Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mold mystery persists at B2 modular tower: state records show unresolved, six-month wait for consultant's report


The setting of the final modules for the pioneering but troubled modular tower built in the Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park) project drew much press coverage, as has the opening of the lottery for 181 units of affordable housing inside. (Half the units are market-rate.)

The narrative regarding 461 Dean Street, aka B2, has changed from the delays that pushed the timetable back two years, major cost overruns, the buyout of an investment partner, the unusual early payback of a tax-exempt loan, the winding down of the modular factory that was once supposed to build the entire project, and the legal battles that persist between developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) and its former construction and module fabrication partner, Skanska.
5/8/14 mold observation;
click to enlarge

But a mystery persists about just how well Forest City--and its New York State overseers--responded to problems at the building, notably the testing for possible mold, which can cause upper respiratory tract health problems.

This innovative, 32-story tower was plagued by leaks and even mold in its early stages, with the first four floors largely gutted, as documents from Skanska and the state's own construction monitor indicated.

No publicly released document shows how the mold concerns were resolved. Notably, documents I recently received show that a state monitor waited at least six months for a promised report on mold--and we don't know whether it arrived or what it said.

5/23/14 mold observation; click to enlarge
Taking "appropriate actions"?

When City Limits on 8/31/15 published Documents Reveal Woes at Pioneering Atlantic Yards Building, my report relied on state documents only through September 2014, acquired via a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority with the uneasy role of both overseeing and shepherding the project.

An ESD spokesman said at the time, "When the ESD project team notified FCR that our owner's representative had observed evidence of possible mold, FCR took appropriate actions to remedy the situation."

From STV, 7/31/15 weekly report
New redactions don't leave much to go on
(Note that use of language. Indeed, most of the monitor's mentions did regard possible mold, but mold was indeed found; see screenshots above stating "Wallboard with mold in 2nd floor corridor removed" and "a thoroughly moldy upper sheetrock layer [in a third-floor mod], which was promptly removed.")

Whether Forest City "took appropriate actions" remains unclear. When I asked last year for specifics, I got the generic response regarding "appropriate actions."

Now, newly received documents covering the period through August 2015 leave lingering questions, as well as suggest a lack of transparency.

No, they don't directly contradict the ESD's August 2015 statement.

But the new documents suggest that "appropriate actions," if they came, arrived slowly, with an unresolved, six-month wait.

New document: no response after six months

Thanks to FOIL, I received copies of daily reports, through 3/31/15, filed with ESD by William King, the lead staffer for STV, the state's construction monitor.

In his final daily report, under the category of "Information Previously Requested," King noted that, on 7/16/14, he'd sent Forest City a second request for a response to 6/19/14 questions regarding leaks, mold remediation, and air monitoring to "measure potentially high mold spore counts in a unit where any mold is not visible."

On 8/13/14, he sent a third request. Two days after that, King wrote, Forest City responded that it was bringing in a second environmental consultant. After that, who knows.

From STV 3/31/15 daily report; full page here


Some six and half months later, that section of his report indicated no follow-up. The issue was unresolved, as far as the daily documents indicate.

Similarly, King's 6/6/14 query to Skanska regarding possible mold in installed, discolored drywall, had not been answered by 3/31/15. (Skanska had left the project by then.)

What about the weekly reports?

King's daily reports ceased at the end of March 2015. Why? "It was determined that weekly reports were sufficient," an ESD spokesman said in response to my query. That also reduced the opportunity for granularity and candor.

If King's questions were resolved after March 2015, we don't know, because STV's ongoing weekly reports--at least as delivered to me--compound the murkiness. They're so heavily redacted there's no mention either of his questions or the responses, if any. See above right.

From STV, 8/15/14 weekly report;
note lack of redactions
That redaction pattern suggests a government agency concerned about what information might emerge.

By contrast, STV's weekly reports issued a year earlier (see full set here) were delivered to me significantly un-redacted, with information used in my earlier article. See screenshot at left.

In those reports, STV did address concerns about leaks and construction integrity, albeit without the granularity of the daily reports.

Presumably its staffers continued to do so--but we don't know what they asked or what they found. Crucially, we don't know what Forest City's second environmental consultant said.

Previous editing?

Indeed, the previous set of STV weekly reports, though less redacted when delivered to me, may have experienced significant editing--or, perhaps, inconsistency.

Consider the report for the week ending 5/9/14, which presumably would have mentioned that second floor wallboard with mold reported in the daily report just one day earlier. Instead, it stated, "Gut ceiling and wall demolition continued on the 2nd floor."

Then again, the report for the week ending 5/23/14 did mention mold, while the associated daily reports did not.

A lingering question mark

In an interview with NY1 recently, Forest City  executive Adam Greene shrugged off the delays that doubled construction time to nearly four years.

"Because it's innovation, innovation sometimes takes a little bit longer, but that's OK," he said.

That's not clear. After all, Forest City once claimed it had "cracked the code" and promised to build the entire project via modular technology.

Now those plans are history, with new joint venture partner/overseer Greenland USA building the towers conventionally. (Greenland owns 70% of the project, outside B2, owned exclusively by Forest City, and the Barclays Center operating company, owned by Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim.)

Absent more sunlight and un-redacted documents regarding oversight of 461 Dean, a question mark about the building's history--and integrity--will persist.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Idling trucks yesterday caused by early arrival and blocked exit

Not in the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update was what happened during the first day of the two weeks covered, which was a line-up of idling trucks in the neighborhood starting by 5:30 am (well before the official 7 am start of construction).

It was caused by the early arrival of such trucks and a blocked exit path from the piece of Pacific Street that's private and used as a staging area.






From the latest Construction Update: lots of late work, including overnight sewer and LIRR work

According to the latest two-week Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update, covering the two weeks beginning yesterday and released yesterday by Empire State Development at 4:03 pm (late) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners, there will be a lot of late shift, Saturday, and overnight work.

Notably, overnight sewer installation should occur at the intersection of Flatbush & Dean Street for the B2 modular tower, aka 461 Dean Street. A community notice will be distributed before the specified times. The Tower Crane for B2 may be dismantled during over the weekend of June 3.

Demolition at Block 1120--the buildings on Atlantic Avenue below the railyard, between Sixth and Carlton avenues--may begin, with new fencing (aka MPT) installed and new equipment installed.

Demolition of the LIRR tunnel wall at the West Portal (Atlantic Avenue) area may resume during this reporting period. Below grade demolition of the LIRR tunnel will be completed on weekends. In coordination with LIRR, the work will be continuous from Friday night through Sunday morning each weekend.

Saturday work is also expected at B2, at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, as well as other sites, including B3 (38 Sixth Avenue), B11 (550 Vanderbilt Avenue), B12 (615 Dean Street), and B14 (535 Carlton Avenue).

Weekend electrical utility work will continue at the LIRR rail yard.

Outside B3, jumping of the tower crane will occur in these two weeks. DOT permits will be filed.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Those lousy Brooklyn Nets TV ratings, and the diminishing cultural role of sports

In his 5/16/16 New Yorker essay, Show Them the Money: Is the sports business a bubble?, Louis Menand addresses Matthew Futterman’s new book, Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution, offering an acid observation:
For everyone knows what the social role of sports is today. It is, via commercials and endorsements, to sell stuff. And everyone knows what makes that possible: television. It did not require a revolutionary genius to figure this out.
And Futterman thinks that the business of sports is in trouble, partly because the role of stars can deform the game and every sport but football has a small audience, writes Menand:
It’s true that hundreds of millions of people watch special events like the World Cup and the Olympics, but the day-to-day audience for sports is tiny. In the United States, it amounts to about four per cent of households. Fewer than three per cent on average watch their local N.B.A. games; fewer than two per cent watch their home-town N.H.L. teams.
That's interesting, and suggests--as Brooklynites know--that the cultural presence of their "home team" is not particularly strong.

And the potential unbundling of cable bills--which charge people 20% for sports, well beyond their audience--could mean doom.

The Nets in context

Which points us to the 4/25/16 Sports Business Daily article that described the first time in at least ten years that three National Basketball Association teams had ratings above 8% of households: the Golden State Warriors had a 9.76 rating (243,000 homes), the Cleveland Cavaliers had 9.31, and the Antonio Spurs 8.71 rating.

In those smaller cities, the combination of excellent teams and a smaller universe of things to do makes for higher ratings. (In big-city Chicago, which typically supports the Bulls, the rating is 2.96, a drop after a tough season.)

The Brooklyn Nets games on YES Network? For second straight year, and the seventh in nine years, the Nets were at the bottom, this season averaging 0.46, or 34,000 homes--pretty much double the arena capacity.

Yes, the New York Knicks were only at 1.98 of households, which suggests the size of the New York market. But that's more than four times the Nets.

So the Nets have not exactly taken hold. In 2014, the NBA signed a lucrative national TV deal. Will the tide be turning?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

As concerts begin, traffic chaos, noise on nearby Pacific Street

There have been a couple of well-attended Bad Boy Family Reunion Concerts the past two nights at the Barclays Center.

And, accordingly, Pacific Street just east of the arena--constrained by construction fencing, with two-way traffic, and having one garage open to the public--has been a madhouse during the early hours of the event. The two videos below were shot between 8:30 and 9 pm.

As Wayne Bailey's title on the videos suggests, the city Department of Transportation might well consider adjusting the traffic pattern, such as restoring the street to one-way service.





Saturday, May 21, 2016

From "How Forest City Decided to Become a REIT": tax savings ended, business refined, upside from institutional investors

There are a couple of intriguing quotes in How Forest City Decided to Become a REIT, a 2/3/16 National Real Estate Investor interview with David LaRue, CEO of Forest City Enterprises, now Forest City Realty Trust (which now prefers to be called Forest City).

Forest City, he said, sought "a sustainable capital structure that translated into reducing our leverage and increasing the cash flow from the business," meaning less debt and more revenue. But they didn't join the rush to REITs initially.

LaRue restated the rationale:
From a tax standpoint, we were tax efficient. We weren’t paying substantial taxes because of our depreciation and interest expense. Our taxable income was very much managed, and we could continue to grow the business and execute on the strategies we had at that time. So it was a question from investors, and as Chuck Ratner used to tell investors when he was CEO, when it’s the right time for Forest City to do this, based upon value and based upon the market, we would do it.
Another reason was they had to divest assets, including a basketball team and arena, that wouldn't qualify under the REIT structure. As LaRue put it, "a REIT has to generate a majority of its income from real estate rent and qualified income sources and real estate related income."

The REIT bonus

Forest City was one of only a handful of real estate companies operating as C Corporations, and is now among 198 REITs traded on the NYSE. Said LaRue:
I think as you look at investors and analysts, Forest City Realty Trust as a REIT is a business they understand. They know we have to distribute and pay a dividend based on taxable income. That is a benefit to shareholders. So we have common structure that is familiar. There are requirements to operate. A certain percent of your income and your assets must be qualified assets. So what it does is allow us to continue to have the market believe that we are remaining focused in our core businesses, which are in those qualified real estate businesses.
That should draw more investors, including institutional ones, especially since REITs must distribute a larger percentage of earnings in dividends, and Forest City has resumed a dividend it suspended in 2008. And that should drive a higher stock price. (So far, it's gone down and then back up this year.) One analyst recently upgraded the stock from "Sell" to "Hold."

Harvesting losses

As I wrote 1/13/15, the previous August, on a conference call with investment analysts, Forest City Enterprises was asked about REIT plans.

"It's a process and an issue we continue to look at," LaRue said. "We still have substantial NOLs [net operating losses] that allow us as a C Corp to continue to be very tax-efficient... As we go through repositioning, and go through non-core asset sales, it gives us some additional flexibility."

In the future, LaRue said last August, "lower levered portfolio and less development on our pro-rata share... bringing in strategic partners, will point to us becoming a taxpaying entity," which means they will have used those NOLs. "We haven't picked a date, but we're heading there [toward a REIT] over that time period."

In other words, losses--including paper losses calculated through depreciation--were very helpful.

Friday, May 20, 2016

State environmental monitor: developer mainly in compliance, but new tactics coming, including signage for trucks

Beyond the security issues raised at the 5/17/16 meeting (video) of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Commission, several issues regarding the state’s oversight of project community impacts were raised.

Notably, it was disclosed that, despite a generally good record of compliance with the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC) aimed to avoid neighborhood impacts, a state monitor has recommended new tactics to limit idling trucks and other neighborhood impacts.

Still, the developer does not seem to be at risk for penalties from Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project.

In context

Jennifer Bienemann of environmental monitor HDR said her firm serves as “independent mitigation monitors on five other projects” in the city, and “the program for Atlantic Yards is by far the most robust, thorough, and expansive in scope.” (Here's her presentation, also at bottom.)

For example, they visit other projects once a week, but this one four times a week. Other projects generate a monthly site report, while this requires weekly reports.

(Of course, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is likely larger, and more likely to encroach on a residential neighborhood. Note the various problems documented under the #BCIZA tag--Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance--on Instagram. Also note that the recent revised MEC was developed after HDR, though finding the developer was generally in compliance, agreed more could be done.)

Bienemann described how HDR observes of various mitigation measures, including dust suppression, emission requirements, wheel washing, truck routing, truck queueing, “path noise controls,” and use of noise compliant materials.

“As a result of a request from HDR and ESD for the OEM [company’s On-Site Environmental Monitor] to expand the scope of the performance metrics and contextualize incidents of noncompliance, the metrics were revised in the spring 2015,” she said. “The data shows a range of approx 90 to 100 percent compliance.”

That sounds good, but it’s a tight fit, of course.

Dealing with challenges

“Even though the metrics show a very high level of compliance across the site, this is a construction project,” she said. “And with over 50 trucks coming to and from the site each, a very active construction site site, there are bounds to be incidents of noncompliance, and issues and challenges that present themselves as construction continues to ramp up.”

Issues include noncompliance with truck routes, idling, queueing requirements, and noncompliant concrete trucks being sent to the site, as well as “situations which could have been avoided if advance notice was given to OEM team to ensure proper protocols and mitigation measures were put in place.”

To improve compliance, she said, “the developer has committed to having the contractors provide written notification that protocols provided to individual subcontractors, vendors and trucking companies,” as well as plans to install signage along the Pacific Street queue area and perimeter fencing, which will warn of potential banning if protocols are not followed.

That sounds like an improvement, but does arrive somewhat late. There was no mention of sanctions against the developer.

Bienemann cited “a minor increase” involving ten noncompliant concrete trucks coming to the site since January 1, out of hundreds of such trucks. “The developer is requiring that the contractor turn away any potentially noncompliant concrete trucks unless there are extenuating circumstances that are conveyed to the OEM or developer ahead of time.”

A number of situations could have been avoided with advance notice to the OEM, she said,
including the use of noisier equipment, noise-dampening materials not being added, and “limitations in truck turning movements and oversize trailers which required revisions to the truck route.”

She also said construction managers are now required to convey the MEC requirements to workers not required to attend quarterly training.

The recommendations, she said, “were developed as a result of areas where we were seeing repeated incidents of noncompliance and where we thought there was something that could be done about it.”

Following up

AY CDC board member Jaime Stein cited repeated evidence on Instagram and from community members that noncompliance with truck protocols seems "to be a major quality of life issue.” She asked if the new signage was in place.

Bienemann said no: the recommendations were agreed to in April, and some are being implemented now. “We have a meeting next week to talk with the developer and OEM about more of the specifics, about exact language for signage, having OEM upload written confirmation from contractors.”

Stein, looking at HDR’s most recent quarterly report (from 2015), noted that most incidents were resolved quickly, but asked why 17% took up to one month and 3% took longer to resolve.

Bienemann suggested there might be “potentially structural problems,” such as fugitive dusting for which a maintenance plan then needs to be developed.

She noted that “the MEC does not cover mitigating dust from paved area” but HDR, working with the OEM and the developer, agreed it required a maintenance plan, which was developed just last week.

Atlantic Yards CDC HDR Presentation 05 17 2016 by AYReport

More synergy: Barclays Center tenant WPIX partners with promoter on boxing show, presented by arena's Brooklyn Boxing

A press release from WPIX, via 15Rounds.com, reproduced below verbatim, shows more synergy between sponsor Barclays Center and building tenant WPIX:
PIX11 PARTNERS WITH DIBELLA ENTERTAINMENT TO AIR BROADWAY BOXING PRESENTED BY BROOKLYN BOXING SATURDAY, MAY 21ST

New York, NY – May 18, 2016 – PIX11 is pleased to announce it has partnered with DiBella Entertainment, one of the top boxing promotional companies in the world based in New York, and Barclays Center, Brooklyn’s landmark sports and entertainment arena, to broadcast “Broadway Boxing: Presented by BROOKLYN BOXING,” a 90-minute special airing on Saturday, May 21. Sponsored by BROOKLYN BOXING, Nissan of Queens, Optyx, and Azad Watches, “Broadway Boxing” will air directly following the PIX11 broadcast of the New York Mets’ home game against the Milwaukee Brewers, which starts at 4:10 p.m ET.

Hosted by boxing expert and play-by-play announcer Brian Custer and PIX11 Sports Anchor Andy Adler, “Broadway Boxing” will feature a look back at some of the most exciting moments of the series, voiced by award-winning actor Danny Aiello, and a recap of the March 30th 10-round New York State middleweight title matchup between local prospects Chris Galeano, of The Bronx, and Devaun Lee, of Queens. Galeano and Lee will be in the PIX11 studio at Barclays Center to discuss the aftermath of their heated contest.

“Broadway Boxing” will also include an interview with Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment, who launched the “Broadway Boxing” series in 2004 as a combination of live programming and taped-delayed broadcasts. “Broadway Boxing” is currently the longest running independently produced boxing series. DiBella will delve into the history of the series, the importance of club shows and how the grassroots nature of such allows the sport to thrive.

“Broadway Boxing” will feature a segment hosted by PIX11’s Andy Adler on women’s boxing, with fighters Heather Hardy, who is undefeated in six fights at Barclays Center, and Amanda Serrano in studio giving their thoughts on the growth and development of women’s boxing and the challenges females continue to face in what has predominantly been a male-driven sport.

The broadcast will preview the eagerly anticipated Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter WBA welterweight title bout that will be televised live by SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS from Barclays Center on Saturday, June 25.

“As PIX11 continues to be a local destination for sports, we are pleased to announce our second boxing special,” said Rich Graziano, President/GM, PIX11. “‘Broadway Boxing’ will air in partnership with DiBella Entertainment, presented by BROOKLYN BOXING, Nissan of Queens, Optyx, and Azad Watches, and give boxing fans a behind-the-scenes look at local boxing talent, while reaffirming our commitment to bring the highest quality sports programming to our viewers.”

“We have worked for 12-plus years developing the ‘Broadway Boxing’ brand in New York and throughout the country,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “It is the finest local television boxing series in the US, showcasing New York area and international talent and developing future stars. We are thrilled to partner with PIX11 and to introduce the series to its New York viewers. PIX11 is quintessentially New York and a media force in the tri-state area. Under Rich Graziano’s leadership, this is evidenced by its local sports programming. ‘Broadway Boxing’ belongs on PIX11.”

Sponsored by:

ABOUT PIX11
Founded in 1948 and owned by Tribune Broadcasting, a division of Tribune Media, WPIX-TV (PIX11) has long been regarded as a groundbreaking station in New York. In 2006, PIX11 became the flagship station of the CW Television Network and PIX11’s award winning news, successful primetime programming, off-network sitcom favorites, public affairs shows and outstanding event coverage have contributed to the station’s success. The station has been honored with numerous awards for excellence including nearly 300 Emmy® Awards (two for Outstanding Morning News Program and multiple Awards for Outstanding Newscast.) PIX11 also has a long history of local sports coverage and in 2015 became the broadcast home of the New York Yankees. PIX11 is also the broadcast station of the New York Mets, since 1999. In 2014, PIX11 announced a long-term, exclusive content and marketing partnership with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. PIX11 is also home to the New Jersey Lottery drawings. PIX11 engages with audiences across multiple social platforms; find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pix11news, on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope: @pix11news. For more information visit www.pix11.com.

ABOUT DIBELLA ENTERTAINMENT
In May of 2000, Lou DiBella launched DiBella Entertainment (DBE), a full-service sports and entertainment company, which has become one of the most successful promotional entities in boxing. Serving as matchmaker, television distributor, marketing advisor, and promoter, DiBella has developed an exciting stable of championship caliber, world-class fighters. DBE clearly established itself as an industry leader with the successful launch of its monthly-televised “Broadway Boxing” series in April 2004. Prior to becoming a promoter, DiBella held an 11-year tenure as the Senior Vice President of HBO Sports. He is also a well-known fixture in the film industry, having worked as an Executive Producer for the film “Love Ranch”, as an Associate Producer on “The Fighter”, and making his acting debut in “Rocky Balboa”. The President and Managing General Partner for the Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team, DiBella proudly wears his 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series rings, as his team is the class AA affiliate to the San Francisco Giants. In 2014, DiBella was inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. You can find DiBella Entertainment on Twitter @loudibella and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DiBella Entertainment. For more information, please visit www.dbe1.com.

ABOUT BROOKLYN BOXING™
Upon opening in 2012, Barclays Center brought major championship boxing back to Brooklyn after more than 50 years. Over the past four years, the BROOKLYN BOXING platform has hosted more than 100 bouts and more than 20 world title fights while giving local fighters their own shot in the spotlight. In April 2016, BROOKLYN BOXING extended its brand by creating an active wear and lifestyle apparel line that is available at www.BrooklynBoxingShop.com. BROOKLYN BOXING is proudly presented by AARP.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

As de Blasio defends "agents of the city," new scrutiny for advisor Rosen (who also reps Forest City)

From the Times, De Blasio Pressed to Clarify New Adviser Role: ‘Agent of the City’
City Hall described the ['agent of the city'] designation amid mounting scrutiny over its shielding of communications between the mayor and Jonathan Rosen, whom the counsel to the mayor described at a news conference on Wednesday as an “agent of the city.” Mr. Rosen, who corresponds and meets with the mayor regularly, is also a principal at a public affairs consulting firm, BerlinRosen, whose clients include real estate developers and nonprofits.
...The notion of designating a special class of unpaid advisers — many of whom also represent clients with business before the city — appeared to be an unusual, if not novel, approach to city governance, former officials said. City Hall, however, was careful to clarify that “agent of the city” is not an official designation.
...The determination rankled government watchdogs, who have taken issue with the mayoral consultants paid by the Campaign for One New York, in part because some of their clients do business with the city. “The public has no guarantee that he or other outside consultants are not discussing that business with the mayor,” said Susan Lerner of the nonpartisan Common Cause, referring to Mr. Rosen. “Or that he is using what he’s learned from the mayor for the benefit of his clients.”
Which include Forest City Ratner, the developer of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

Some official criticism

The Wall Street Journal reports, in New York City Mayor Averts Disclosure by Naming Special Advisers:
Robert Freeman, executive director of the Committee on Open Government, a state panel that is responsible for overseeing the state’s freedom-of-information law, said case law allows a consultant who is retained by a government agency to be treated like a government agency.
But if Mr. Rosen and these other advisers haven’t been retained by city government or paid by city government, they “can’t be characterized as an agent of the city,” Mr. Freeman said.
Rosen and others "have each received money from the mayor’s campaign or nonprofits aligned with him," so:
On Wednesday, when asked whether Mr. Rosen is paid by the city or private clients, Mr. de Blasio suggested the question was “willfully missing the point.”
Not so sure about that. If Rosen is paid by Forest City, why wouldn't he discuss business with the mayor?


Barclays Center (belatedly) releases May 2016 event calendar

A resident asked me what was going on at the arena last Sunday, since the event was not listed on the Barclays Center event calendar for ticketed events.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, an annual Falun Gong conference was "expected to bring upwards of 9,000 practitioners from around the world to Barclays Center."

The May event calendar for the community, belatedly released Tuesday night, simply mentioned a "private event," without details.

(Could it be the sensitivity to publicizing an organization in conflict with the Chinese government, given that Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park majority owner Greenland Group is significantly owned by the government of Shanghai? A resident reports that a pedestrian manager from Sam Schwartz Engineering said, after consulting a document, that the event was for the "Eastern U.S. Buddhist Studies Association," which I have not been able to find listed as an alternate name.)

It's unclear why the calendar wasn't released before the month began, but the delay did allow the arena to mention--in the preliminary calendars for future months, below--the recently announced Barbra Streisand concerts in August.

In May 2016, the arena has six concerts, four graduations, one comedy event, and one "private event," aka that Falun Gong conference. The largest events have already passed: Justin Bieber concerts. But this weekend should be busy with the Bad Boy Reunion concerts.

If that doesn't seem full, it's certainly more than May 2015, when there were only two concerts, as shown in the graphic further below. This year the Barclays Center had a much busier winter and early spring than ever before, given two sports teams, as noted at bottom.

The May 2015 calendar





Current calendars for June, July and August

These surely will be augmented. Note two graduations in June, as well as the NBA draft.


Note the Hillsong church conference in August, as well as the Streisand concerts.


In March and April

I neglected to publish the March 2016 and April 2016 calendars.







When a General Admission arena show takes over the public sidewalk

The review at Radio.com described the show 5/17/16 of The 1975 as a lively arena rock spectacle, with "kids forming their loyal ocean at the foot of the stage, stomping frantically onto the floorboards and snapping giddy photos in the smoke machine-created haze."

Thing is, the General Admission line, as shown in the video below, took over the Atlantic Avenue sidewalk snaking east to Sixth Avenue hours earlier, past the site for the B4 tower, narrowing access for neighbors.

Can't blame the kids for wanting to get a good look, but consider: whether a residential building, as long planned, or an office building, as now planned, is built, such arena policies create even more of a conflict.

Coming Friday and Saturday nights: Bad Boy Family Reunion shows mean "security and crowd control" measures, many vehicles

This Friday and Saturday night, the Bad Boy Family Reunion hip-hop shows, from approximately 8 pm to midnight should draw 14,000 people to the Barclays Center and could cause significant local disruption.

Because of "External Production Activity" on Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue between Flatbush and Sixth Avenues, there will be "a significant police presence," including unspecified "security and crowd control measures."

A "significant number of vehicles servicing guests, talent and event staff" is projected.

There will be "full deployments of Barclays Center Guest Relations, Pedestrian Traffic Managers and NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs) outside the building to assist with traffic and general event management." We'll see how many violators get fined.

Expect updates on the Barclays Center and the NYPD 78th Precinct Community Affairs Twitter accounts. Terence Kelly of Barclays Center Community Affairs (tkelly@brooklynse.com) can be contacted if any event/arena operations issues require attention.