State officials tried to defuse tension about security at Atlantic Yards, saying that the NYPD won’t need to close streets around the Nets arena because police don’t close roadways next to Madison Square Garden on game nights.
The only problem with the promise is that it’s not entirely true: the NYPD did shut a roadway used as a taxi stand and pedestrian walkway between the Garden and Penn Plaza for security reasons.
While it’s not exactly Eighth Avenue, that closure did raise some eyebrows.
Eight elected officials wrote a letter to the mayor and governor in October asking for “an independent study of the security issues and project design of the Atlantic Yards project,” and the response they got from the Empire State Development Corporation about MSG wasn’t what they had in mind.
“It was rather curt and it was dismissive,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Prospect Heights). “I’ve continued to ask for a follow-up meeting.”
Not only that, Brooklyn elected officials said that the comparison made by ESDC President Avi Schick between Madison Square Garden and the proposed Atlantic Yards arena is like comparing basketballs and hockey pucks because MSG is not glass-walled, does not sit in a residential neighborhood and is more than 20 feet from busy avenues as the Atlantic Yards arena will be.
James and state Sen. Eric Adams (D–Park Slope), Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D–Park Slope), Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Cobble Hill), Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Prospect Heights), Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Cobble Hill), state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D–Boerum Hill) and Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) have focused on security ever since Newark’s police department announced street closings near that city’s new arena because its glass faÃ§ade is 25 feet from roadways and a possible terror target.