Barclays Center Patrons Urinate All Over Park Slope, Locals Say

By Leslie Albrecht on October 18, 2012 7:02am 

PARK SLOPE — Now that's a splashy debut.

Neighbors say patrons at the newly opened Barclays Center are using local sidewalks as urinals, even peeing on a community garden across from the new arena.

"It was a cesspool," said one perturbed resident. "The stench was so bad, it was there the next day."

The public urination complaints were aired at the first meeting of the Barclays Center quality of life committee this week, where local groups sat down with arena representatives to discuss how the new venue has affected the neighborhood since its opening in September.

City Council members Letitia James and Stephen Levin said their offices have been flooded with complaints about public peeing, especially on Pacific Street and South Portland Avenue in Fort Greene. Others at the meeting reported seeing public urinators as far away as Third Avenue.

A greenthumbed resident who tends the Brooklyn Bears Community Garden on Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue said she watched in horror on the arena's opening night when a patron almost relieved himself on some of the garden's greenery.

"He was about to release himself on the bushes and I told him, 'Hey, the plants!,'" said Michelle R., a member of the garden who didn't want her last name used. "He was right by the rose bushes, poor babies, a few feet from the grape vines I planted this year."

The 29-year-old garden serves as an oasis in the hustle and bustle of downtown Brooklyn, complete with a goldfish pond and vegetable patches, Michelle said. Concerned about how the Barclays Center could affect the flora-filled patch, she stationed herself inside the garden on the night Jay-Z performed his first concert across the street on Sept. 28.

The garden's fenced entrance, tucked on a dimly lit stretch of Pacific Street, seemed to be a popular target for urination, and looked like a toilet by the end of the evening, Michelle said.

"We're concerned, not just for the garden, but for the community as a whole, that's why it's very good that we're meeting with the people from Barclays Center, the state, and elected officials," Michelle said of the quality of life meetings, which will happen regularly.

"I believe if we continue to work with them, in time things will get better."

Another resident pleaded with officials to send a water truck to hose down the urine-soaked Pacific Street sidewalk where his two young granddaughters play.

"Everyone on the block is complaining about it," said the resident, who gave his name only as K.W.

"It smells up the block. It's been noticeably worse since the arena opened. It was just totally disgusting. In New York City you don't accept that kind of uncivilized behavior."

One woman from a local neighborhood group said she'd also heard a complaint about public defecation.

Arena representatives said they're aware of the deluge of complaints and will take steps to clean up the situation.

More lighting will be installed along Pacific Street on a dark stretch of the block behind Modell's, and arena officials will remind store employees to do a better job of keeping the sidewalk clean, said Ashley Cotton, vice president of external affairs for Forest City Ratner Companies, the arena's developer.

"Lighting is just a deterrent to any kind of bad behavior," Cotton told DNAinfo New York. "If we can remedy it, we're certainly going to make all efforts."

Neighborhood organizations that have noticed public urination should contact arena representatives, who will inspect the pee problem areas firsthand, Cotton said at this week's meeting.

"We should take a walk around with you guys on an arena night to look at it again, because this is just gross," Cotton told local groups.

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