boobs on Flatbush Ave.”

Steve Edmilao, 41, Barclays Center construction worker:

“You just got to be open minded. I go there for beer, wings, and the whole nine yards. Just let the business flow in and uplift the Brooklyn area."

Jessica Greer Morris, Executive Director of Project Girl Performance Collective, based in Brooklyn Heights:

“Hooters claims to be giving opportunity to college age women in need of work. We have a girl who is valedictorian of her class in Brooklyn who cannot afford college. Does she have to have large breasts and wear a tight shirt to be able to afford college? Is this the best we can offer our children? Every day, we work with young girls and see how institutions like Hooters contributes to their low self-esteem. Hooters is not about empowering girls, it is about objectifying them.”


NoLandGrab: We think it's "the whole nine yards" that some people find objectionable. And really, anyone who claims Hooters wings are "the best" has never been anywhere near Bonnie's Grill.

Photo: ISI/Business Wire

Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

May 3, 2012

Taste Test: Comparing Brooklyn Water to ‘Brooklynized’ Water

Grub Street New York
by Norman Oder

In March, we first learned the official water of the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn would be produced by the Original Brooklyn Water Bottling Company … which is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The water itself is "Brooklynized," which the company says is marketing schtick a process that makes the water taste more like water that's actually from Brooklyn. I managed to get my hands on some and took to the streets of Kings County to see if the borough's residents could tell the difference between the bottled stuff and New York City's beloved tap, and to find out which one they preferred.


Photo: Tracy Collins

Posted by eric at 3:04 PM

ESD’s Adams: Surface parking lot spaces halved (concession to neighbors or reality?); governance entity possible (ditto); appeal unresolved in SEIS case; meeting on transportation plan set for 5/22, then 30 days for comments

Atlantic Yards Report

In his second meeting with Atlantic Yards stakeholders in eight months, Kenneth Adams, CEO of Empire State Development (Corporation), the state agency overseeing the project, last night had some welcome news: the planned surface parking lot for the southeast block of the project, which was estimated to have up to 1,100 spaces, would have fewer than half that amount, obviating the need for noisy stackers that could compound gridlock.

The news was welcomed, albeit somewhat warily, by the two dozen people at Borough Hall, representing various neighborhood and merchant groups in the orbit of the Prospect Heights project.

While the lot, according to state documentation, could hold up to 1,100 spaces, and an application to the city Department of Buildings said 722 spaces, the genial Adams, a Brooklynite familiar with nearly all of the two dozen people in the room, said it would be under 550 spaces.

Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association called the result “good,” though he noted that the site, bounded by Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and Dean and Pacific streets, could only accommodate about 520 surface spaces, according to calculations by local residents. “We've been expecting the number of 520 for some time.”

Follow the link for more about parking, and many other details of last night's meeting.


Related coverage...

NY Post, Nets’ Brooklyn parking plan hits the skids

The state has put the brakes on an unconventional parking plan at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn that critics feared would have created neighborhood traffic nightmares.

Stack-parking — a time-consuming process that uses hydraulic lifts to stack anywhere from two to four cars atop one another — won’t be used, as previously planned, at a surface parking lot under construction next to the Nets’ new home.

Posted by eric at 11:51 AM

Yonkers trial update: Annabi aims to set aside verdict

Atlantic Yards Report

Former Yonkers Council Member Sandy Annabi, whose flipped vote on Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill development led in part to her indictment and then conviction on federal corruption charges, is looking to see that set aside. The Journal News reported yesterday, in Sandy Annabi seeks new trial, new attorney tells The Journal News:

Attorney Edward Sapone said today that he is preparing two post-conviction motions on the grounds that “no rational juror could have found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as to any of the counts of which Miss Annabi was convicted.”

Sapone noted that during the trial U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon herself expressed skepticism – without jurors present – over the government’s case against Annabi and former Yonkers Republican Chairman Zehy Jereis, who was also convicted after the five-week trial.

McMahon questioned whether prosecutors would be able to prove a key element of the case – that money Jereis spent on Annabi influenced how she voted on the city council.

Post-trial motions must be filed by June 18, and sentencing is scheduled for September 20. However, not only can McMahon be asked to vacate the verdict, an appeal can be filed.


Related coverage...

The Journal News, New Annabi lawyer seeks retrial in corruption case

Federal prosecutors argued at the trial that, although it was a circumstantial case, they had ample evidence of a conspiracy. In the end, the jury convicted Annabi and Jereis, her cousin and political mentor, on all counts on March 29.

Posted by eric at 11:43 AM

Retail coming to 470 Vanderbilt: could it include a Hooters? (Denis Hamill would be fine with that)

Atlantic Yards Report

From the 5/2/12 Real Estate Weekly, GFI brings Atlantic Yards retail corner to market:

GFI Development Company is offering corner and street-front retail space at 470 Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn.

The ten-story, 660,000 s/f mixed-use property is four blocks from Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal Mall, a major destination shopping thoroughfare for Brooklyn.

More importantly, it's two blocks--albeit across broad Atlantic Avenue from the Barclays Center surface parking lot and within walking distance of the arena.

There will be 3,000 employees at the building alone, from the Human Resources Administration, and location is near dense residential districts. It's a former tire factory turned telecom center, soon to include more housing.

What kind of retail?

So, will the retail be aimed at neighborhood residents, building employees/visitors, or arena-related traffic--or a bit of all? There will be up to 21,500 square feet of ground-floor retail, including 7,100 square feet at the corner of Atlantic and Vanderbilt Avenues.

That's big enough for a Hooters, and a real estate guy told The Local that Hooters scouts would be looking there.


Related content...

Real Estate Weekly, GFI brings Atlantic Yards retail corner to market

The building, located at the crossroads of Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill, is also walking distance from the Atlantic Yards development. 470 Vanderbilt Avenue is steps from the 20,000 seat Barclays Center, home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, and minutes away from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University.

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill], Owner Seeking ‘Slam Dunk’ for Dour Building Near Atlantic Yards

Mr. Havens said that Hooters real estate hunters would certainly be looking at 470 Vanderbilt as a location for their food-serving pinup calendar, which company officials say is named in homage to the owl, not the slang term for a female body part (or, more accurately, parts).

“It’s sexist and I would never go there, but anyone has a right to open any store,” Mr. Havens said. “And people like to forget, but people who go to sporting events go to Hooters.”

NY Daily News, Who gives a hoot about pretty girls as waitresses? It’s no reason to block Hooters from Brooklyn

Denis Hamill would go there, though — to research his hatred for Park Slopers.

Hooters is being unfairly targeted.

This is the new politically correct Brooklyn that is fast endorsing an oppressive Puritanism.

Hamill makes his case by claiming we haven't complained enough about some other Bruce Ratner fine-dining establishments.

Across the street from the new arena there's a Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, McDonald’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.

NoLandGrab: Exactly, Denis.

Posted by eric at 11:26 AM

Nets Fans Line Up to Be First for Brooklyn Merch

View from Couch
by Ben Couch

Two of the first three people on line for the launch of Brooklyn Nets merchandise on Monday weren't from Brooklyn.

Yes, Nets fan Rob Gorman arrived at the Atlantic Avenue location of Modell's Sporting Goods at 2:30 a.m. His plan was to show up at 6, but awake late and beginning to worry he might not crack the first 100 customers - the number promised a ticket voucher for two tickets to Opening Night at Barclays Center – Gorman hopped a late-night ride on the N train from Astoria.

Popping out at the Atlantic Ave.-Pacific St. station, he settled into a portable folding chair. One train, one hour: an easier commute than trekking into New Jersey via two transfers.

"I became a Nets fan when I found out they were coming to Brooklyn," Gorman said. "I was originally a (New York) Knicks fan. I didn't fully switch, but the Brooklyn move is what got me here."


Posted by eric at 11:19 AM

Zoning Slows Mayor’s Plan to Remake Willets Point

The New York Times
by Charles V. Bagli

Title this one Slow Land Grab.

The Bloomberg administration has spent more than $130 million in recent years trying to speed up the redevelopment of a pockmarked, 13-block stretch of auto repair shops near Citi Field in Queens.

But even as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to announce a deal with a developer for the site this month, the project at the area known as Willets Point suffered another setback, which will delay construction for as much as two years.

The proposal for a mix of retail space and housing on 12.75 acres, the first phase of the project, does not conform to existing zoning regulations and will require a new environmental review, public hearings and a journey through New York City’s often treacherous review process.

“This slows them down a lot,” said Michael B. Gerrard, a lawyer who is representing landowners opposed to the redevelopment plan.

The problems came to light on Wednesday morning, when city officials notified the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court that a hearing next week on the project was no longer necessary. Local landowners who are opposing the city’s use of eminent domain to gain control of the site have appealed a lower court decision in favor of the Bloomberg administration.

The city said it was withdrawing the bulk of the legal findings on which it based its case for eminent domain. It plans to submit a new set of findings, after the environmental review and the public review. Those, in turn, will almost certainly generate a new lawsuit opposing the project.


Related coverage...

Queens TimesLedger, City drops bid to condemn property at Willets Point: Lawyer

Lawyers for the city have dropped their bid to use eminent domain to obtain property in Willets Point, according to a lawyer who was challenging the process.

Michael Rikon, a lawyer representing property owners in Willets Point, challenged the city’s legal bid to condemn property in the Iron Triangle to make way for the first phase of the $3 billion Willets Point Redevelopment Project, which would take the place of the auto shops and pockmarked streets in the neighborhood.

The city confirmed that it dropped its current court case to use eminent domain, but said the project was still moving ahead.

Rikon signed a document Wednesday indicating that the city would be dropping its bid, he said, therefore putting the project on hold unless property owners were to sell their land to the city so it could continue with the development. But the document stipulations did not prevent the city from attempting to use eminent domain on the property in the future, Rikon said. If a deal cannot be reached with property owners, the city can simply file another case to use eminent domain and go through the legal process again.

Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

The Early Word: Clinton Hill Filmmakers Help Kick Off Two-Decade Retrospective

A showcase of the work of Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley.

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch
by Paul Leonard

Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, creators of the recent Atlantic Yards doc, Battle For Brooklyn, will help kick off a retrospective of their nearly 20-year body of work with Half-Cocked, a film about a bunch of kids who steal a van full of musical gear and go on the road through the South. Brooklyn Heights Cinema, 70 Henry St. 8:30 p.m. $11.


Posted by eric at 11:01 AM

May 2, 2012

AYW: Not 1,100 parking spaces but 722 planned for Block 1129; many questions remain

Atlantic Yards Report

Though neither developer Forest City Ratner nor Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, has seen fit to share plans or comment publicly, an application for the surface parking lot on Block 1129, the southeast block, indicates 722 spaces, according to Atlantic Yards Watch's Gib Veconi.

The application is still pending approval, and Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for ESD, told AYW there will be an opportunity for public comment.

Veconi raises questions about whether, in fact, city zoning requirements have been overridden and also asks:

  • Where would the other 378 spaces be located?
  • Will stackers be used?
  • Will the Vanderbilt entrance be the only access to/egress from the lot?
  • What are the specifications for the perimeter fence and its buffer from the surrounding sidewalks?


NoLandGrab: What Arana Hankin means is that there will be an opportunity for public comment that will be summarily ignored by ESDC and Forest City Ratner.

Posted by eric at 12:09 PM

Application filed with NYC DOB indicates 722 cars to park on block 1129

Atlantic Yards Watch
by Gib Veconi

AYW has learned that Forest City Ratner's engineering firm Stantec has filed an application with the NYC Department of Buildings for construction of a surface parking lot on block 1129 (bounded by Vanderbilt Avenue, Dean Street, Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street) for Barclays Center patrons. The application specifies 722 parking spaces for the lot, and a 30 foot curb cut on Vanderbilt Avenue. The application documents indicate installation of 16 detention tanks for storm water management, presumably instead of planting areas that would otherwise reduce storm water runoff from the lot. The application also calls for fencing at the lot line, calling into question the four feet of planted space buffering the fence and the lot specified in the Technical Memo issued by ESDC in December 2010 in response to a court decision in litigation challenging the agency's approval of the 2009 Modified General Project Plan. As of May 2, the application is under review at DOB pending approval.

The application carries a legend "THIS SITE IS EXEMPT FROM COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE NYC ZONING RESOLUTION AS PER LETTER DATED DEC.20, 2011 FROM ESDC." The text of the letter is not available from the DOB web site, so it is not clear on what basis exemption is claimed. Atlantic Yards' 2009 Modified General Project Plan did not disclose an override to NYC zoning regulations for surface parking lots. AYW has argued that the lot should be designed to comply with City zoning requirements.


Posted by eric at 12:01 PM

Trilingual sign on back of Ratner's retail outlet across from arena: "Please don't urinate here!"

Atlantic Yards Report

Some neighbors of the in-progress Barclays Center arena have expressed dismay over one specific potential impact: patrons urinating on the streets, sidewalks, and stoops.

One of the most vocal, Brooklyn Bear's Garden coordinator Jon Crow, has even called it the "urina," provoking pushback from arena boosters.

But are such fears really invalid? There's a problem already in the neighborhood.

On Monday, April 30, I walked around the back of the P.C. Richard store at Flatbush and Fourth avenues, which, along with Modell's (home to a Brooklyn Nets press conference) make up "Shops at Atlantic Center Site V," developed by Forest City Ratner.

(The parcel, also known as Site Five, is part of the Atlantic Yards site and destined for a 25-story building, at least at some point. It is directly adjacent to the Bear's Garden.)

Warnings stern and plaintive

On the back of the P.C. Richard store, I saw the notices in the photo at [right]. "No! You can't urinate here!" one message said sternly. The others, in English, Spanish, and French, were more polite: "Please don't urinate here!"

Apparently a good number of people--well, most likely men--have not been following those instructions.


Posted by eric at 11:52 AM

Welcome to Brooklyn

Rumur via Vimeo

As we neared the end of "Battle for Brooklyn" our good friend Ras approached us with a song called "Welcome to Brooklyn". Dan and his family only had a short time left in their home so we hustled over with Ras and had him perform the song outside as Dan, Shabnam, and Sita walked away. It was a really nice moment- but it didn't give us the room we needed at the end of the film for other information. Ultimately it didn't fit as the end credits song. With the Hello Brooklyn campaign going on we thought we'd share Welcome to Brooklyn. We shot this 2 years ago today- May 2 2010.


Posted by eric at 11:46 AM

Barclays Center to Only Offer Approximately 105 Full-Time Jobs

Forest City Ratner, AEG and Levy Restaurants representatives gave a presentation on the Barclays Center’s hiring process and available jobs to Community Board 6.

Park Slope Patch
by Will Yakowicz

Your employment woes are solved, Brooklyn!

The Barclays Center will create approximately 105 full-time jobs and about 1901 part-time jobs to New York City residents, according to a Forest City Ratner representative who gave a presentation to Community Board 6 on Monday night.

The part-time jobs will be event driven, so the number of employees working at any given week will fluctuate.

David Anderson, AEG's vice president of Event and Guest Services, said that the biggest number of part-timers that will work at any event, like a playoff game, will be 800. And during other regular season games or concerts that number will be less than 800.

Cotton said that employing Brooklynites will be the arena’s hiring priority.


NoLandGrab: Our friends at Forest City Ratner have just informed us that they're accepting applications for fabulous careers in arena pest-control services.

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

Second day reactions to Nets branding: the "borough is the message" and "going the nostalgic route with something that has little actual heritage"

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder rounds up more opinions about the Brooklyn Nets branding scheme.

I'm catching up on some second-day coverage of the Brooklyn Nets branding rollout Monday, April 30.

In Day One of the Brooklyn Nets Went Well, New York magazine's Will Leitch noted the "friendly little coincidence" that the team's brand identity launch "happened to coincide with one of the worst Knicks days in recent memory."

He noted, as I should have stressed, that the line outside Modell's was driven not merely by excitement about new logos and merch but by the giveaway of 100 free tickets to the home opener.

Leitch agrees that the simple fact of "Brooklyn"--as with the Brooklyn Cyclones--means people will wear the merch. He adds:

The problem, of course, is that you only get to do this once. We enjoyed the "No Sleep Till ... " and "Brownstone Ballers" T-shirts, and we enjoyed the "shoes hanging off a telephone pole" motif, along with the general good vibe, 'cause hey, how couldn't you? (Whatever your issues with Bruce Ratner and the nefarious ways this project was put together are, there is something viscerally exciting about having a basketball team in Brooklyn, at a base level.) But the Nets' plan, considering how bad the team is and how unlikely they are to sign Dwight Howard or keep Deron Williams, is to simply sell Brooklyn itself; the borough is the message.

And, he warns:

And the Nets only get to sell Brooklyn for so long; eventually they have to sell themselves. Right now, they're not close to that.


Posted by eric at 11:14 AM

Predicting the Brooklyn Nets' Starting Lineup for Inaugural Season

Bleacher Report
by Ethan Norof

Nothing says cool like a starting lineup that substitutes Goran Dragic and Ersan Ilyasova for Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.

Although [Nets GM Billy] King wants to re-sign Wallace, D-Will, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries, it's unlikely that there will be enough financial flexibility to accommodate all of those goals.

Incredibly, 11 of 15 players on this season's Nets roster are poised to become free agents, and the 2012-13 starting lineup might look a little different than some are expecting.


Posted by eric at 11:08 AM

Are The Nets Becoming Cool?


Bruce Ratner was not cool. We doubt even Bruce would argue that! But Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z. Well, Hello Brooklyn! The Most Interesting Man in the World and Empire State of Mind! There has never been as cool an ownership in American sports. Nev-vuh.


NoLandGrab: Sorry, but we don't take our cool cues from this guy. And nothing says cool like losing 77% of your games over the past two seasons.

Posted by eric at 11:00 AM

May 1, 2012

FCR's Glimartin: modular factory coming to Brooklyn Navy Yard

Atlantic Yards Report

It's long been known that Forest City Ratner was considering the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a factory to build modules for its prefab plan, but EVP MaryAnne Gilmartin, according to GlobeSt.com, says the Navy Yard is the place.

According to the report:

And although the company is underwriting the construction with an 18-month timeframe in mind, it believes as much as six months can be shaved off by going modular. Meanwhile, she said, renters at the tower will find the same design standards as they would in a conventionally built apartment high-rise: “No one will feel they got short shrift because they’re in a modular building.”

Keep watch, I'd suggest, for Forest City's search for subsidies to get the project off the ground.

Gilmartin, according to the article, said the developer plans to start on the first arena block tower, the world's tallest building at 34 stories, later this year. Company CEO Bruce Ratner last week allowed that the time frame could slip until 2013. It's been pushed back again and again.


Related content...

GlobeSt.com, Gilmartin: ‘Modular is Coming’ to High-Rises

Modular building is still mostly a European phenomenon, Gilmartin said, noting that the world’s tallest tower produced thus far with this system is a 25-story structure outside London. FCRC intends to change that, with the goal of deploying a modular factory at Brooklyn Navy Yard not only for its own projects but also eventually for third-party customers, “our competitors,” she pointed out.

That’s the long-term plan. More immediately, said Gilmartin, “If we build a 34-story modular building in Brooklyn, we have the finest advertisement for modular construction in the world.”

NoLandGrab: Unless it falls over. Then, not so fine.

Posted by eric at 9:48 PM

Brooklyn Nets Season Tickets Now On Sale

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

What, no reports of people being trampled in the rush for Brooklyn Nets tickets?

Fresh from unveiling the team’s new old-school look, the Brooklyn Nets started selling season tickets for the inaugural 2012-13 season today at 8:30 a.m.

The team was 22–44 in its last season in New Jersey — good enough for last place! — so in a statement, the Nets touted the “affordable prices” of the season ticket packages.

“Fifty percent of all season tickets are $55 or less [per game], 38 percent of season tickets are $35 or less [per game], and lower-level season tickets start at $65 [per game],” the team said in a statement.


NoLandGrab: Sounds like a rip-off to us.

Posted by eric at 9:42 PM

Brooklyn-born Barbra Streisand said to play Barclays Center; concerts would be first big performances in NYC since 2006

Atlantic Yards Report

A nice Brooklyn bubbe will be playing the Barclays Center in October.

Hip-hop star Jay-Z may be opening the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with a concert on September 28, but another generation's Brooklyn supernova, eight-time Grammy Award winner Barbra Streisand, is said to be performing more than once at the new arena not long afterward.

The concerts have not been formally announced, but unconfirmed word leaked on ESPN, which reported February 29 that the Streisand dates would be sandwiched around an October 20 boxing event, and on Simply-Showbiz.com, which on March 26 said Streisand would launch her new tour in Brooklyn.

On April 26, Borough President Marty Markowitz, nearly bursting with anticipation, floated a hint, suggesting at a press conference that "the best is yet to come."

The next day, City Council Member Letitia James was more specific, dropping an aside at a public meeting: "Barbra Streisand has a couple of days" at the arena. (James wouldn't comment further.)

I sent a query to Streisand's spokesman Dick Guttman but didn't hear back. However, I had the news confirmed by multiple sources who wouldn't speak for attribution. Arena promoters likely have been holding the Babs-back-to-Brooklyn news for a big media splash.


NoLandGrab: For those of you under 30 40, Barbra Streisand is a lot closer to Roger Green's 18,000-seat opera house concept than to anything you might have on your iPod.

Posted by eric at 11:30 AM

ESD CEO will again meet with select community reps; state agency has since lost big court case; despite changed dynamic, no sign of bending (but effort to restrict media)

Atlantic Yards Report

Some seven months after Empire State Development CEO Kenneth Adams met with select community representatives regarding Atlantic Yards, Adams will reprise such a meeting at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 2 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

While the Nets' branding juggernaut proceeds and state officials have expressed no qualms about the project, community questions should have a bit more weight, given an appellate court decision last month slamming the state's oversight and continued obfuscation about plans to rebuild the Carlton Avenue Bridge.

Indeed, yesterday, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council asked Adams's boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg to stop the scheduled construction of a surface parking lot for the project, given that the release of plans for the lot has been delayed six months and there had been no response to residents' concerns.

New restrictions on meeting

Early yesterday, I queried Arana Hankin, the ESD's Atlantic Yards project director, regarding the ground rules for the May 2 meeting. She directed me to James's aide Alfred Chiodo, who told me that the ground rules were the same as last September.

In a later message, however, he followed up, stating, "we will be asking those reporting on meeting to refrain from taking photographs or taping." I asked for an explanation, but didn't get one.


Posted by eric at 11:21 AM

Atlantic Yards Workers Left Out of 'Living Wage' Bill

As the City Council meets Monday to consider the measure, one outcome is practically guaranteed.

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch
by Paul Leonard

The City Council prepared to vote on legislation Monday requiring some businesses receiving city benefits to lift worker pay.

However, even if enacted, the measure would not cover any of the workers on one of the city's biggest development projects receiving public subsidies: Atlantic Yards.

The "living wage" bill would mandate minimum pay of $11.50 per hour, or $10 without benefits, for scores of employers receiving public funding with gross revenues over $5 million dollars a year.

Just not for workers at Barclays Center—or any other project at Atlantic Yards.

The exact terms of the bill, released last week, exempted projects like Atlantic Yards that had already received city approval.


NoLandGrab: Word is, they're already working on a new logo for the living-wage legislation...

Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

BOUNCED! Brooklyn folks around Nets' new home say bra humbug to Hooters

Prospect Heights and Park Slope locals upset that curvy-server chain is hunting for digs, pleased they've been getting the brush

NY Daily News
by Kerry Burke, Lore Croghan and Joe Kemp

The Snooze needs three — yes, three — reporters to get the handle on Hooters.

A move by Hooters to open near the new Nets arena has gone bust so far — but brownstone Brooklyn is melting down at the very thought of the risque restaurant invading their neighborhood.

Hooters reps have been trolling through the stroller-friendly neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Park Slope for a possible storefront — but local moms say they are ready for battle.

“It’s a disgusting national chain with bad beer and bad food,” said Lee Skaife, mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.

“It’s just not a family place.”

Hooters — which already has two locations in midtown and in Queens — is looking to cash in by luring Nets fans from the new Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards, which opens in September.


Posted by eric at 11:08 AM

Ratner says Barclays Center built to accommodate NHL team, too

AP via NorthJersey.com

Speaking of myths, Bruce Ratner has told this tale so much lately that he might actually be starting to believe it.

The developer and owner of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center believes his arena can hold hockey for more than just a passing game.

Bruce Ratner, who will welcome the Nets to Brooklyn next season, is hopeful of the arena’s potential NHL prospects as well, perhaps even the Islanders, who are looking for a new home. The building already has ice and locker rooms for both sports.

"[It] was made for hockey and basketball," Ratner said. "It could easily support a hockey team."

Except it wasn't, and it can't. Ratner's own head of construction made that clear more than a year ago, saying publicly that "we made some pretty deliberate decisions early on: we weren't going to have a [professional] hockey team."

And they're not going to, despite what Bruce Ratner or Brett Yormark may claim.


NoLandGrab: Word is they're already working on a new logo for the hockey team...

Posted by eric at 10:55 AM

Brooklyn Nets Sports Entertainment Corporation Claims to Believe "Neighborhood is Family"

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Phew, are we glad they added "New York" to the round one which will be on center court, wouldn't want to confuse it with Brooklyn, Michigan or Brooklyn, Kansas. Perhaps a "718" next to the B is in order too.

The Nets new logo was leaked last week and officially revealed this morning at a press event at Modells (the supposed future site of a 25-story Atlantic Yards tower.) Oddly, the purported designer of the logo, Jay Z (yeah right), chose the Raiders' colors and shield, the Spurs' colors (minus the gray/silver) and even odder chose Freddy's colors albeit it with a much less appealing and ornate crest.


Related content...

NY Post, Nets unveil new black-and-white Brooklyn look

Pinocchio delivers the Nets' logo creation myth.

The inspiration behind the black and white color scheme, a radical departure from the red, white and blue the team has featured for decades, came from minority owner Jay-Z.

“He came to me with a story he thought we should tell,” Yormark said.

Posted by eric at 10:40 AM

The Brooklyn Nets: I Call Technical Foul

Brand New

Whether Jay Z opened up Adobe Illustrator and set the type on a curve himself or not remains a mystery but one thing is for sure: the logo family is technically worthless and embarrassing. The “NETS” typography on the primary logo is conceptually uninspired — if the identity is meant to convey Subway signage, where is the bold Helvetica? — and visually unbalanced with a shift in thicks and thins that is neither obvious enough to look like a Humanist sans nor non-existent where it would be a Geometric sans. My design bullshit-o-meter thinks that it might just be an horizontally scaled version of Akzidenz Grotesk Condensed, which makes an appearance in “BROOKLYN” in the primary logo and the “B” inside the basketball, which has its own kind of thick and thin lines that bear no resemblance to the type or the strokes in any of the logo versions. If the secondary logo looks familiar it might be because another Brooklyn institution, Brooklyn Brewery, has a big “B” inside a circle with type on a curve above and below it. (The type in this secondary logo is so spaced out you could fit the egos of all the Nets owners in between.) The overall effect of the logos is painfully close to the recently popular and painfully accurate Hipster Branding.


Posted by eric at 10:29 AM