Neighbors: Brooklyn Expo Center cars parked across sidewalks

The Brooklyn Paper
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Greenpoint’s new convention center is causing parking chaos, as vendors and guests are regularly taking up blocks of sidewalk with their cars, angry neighbors say.

The Brooklyn Expo Center opened last September at 79 Franklin St., and since then Franklin and Oak have been repeatedly clogged with illegally parked vehicles, which peeved locals say shows a lack of respect by the venue’s management.

“The trouble is starting already,” said Greenpoint gadfly Rolf Carle.

A Brooklyn Expo Center rep acknowledged that event attendees have been parking across the sidewalk, but claimed that it is not the business’s responsibility to stop them.

“It is definitely something we do not want happening,” said manager Michelle McConnell. “It is up to the police to do something about it. [The drivers] did not get any type of ticket or anything for doing it.”

The company now plans to hire more security to stop people from parking across the sidewalk in the future, McConnell said.

One neighbor worried that the parking problems could endanger disabled people.

“It is hard enough for an able-bodied person to get down these streets. What will someone in a wheelchair do?” Shayla Poppel said. “They should not be allowed to do this.”

The Expo Center’s main event space takes up an area equivalent to six basketball courts, making it the largest such facility in Brooklyn, and a separate five-story building next door is still under construction.

McConnell said the center is set to expand further and possibly add a performing-arts venue.

The Brooklyn Expo Center is among the latest projects of controversial development mogul Joshua Guttman. Guttman’s waterfront Greenpoint Terminal Market mysteriously burned to the ground nearly a decade ago, and the creation of the convention complex caught still-suspicious area residents by surprise.

The NYPD did not return requests for comment.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
if there were more bike racks people would not use their cars.
March 16, 2015, 6:24 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Greenpoint police are probably too ashamed to dare ticket a car for parking on a sidewalk. Ever walk past the 94th precinct?

Wait. Why am I ascribing a typical emotion such as shame due to hypocrisy to cops? They probably think sidewalks are legal parking spaces.
March 16, 2015, 8:35 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I see no problem with this. If bicycle drivers are riding on the sidewalk then these cars have every right to park their also no matter what you say. Do as they say and not as they do, so bicycles should stop talking like they never flout the laws. If the police don't have a problem with this then it's not against the law. Stop complaining and just be happy that these cars aren't on the road creating traffic.
March 16, 2015, 8:40 am
Danny from Queens says:
Ty from pps has a point. Stick a bunch of bike racks in front of the building every 6-8 feet. Even if nobody bikes there, the empty racks will act as a row of bollards, physically preventing people from parking cars on the sidewalk, and keeping the space clear for pedestrians.
March 16, 2015, 8:43 am
Ron from Queens says:
Only the beginning. Wait till deblahzio's plan for large scale housing along the waterfront and no additional transportation (a new subway!) options hit greenpoint and other areas. I love Greenpoint now but it's charm may be ruined in the future.
March 16, 2015, 9:12 am
Guest from NYC says:
"If bicycle drivers are riding on the sidewalk then these cars have every right to park their also no matter what you say."

There's a huge difference between a bicycle and even a small car in size. Bicycles don't obstruct sidewalks unless the racks are poorly positioned. These autos photographed are literally making it impossible to use the sidewalk for any other purpose.
March 16, 2015, 10:32 am
boof from brooklyn says:
In there future, there will be automatic towing performed by nuclear-powered drone helicopters for stuff like this.
March 16, 2015, 10:39 am
ty from pps says:
future nothing - they have that now.
March 16, 2015, 10:59 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Yes, it makes a lot of sense for vendors and exhibit attendees to ride their bikes to the Expo Center. After all, with a decent-sized basket on the handlebars, the vendors can easily transport all of their display and for-sale items to the venue, and the visitors can easily transport all of their give-away swag and purchases. (Insert emoticon of sarcasm here) Having had to stock my share of exposition space, I can tell you that bikes are not an option for most vendors.

Vendors and guests to major exhibitions generally need to use cars and vans for practical purposes. They should not, however, be parking on the sidewalk. If the Expo Center would be responsible if someone trips and falls on the sidewalk outside their venue, why wouldn't they be responsible for an injury caused on the same sidewalk by an illegally parked car? If I can have a car towed that blocks my driveway, why can't they tow the offending vehicles (well, aside from the fact that they don't want to upset their vendors or customers)? This is definitely an enforcement problem.
March 16, 2015, 12:25 pm
ty from pps says:
you need a bigger basket.
March 16, 2015, 12:40 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Sean -- It seems clear that none of the comments above about bicycles were serious. Though, Danny makes a good point about using bike racks as 'street furniture' to block this activity. Bollards that have more than one use.

Your second paragraph is 100% correct. The venue needs to provide proper loading and unloading facilities. They also need to enforce improper parking by their customers.

Why were they given a permit for "No Parking Sunday" signs?? Obviously the venue's management requested this so the vendors (the convention center's clients) could use the parking spots -- so they are clearly responsible for the blocked sidewalks.

Mr. McConnell should know that he is responsible for the permits he requests!!! The NYPD should be ticketing HIM, not the owners of the cars.
March 16, 2015, 12:49 pm
TOM from Brooklyn says:
In the real world the Expo Center is by-definition a destination for regional commercial activities. The vendors will require small trucks to deliver equipment and merchandise, and the visitors will come from far-and-wide--beyond biking distances, and not where there is access to any convenient public transit. The MTA will not likely provide daily service on a weekend not will they run shuttle buses and ferries. Think personally-owned-vehicle.
March 16, 2015, 1:01 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Tal you are so delusional and this is nothing to do with bicycles.
March 16, 2015, 2:05 pm
Guest from NYC says:
These vehicles should have been parked at an angle along the edge of the street rather than on the sidewalk. I find this behavior extremely inconsiderate, forcing pedestrians into moving traffic. Even the drivers have to walk in the street once they exit.
March 16, 2015, 3:38 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Sidewalk parking occurs throughout the city. One driver parks that way then others follow suit. Monkey see monkey do. Of course lack of ticketing makes them think it's okay. Now consider ticketing agents have quotas so if no tickets have been issued it makes me wonder. You could fill your monthly quota in a few minutes.
March 16, 2015, 4:25 pm
Walter from Greenpoint says:
Boy do I love when the BP has a reporter such as Danielle, creating a story and blowing it up.

The local mom & pop shops enjoy and benefit from all the business that's coming in this direction, contradicting what one "activist" as Rolf states, he likes the way it was today, block after block was "no parking" reserved for the movie productions.

Why didn't she talk to the merchents in the area?

as a resident of the area for over 40 years three generations, one parking issue and you guys go nuts, you guys rather see empty buildings and drunks, we finally see businesses and jobs coming back.

The expo is a blessing to the nieghborhood

The NY Post should drop this rag
March 16, 2015, 5:52 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Pro-safety for pedestrians and being against anti-social behavior does not equal "anti-car."
March 17, 2015, 9:29 am
KM from Greenpoint says:
There are still drunks and empty buildings in there is also an expo center (and many, many upcoming high rises) with inadequate parking.
March 17, 2015, 9:46 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
The answer to development in Greenpoint is improving transit -- something like a streetcar/tram line running down Franklin/Kent (and/or Wythe) and turning onto Metropolitan Ave, connect with the L and G trains at Lorimer and the East River Ferries at N 6th.

The answer is not more parking and more cars, like KM suggests.

The answer for a city of 8.5 million people that is quickly growing to 10 million is transit-based development plan. Take the lead from world class cities around the globe.
March 17, 2015, 11:18 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How do you think NYC grew to 8.5 million in the first place? It was because of jobs, and those with jobs drive to them, b/c who wants to show up at work all sweaty and besides many of those that bike are those with ample time on their hands unlike the taxpaying motoring majority. In any case, most of us could not walk or ride to work as we live further away so that is not a real option in the first place. I never heard of a job created by a cyclist, unless you consider being a mod over at a "job".
March 17, 2015, 12:55 pm
Hipster from Corn Country says:
Tal, doesn't everyone in NYC have easy access to public transportation? At least that's what I read online before I moved here. "Minutes from Manhattan..."
March 17, 2015, 2:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, what did I miss after being so busy today with no access to a computer for most of the day until now let alone yesterday? Personally, I feel that it's wrong to have all those cars parked if it's illegal when space can be found for them by the convention center itself. Unfortunately, when it comes to convention, much of the equipment has to be brought by commercial vehicles especially to make it one trip. As much as many of you wished that the car culture would die tomorrow, it just won't and will be here to stay just like the WNBA. Since bicycles were brought up, this doesn't excuse them from breaking the rules either. On a side note, I have a feeling who has been using my name for the time I wasn't hear, and those that attacked me are the suspects considering that some of them commented just minuets apart from that.
March 17, 2015, 4:03 pm
HPK from Greenpoint, Brooklyn says:
The NYPD No Parking Sign pictured in the article is from from an event (perhaps a very large wedding) that took place at the Expo Center on Sunday, March 1 (they are plastic coated and were posted by the Center on February 28; many are still 'taped' to nearby light poles, trees, etc.).
The afternoon and night of that event resulted in total gridlock on several adjacent streets and intersections; complete with the related prolonged and repeated horn blowing, u-turns, curb and sidewalk 'hops' and wrong way driving on one way streets to get there and / or find somewhere to park. The end result was the illegal parking of cars in (private) driveways, in crosswalks and more important in front of just all of the fire hydrants on the nearby blocks. Fortunately for the residents (it is believed that) there were no fires or other emergency events that day or night and, I guess, 'luckily' for the event attendees not a single parking ticket was issued...
March 18, 2015, 9:19 am
FK from Greenpoint says:
First - there is public transportation on Franklin St. (B32 bus) to accommodate the participants. It stops right in front of the building. All the new bus stops took away 3 parking spaces for each one. Second - does this building have a valid Certicate of Occupancy? The only one I could find is for 'manufacture of plastic products' not an exhibition space.
March 18, 2015, 11:07 am
GDP from Greenpoint says:
I live directly on the corner of this "Expo Center" Franklin and Noble St. We assuredly will be breaking our apartment lease on an apartment we have enjoyed for 4 1/2 years. During events, all day and all night, we count at least 10 to 20 honks and long blowing horns per minute. They go all the way up and down Franklin St. and historic and highly residential Noble street. The fact that this Expo center was allowed to be placed in a residential neighborhood on roads that cannot handle the traffic for large scale events INCENSE me. No, it is not the managers of the Expo center's fault that event attendees honk, blare horns, park on sidewalks, and are just all and out rude...but it IS someone's fault that this thing was built in an area that cannot sustain it traffic or parking wise. A playground is on the corner where people refuse to now bring their kids because of constant jarring of horns, and drivers sitting gridlocked in crosswalks so people are forced to walk in streets to pass. A bus stop is also directly on the corner. The busses can't get through, and to make matters worse, people park in the bus lane. Entire blocks of small businesses and residential buildings will entirely abandon this area, even though it was supposed to boost the the neighborhood. This Expo center better learn to direct, and manage or better disperse traffic flow, and be forced to have enough parking or something's got to give. I am semi in tears right now gearing up my nerves to live through this weekend's next "event" at street level blaring horns every minute of the day. So much for Noble and Milton street's tree filled oasis. Poor Greenpoint.
March 20, 2015, 12:15 pm

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