Atlantic Yards Effect: Is it Changing Retail For the Worse?


A story in the Times today looks at the extent to which the blocks surrounding Atlantic Yards are in the midst of a retail transformation directly linked to the fall opening of the Barclays Center arena. While rents are no doubt going up nearby, we’re not sure we’re buying the basic premise of the story: “‘The neighborhood is now becoming an entertainment mecca — anything that’s hip and of the moment,’ said Robert Schulman, who fits prosthetic devices for Allied Orthopedics, which has been on Flatbush Avenue for 25 years. ‘The change was slowly growing, but once the arena came into play, it was exponential. Once a week, a new restaurant or clothing store is opening up.’” Yes, there have been many openings near the arena, but the story’s angle is that it’s changing the face of the surrounding neighborhoods so that old-time mom-and-pops like hardware stores are losing out to retailers that can afford higher rents. However, as the article notes, the Prospect Heights and Park Slope blocks very near the coming arena have been changing for several years now, and not in a mega-retailer sort of way: Witness Pintchick Row on Bergen Street off Flatbush, a block that now boasts Bark, Ricky’s, a vegetarian cafe, a bicycle shop, a comic book store and a yoga shop. All have opened in the past five or so years and it seems like a stretch to say they’ve hurt quality of life in the area. At the same time, the story points out what is perhaps of bigger concern to nearby residents: New, loud bars and noisy arena-goers ruining evenings on nearby residential streets when events let out. Here’s the kicker, from a small business owner near Barclays: “‘As a businessman it’s good. …As a resident not so much. It turns a neighborhood into Midtown Manhattan.’” Certainly the neighbors of the arena have legitimate quality-of-life concerns, but we’re not seeing MSG-level horror yet, though time will tell. Atlantic Yards Report has an extensive critique of the article up, including a note that there was a mis-characterization of people at a recent liquor license hearing as “die-hard opponents” of Barclays Center.
Impact of Atlantic Yards, for Good or Ill, Is Already Felt [NY Times]
Times Focuses on Retail Changes Near Arena Site [AY Report]
Photo by schmuela

13 Comment

  • What’s that Jefferson quote about the price of liberty being constant vigilance?

    A livable residential neighborhood comes with the same price.

    C:

  • Wow the arena hasnt even opened yet (and there has been no appreciable difference in the makeup or pace of change on nearby streets) and already their are people complaining about the AY effect.

    Let this be a warning to all those who expect facts in their debates

  • The stores along Bergen Street are carefully curated by Pintchik’s, which owns just about the entire block, as well as many surrounding ones. Really not too much to do with AY here, one way or another.

  • I live on Pintchik Row and I don’t have any anti-AY feelings. That part of Flatbush was never attractive; the chess shop and these boutiques are only a good thing.

  • “It turns the neighborhood into Midtown Manhattan” is one of the most outrageously hyperbolic statements about this process. I live about a 15-minute walk away from AY. I’m not so keen on the development plans (or even the arena), but the people who are hardcore opponents of this plan have gone off their rails with their complaints. It’s not helping their cause.

  • “It turns the neighborhood into Midtown Manhattan” is one of the most outrageously hyperbolic statements about this process. I live about a 15-minute walk away from AY. I’m not so keen on the development plans (or even the arena), but the people who are hardcore opponents of this plan have gone off their rails with their complaints. It’s not helping their cause.

  • Don’t forget Babeland on Pintchick row. :-)

  • Don’t forget Babeland on Pintchick row. :-)

  • this article is laughable.

    most of the businesses that have opened since the arena plans became official, are really not what you’d expect such a project to bring. i’m sort of surprised in a good way. most of the newbies are typical of the surrounding areas. these business are basically the new mom and pop types of businesses.

    note to the businesses mention: allied, no one goes to flatbush for prosthetics. it also does not help that your display window is f’in disgusting. flatbush hardware, you’ve sucked for a long time.

  • this article is laughable.

    most of the businesses that have opened since the arena plans became official, are really not what you’d expect such a project to bring. i’m sort of surprised in a good way. most of the newbies are typical of the surrounding areas. these business are basically the new mom and pop types of businesses.

    note to the businesses mention: allied, no one goes to flatbush for prosthetics. it also does not help that your display window is f’in disgusting. flatbush hardware, you’ve sucked for a long time.