Arena’s First Five Months Relatively Problem-Free

Yesterday The New York Times took a look at the Barclays Center five months after opening and finds that overall it has not had the negative impact on the neighborhood that many had feared. According to the story, most visitors arrive and leave relatively quickly and many do use public transportation: the four subway stations in the area had an average of 6,400 more riders on event nights than on other nights. The Long Island Rail Road reports that 3,300 more riders arrive and depart through Atlantic Terminal on event nights than before the arena opened. Crime has also not been a problem though more than a million people have attended the 93 events there since it opened. The 78th Precinct registered six “felony episodes” that were connected to the arena and 36 misdemeanors. While the story does acknowledge issues with parking, illegally parked limos, noise complaints, the fine for exceeding noise limits and the trees soon to fall on Pacific Street, it finds that overall the arena has hardly been the harbinger of doom many predicted. What do you think? Is the arena a good neighbor?

Smooth Debut for an Arena That Rocked Brooklyn [NY Times]
Residents Unhappy With Tree Removal Near Barclays [Brownstoner]
Barclays Center Fined for Noise Violations [Brownstoner]
Bars Near Barclays Center Booming, Others Not So Much [Brownstoner]

Photo by Kuyata

43 Comment

  • “A surge in crime that some has anticipated has also not materialized”- the most powerful line of the entire article.

    It still amazes me how many entitled douchebags (many of whom frequent this blog) were certain that an arena would only bring out lawless, reckless “urban” folks hell bent on destroying the quality of life of Park Slope/ Prospect Heights citizenry. An even greater twist of irony are the same businesses who put up the biggest fights are the ones now complaining they are not seeing increase in business.

  • The location is obviously the right one for a use like this. It is a major transportation hub and it makes getting in and out easy. Unfortunately the level of hysteria from every community organization in Brooklyn has diminished their credibility. At least for me.

  • crime was not the only issue and certainly not the biggest. the use of eminent domain was in my opinion the largest issue, the second being that Ratner and the city sold the community on many jobs and affordable housing that have not and will not materialize. i am not saying anything about whether or not i am happy with the arena, but in my opinion these were the largest issues. the NYT article doesn’t really focus on these issues.

  • Plus, Daniel Goldstein got rich; which was his motivation all along.

  • I have lived in Prospect Heights for over 8 years and I got to say the stadium has had nothing but a positive impact on the area.

    predictions VS reality

    1. Mobs of urban youth running amok = Bieber fans squealing and running down Dean street one night.

    2. Traffic nightmare = no worse then it has always been.

    3. Street noise after concerts = if you live more than 3 blocks away you cant tell when there is or is not an event happening.

    4. Fast food hellscape on Flatbush = hungry ghost, Woodland, Taro sushi

    5. The toilet in your house exploding in a geyser of feces during a nets game at half time ( that is a direct quote from a guy that lives in my building ) = My poops are uninterrupted.

  • I am of the belief that the state’s eminent domain powers were used properly here.
    The area was certainly blighted and the project serves an overarching public good. It is a public arena for sports, concerts, lectures, and political speeches/rallies. Much more questionable was the use of eminent domain in upper Manhattan to clear out an entire neighborhood of Harlem for an expansion of Columbia University, which is a private, elite, school.
    Nonetheless I am well aware that one of the most cherished rights of New Yorkers is to complain bitterly and be disgruntled at almost anything proposed anywhere. It is ingrained in our culture for better or worse and should come as no surprise to anyone.

  • “I am of the belief that the state’s eminent domain powers were used properly here.”

    I agree.

  • More than we can say about McCarren Pool–

  • The anti-arena folks will never acknowledge how wrong they were (or in reality how much they exaggerated in order to try to win their way with FUD).
    There is no doubt that the pro-AY people were correct (thank you very much), it is without a doubt a huge success (FYI the traffic is actually BETTER)
    as for ED – the use of this land for a public arena is without a doubt a public amenity that has ALWAYS [since the constitution was written – and ED was specifically put in] been a legitimate and legal use of ED. Anyone saying otherwise is just completely ignorant of the law or just very dumb.

    • “The anti-arena folks will never acknowledge how wrong they were (or in reality how much they exaggerated in order to try to win their way with FUD).”

      yeah, norman oder still thinks he’s right. either that, or he just refuses to get a real job.

  • Of course, it’s nice to skew the facts in your favor to prove a point. ED may have been OK to build the arena (and I don’t agree, but willing stretch here), but not to condemn other parcels so that they could be given over to Ratner to be razed and unbuilt until he decides to do so.

    There will always be the wackos who bring exagerated claims: crime, traffic, sewage (that’s a new one for me, LOL,) but sensible people can cut through that and see that there *were real issues*. As others have said, it’s the millions of our money handed over to FCR that’s more important.

  • Yes, I do believe that the use of eminent domain was OK here, anon. So did the courts. In all seriousness.

  • there were just a handful of residential buildings seized through eminent domain. i don’t understand why people are still talking about it.

  • Sorry CMU but your opinion on ED is of no consequence. Law is made up of legislation and precedent not your opinion. You will find not a single case denying ED in circumstances even close to this – you may remember way back when – that the Anti-AY people placed all their hopes in the New London case (which had much less ED favorable facts) and the SCt (whose opinion does matter) upheld the use of ED.

    BTW the use of ED is point in time – the fact that FCR has not as of yet been able to build out the remaining parcels is of no legal consequence.

    You may not agree with the law and you are welcome to try and change it but no matter how many times you and others scream – you can not pretend that law of ED is on your side – it isnt and wasnt.

  • I fear the folks who feared the arena are the same people who would have rushed out to buy guns if we were in the suburbs and they were in fear.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  • My worst fear was that the neighborhood was going to become like MSG. An ugly building with inhospitable sidewalks. Traffic was another issue and it is worse but that had started already.
    My issue and objection to the barclays Center is that it is an ugly lump on the landscape. Nobody looks up at the beauty of the architecture. It is no Bilbao or Coliseum it a bad design, poorly built with inferior materials. The different phases of the rusted fenestration are showing and the roof looks weak. It will be demolished in the next twenty years but in the mean time residents have to suffer an eyesore.

    • The arena is already consider an innovative design and will only be considered more so as time (and taller buildings change its context). I personally think it looks great at most angles – except rear (which will be soon covered)
      I wish I could bet you on your prediction because I have no doubt that not only will Barclays last longer than 20 years but when it eventually does reach the end of its lifespan, there will be great public consternation about its architectural loss. Alas I will likely be dead before I can collect on this bet.

      • I could not see how anyone would consider this an innovative design, except in a Lego building contest. There was an opportunity to use a world famous architect who might have made a highly regarded landmark. Frank Gehry may be over played but his museum in Bilbao is a beautiful addition to the city and has become an architectural tourist attraction. There are no architects or tourists making the trip to admire the Barclays Center. The interior design is as good an arena as any but the outside resembles a rusty kitchen appliance. It does have an interesting swooping element visible from the south but the poor materials and the non integrated barclays logo do not add to the effect.
        I cannot imagine how the surrounding high rises will make this lumpen structure any different. It will be interesting to see when the Modells and PC Richards warehouse buildings are replaced . We can agree that they will not be missed
        There used to be a parking garage in LaGuardia airport that had the rusted steel finish, it was either re-clad or demolished. Maybe it will last longer than twenty years,but let’s make a bet anyway. In the year 2033 if you think that it has held up as good architecture I’ll buy the tickets to see the Rolling Stones there.

  • I already own a few shotguns at my country home. I never feared the arena. I fear nutjobs like those who did fear the arena.

  • How is it that everyone in this discussion seems to have forgotten that it was never just about the stadium. It was about the 14 hideous out of proportion high rises built around the stadium. That was always where Ratner was set to make his real money–and so it will be. The stadium was only ever dressing meant to sell the project to the city.

    • “How is it that everyone in this discussion seems to have forgotten that it was never just about the stadium. It was about the 14 hideous out of proportion high rises built around the stadium.”

      out of proportion high rises? they wont be so out of proportion when there’s 14 of them plus the dozen or so others planned in the immediate area. this is nyc.

    • Boerumblah reminds us of an important aspect of the overall AY development. The arena is indeed a Trojan horse. 6,000+ units of housing are still planned for the rest of the site, which will make AY the densest residential area in North America. Too dense, in my opinion. And the blight issue was always bogus. The privately owned areas of the footprint weren’t blighted — only the MTA owned land. And so it continues today, witness the mess surrounding the old ticket office on the island at the junction of 4th Ave and Atlantic.

  • I think people mistook the arena for a football stadium.


  • I think people mistook the arena for a football stadium.

    Brooklyn is one of the largest cities in the world, if she couldn’t absorb a basketball arena on Atlantic and Flatbush then what’s the point of her existence?

    Brownstone Brooklyn’s fear of marauding groups of “urban”young people throwing up on their stoops at 3 in the morning and endless strip clubs with teenage sex slaves walking up and down Flatbush Ave, soliciting drivers to rock the vote, hasn’t come to pass. Don’t worry brownstoners – with average game ticket prices starting at $70, the price of “wilding” afterwards is just too expensive.

    Modells has a new sign though – oh the horror!!!

    My one and only problem with this project was the blatant land theft – via E Domain and Bloomberg’s cronies selling the cash starved MTA’s railyards for 1/2 it’s market value…but hey – all will be forgotten and forgiven by me when Monday Nite Raw comes to town – oh yeah.

  • Goldstein went out like a bandit while making suckers out of the most zealous of the anti-AY forces. Even if money wasn’t his original goal, he sure as hell didn’t turn down the offer from a man he previously derided as a “rat.”

    To my knowledge, he has also complied with the gag order tied to his windfall. Clearly he’s willing to sell his previously sacrosanct (or so it would seem) ideals for cash. Who’s to say just when he made the decision to go for the gold?

    I’m glad to see the arena is doing well. The project always made sense, as did the housing and retail development. I’m also glad we live in a country where anti-AY sentiment can be expressed freely, no matter how misguided and ignorant those views may be. And brklynmind is right – sometime in the future the arena will be viewed as iconic. I just hope I’ll be around for that as well.

  • I live a half block from the Arena. I’m happy as a clam. Neither the traffic nor the crowds have not been bad. Most people take public transportation. The arena has been great for the neighborhood. More lively at night. Restaurants are full. More money and taxes for the city and Brooklyn. I’m so sick of the irrational, knee-jerk, anti-AY and anti-Ranter rants. Even now, when the benefits to both the city, Brooklyn and the neighborhood are plainly evident, they will still try to make up ridiculous complaints. If they had their way, no one would come to NY and Brooklyn would still be a pasture.

  • I was never for this project, and my reasons haven’t changed.

    First, last and always, FCR was handed the land, the project, and gazillions in tax subsidies by the city, with the blessings of the state, by underhanded, backroom wheeling and dealing, the likes of which haven’t been seen ever. We, the tax payers were royally screwed, and will continue to be for at least 2 generations.

    Eminent domain was wrongly used here. Sorry, but it was. Same with Times Building.

    FCR made promises to gullible members of minority groups, along with buying off some of their leaders, in order to create them vs us battlelines. It makes great press, sends liberals into conniptions of guilt, and gets needy minority job and home seekers all excited over non-existent homes and jobs.Affluent NIMBY whites vs jobseeking and homeseeking poor minorities. Great stuff! Toss in some b’ball players and a famous rapper, and you’ve got great street theater. Hello – stadiums up. No real affordable housing anywhere in the plans, no jobs for BUILD members, or workers in all of the stores and offices that were supposed to be built, but now aren’t. Y’all been played.

    Lastly – Infrastructure issues were never addressed or rectified. Subway, traffic, and sewers might be fine now, with the stadium, but wait until you add the thousands of people slated to move into the housing.

  • Not bad at all. I live a block away. Bought myself with full knowledge of the arena. I have seen very little impact from it. Minus that I am not a fan of the architecture. I am fan of the new restaurants in the area. Been to two events a concert and a game. It is a little pricey but that is the only compliant.

  • Don’t conflate objections to the process by which the whole Atlantic Yards project occurred with objections to the physical reality of the arena itself. The former can remain legitimate regardless of whether the arena in a vacuum is a positive or negative development.

    If you asked me would I rather have the arena or the fenced-off hole in the ground that was there before, I’d take the arena, no question. Few of the problems fretted over have materialized, and the Nets have provided a rare common ground for many of the disparate communities in Brooklyn to coalesce over and enjoy together.

    I think this point has been too often overlooked; as soon as they started selling Nets gear, you’d see people of all ages and races and backgrounds wearing it all over the place. I think in general, Brooklynites are very proud of having the Nets, and there is a real civic value to that. Something very unique about seeing a bunch of Hasidic kids attending a basketball game in the house that Jay-Z built.

    That said, the events that made Barclays happen were a complete mockery of the political process, a blatant transfer of wealth from public to private with far too little received in return. Only corruption or born-yesterday politicians (maybe both) could explain why anyone would have bought Ratner’s claims that this project was justified in terms of economic impact, affordable housing, and so on. We need to remember that.

    You can enjoy going to Nets games, and be glad the arena is here, and still learn from the mistakes that were made and hold our elected officials more accountable next time. There’s no hypocrisy in that.

  • people either have short term memory about what this intersection looked like before the arena or they were still in the mid-west and never saw it in person.