Satmar Dinner Returns to Pier 36; Local Residents Protest Street Closure Permit

Pier 36, December 2016.

Pier 36, December 2016.

During the past couple of days, we have heard from local residents who are outraged about a huge event returning to Pier 36/Basketball City this coming weekend. It’s the Satmar Hassidic sect’s annual dinner for 10,000 people. At about this time last year, the group descended on Pier 36 (at Montgomery Street). Residents complained about gridlock on South Street and and on other streets, about people parking on sidewalks and blocking fire hydrants.

On Wednesday, the 7th Precinct’s Community Affairs Office sent an advisory to people in the general area of Basketball City.  This year’s dinner will take place tomorrow (Saturday) evening. According to the 7th Precinct, the organizers of the Talmudical Academy event obtained permits to close streets and to allow parking on Gouverneur and Water streets.


Residents of Gouverneur Gardens and the Vladeck Houses are fuming about the disruption. Here’s a flyer posted on the Vladeck tenant association Facebook page:


Following last year’s event, Basketball City’s mangers and representatives of the NYC Economic Development Corp. (which operates the pier) went before Community Board 3 to discuss ongoing crowd control problems at the facility. In June, the firm producing a large NBA awards show at Pier 36 went to CB3’s parks committee with a crowd management plan. But the Satmar organization did not do that. Community Board 3 only hear about the dinner this week.


Next Week’s NBA Show, Drake Performance Lead to Lockdown at Pier 36

December 2016 event at Basketball City.

December 2016 event at Basketball City.

Mark your calendar. Monday, June 26 (one week from today) will be an excellent day to stay far away from South Street. At a recent meeting of Community Board 3’s parks committee, organizers of the first-ever NBA Awards Show detailed their plans for the star-studded event at Basketball City/Pier 36. Bottom line: NYPD’s anti-terror squad will have this area of the Lower East Side on lockdown.

Not only will most of the NBA’s top stars be in attendance, but there are performances scheduled from Drake and Nicki Menaj. The show will be broadcast live on TNT.

Josh Shull from Dick Clark Productions, which is orchestrating the show, appeared at last Thursday evening’s committee meeting. He was joined by Basketball City owner Bruce Radler and representatives of the NYC Economic Development Corp., which oversees operations at the East Side pier. They tried to appease frustrated community residents, who have watched in dismay in recent years as Basketball City has transformed into a large-scale events destination.

Basketball City/Pier 36, Dec. 21.  A gathering of the Satmar Hasidic organization  caused major parking and traffic problems.

Basketball City/Pier 36, Dec. 21. A gathering of the Satmar Hasidic organization caused major parking and traffic problems.

The organizers say that the NYPD, concerned about recent global acts of terrorism, has insisted on a “safety perimeter” around Pier 36. They will be closing the area Between Montgomery Street to Rutgers Street along the East River, subjecting all vehicles to searches.  Montgomery Street below Cherry Street will also be restricted. Streets will be shut down from 5 p.m.-midnight. There will be a check point, complete with bomb sniffing dogs, at Pike Street. Pedestrians won’t be allowed to walk on South Street, not even on the north side of the block. Red carpet arrivals will take place from 6-8 p.m., with the show beginning at 9. Up to one-thousand guests are expected.

Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3’s district manager, acknowledged that Basketball City gives back to the community (Radler offers scholarships and sponsors basketball camps and makes donations to local non-profits). She added, however, that CB3 — in endorsing Basketball City’s lease at Pier 36 years ago — “never supported it to become an events center.”

One woman in the audience noted that cars have been ticketed and towed following previous events at Basketball City. “Are you going to take care of our tickets?” she asked of the Dick Clark Productions rep.

Marc Richardson, a local tenant leader, saId, “We don’t want any more street closures! You should be confining your events to your own property.” He also alluded to longstanding gripes about Basketball City’s takeover of Pier 36, even though the area had been designated as a community facility (the basketball center is not open to the general public). “You should be finding a way to bring back more to this community,” said Richardson.

In the end, event organizers promised to post signs in the neighborhood giving residents ample warning about next Monday’s event.

Photo courtesy of two Bridges Tower.

Photo courtesy of two Bridges Tower.

Residents Lodge Parking, Traffic Complaints After Huge Event at Pier 36

pier 36 3

It was a chaotic scene last night at Pier 36/Basketball City, where the Satmar Hasidic sect was hosting a huge dinner. There was gridlock on the streets surrounding the large events space as  the drivers of school buses, tour buses and private cars looked for parking spaces.

We’ve been hearing from residents in the area, who were not at all pleased when “no parking” signs went up in public spaces around Basketball City a couple of days ago. An email to community leaders from the 7th Precinct indicated that 10,000 people were expected and that the “city (administration) granted (the organizers) permission to put ‘no parking’ signs up on multiple streets in the area… There will be a huge police presence at the location.” The event was expected to go until 1:30 a.m.

Nancy Ortiz, tenant leader t the Vladeck Houses, has been asking questions about the event all this week. We drove around the area with her last night. Her observations to us in a text message this morning: “Building ramp entrances on Water Street were blocked, hydrants were blocked on Water and Gouverneur streets, exhaust from idling buses was wafting into apartments, car alarms were going off from 10 p.m.” Ortiz said, “It was just a mess. This is mayoral patronage, affecting the quality of life for residents and community.”

According to the “News in Satmar” twitter feed, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer was among the guests.


— News In Satmar (@NewsInSatmar) December 21, 2016

pier 36 2

Local residents have been sending us photos. Via Facebook, Y Ay Sin, noted: “It’s a shame what’s going on at Basketball City tonight. They took up all the public parking and blocked all the sidewalks for a religious event! Montgomery Street, Water Street and Gouverneur Slip, plus no sidewalk space for anyone to walk.”

pier 36 facebook

William Coloma sent along photos that showed cars parked on sidewalks and blocking fire hydrants. He complained to 311 last night but received a reply stating, “The police department responded to the complaint and with the information available observed no evidence of the violation at that time.”




UPDATE 8:50 a.m. Coloma points to the following item that popped up around midnight on the @NyCityAlerts twitter feed.  An officer was struck by a vehicle.  

UPDATE 4:52 p.m. According to the 7th Precinct, the driver who struck the officer was not an attendee of the Pier 36 event. He’s going to be all right. The officer, from 83rd Precinct detectives squad, hurt his hand and leg. 


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NADA Announces Exhibitors For Spring Art Show at Pier 36

NADA 2015 at Basketball City.

NADA 2015 at Basketball City.

Once again this year, the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is returning to Lower East Side for its spring art fair. Details were announced today for the May 5-8 event at Basketball City on Pier 36.

There are more than 100 galleries represented from around the world. But, as in past years, the neighborhood is well represented. LES galleries in the mix include: 11R, Nicelle Beauchene, Bodega, Feuer/Mesler, Jack Hanley, Hester, Invisible Exports, Lyles & King, Essex Flowers and the Abrons Arts Center.

You can find out more information on NADA’S website, and we’ll have details as the art fair approaches.

Local Residents Demand More Outreach, Community Access at Pier 36

Go New York Tours Launches Harbor Cruises From Pier 36

Technology Mogul Charles Simonyi Parks Yacht at Pier 36


If you’ve wandered down to Pier 36 near Montgomery Street in the last few weeks, you might have seen this enormous yacht docked behind Basketball City. 

NADA Art Fair Returns to Pier 36 This Weekend – It’s Free to Look!

How Do You Feel About Using Pier 36 For Docking? Speak Out Next Week

Pier 36 Docking Plan Gets Chilly Reception From CB3

Pier 36, which includes the Basketball City complex, is getting into the boating business.   Not everyone is overjoyed.

Repairs Begin at Basketball City; Armin Van Buuren New Year’s Eve Show Still On

Workers began replacing the floors at Basketball City this week.

Last week we noted that Basketball City on Pier 36 sustained a lot of damage during Hurricane Sandy.  The wood floors covering seven courts inside the recreational facility, which just opened this past summer, were completely ruined.  This week we stopped by to check out the progress of repairs and to talk with Basketball City owner Bruce Radler.

The good news, he said, is that the building is in good shape structurally.  The new floors are being shipped in batches during the next few weeks.  It will probably be mid-January before the job is complete.  A couple of transformers were also lost in the storm, and Verizon has still not been able to restore regular phone service.

Photos: Day 2 of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”

“The Roots” perform Saturday night at “All Tomorrow’s Parties. Photo by Bahram Foroughi.

We have more photos this afternoon from All Tomorrow’s Parties — “I’ll Be Your Mirror” taking place at Pier 36, at the end of Montgomery Street.  Last night’s highlights included The Roots, the Afghan Whigs (frontman Greg Dulli co-curated the festival) and Swedish folk singer Jose Gonzales.  Photographer Bahram Foroughi has been covering ATP for The Lo-Down. Have a look at Saturday night on the East River.

TLD Interview: Barry Hogan of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”

There are big happenings at Pier 36 on the East River this coming weekend. All Tomorrow’s Parties, the highly regarded  indie music festival is coming to the Lower East Side Friday-Sunday.  The festival, which began in Great Britain, is co-curated this year by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs and features Frank Ocean, the Roots, Phillip Glass and many more artists.  Recently, we posed some questions to festival founder Barry Hogan about the decision he and his wife/partner (Deborah Kee Higgins) made to move an American version of the event from Asbury Park to the LES.

Frank Ocean Confirms All Tomorrow’s Parties

Frank Ocean.

The “All Tomorrow’s Parties” music festival has announced new details for its September 21-23 extravaganza at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side. Rising R&B star Frank Ocean has been confirmed for Friday night (hopefully he won’t cancel at the last minute). Ocean was picked by festival curator Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs.

Other confirmed artists: Hannibal Buress (joining the Friday comedy lineup) and a second performance from ex-Sonic Youth member Lee Ranaldo.  The Afghan Whigs headline on Saturday night.  There will also be performances from The Roots, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, José González, The Antlers, DJ Questlove, Charles Bradley, The Make-Up, Dirty Three, Mark Lanegan Band, Hot Snakes, Thee Oh Sees (to name a few).

The American edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties is moving from Asbury Park to Pier 36, at the end of Montgomery Street (otherwise known as Basketball City). Passes for the weekend cost $199. Some single-day tickets are available.  More info on ATP’s web site.


“All Tomorrow’s Parties” Comes to Lower East Side

Big news today in the music world — The Lower East Side is the new home of the American-version of “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” The highly regarded British music festival is moving from Asbury Park to Pier 36, the Basketball City facility at the end of Montgomery Street.

The festival takes place September 21-23. Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli is this year’s curator.  Performers include: Philip Glass with Tyondai Braxton, the Roots, Lightning Bolt, the Make-Up, Godspeed You Black Emperor, the Dirty Three and the Antlers, Chavez.