We have been following the negotiations between Basketball City and a coalition of neighborhood organizations, pressing for more access to the privately-run, and not yet opened, facility at Pier 36 (at the end of Montgomery Street). Next week, a Community Board 3 committee will be asked to weigh in on a draft agreement, detailing court discounts and other accommodations for members of the community, especially low-income residents living near the waterfront.
Joel Feingold, an organizer for the advocacy group, GOLES, says while there’s an agreement “in principle,” it has not yet been signed. CB3’s parks, recreation and cultural affairs committee will be asked to endorse the terms of the deal (Thursday at 630pm). The board previously signed off (reluctantly, some say) on the city’s decision to award Basketball City a 20+ year lease for the pier. The community organizations fought the plan on the basis of a 1994 legal agreement requiring Pier 36 to be “permanently dedicated for use… as a community recreation facility,” CB3’s approval was contingent on an understanding that low-income residents would have access to the courts and to community meeting rooms, but the city apparently never followed through to formalize the company’s commitments.
We have reached out to Basketball City for their perspective – no response yet. Last summer, the company’s owner, Bruce Radler, told us renovations on the pier would soon begin and he hoped to open sometime before the end of the year. However, there are no indications an opening is imminent. In September, the company and Nike sponsored the Lebron James “More Than a Game” Community Day at Pier 36, a promotion for a documentary film. Some time ago, Basketball City posted a video from the glitzy event on its YouTube Channel. The video indicated the “state-of-the-art” facility includes “7 basketball courts, a merchandise store, locker rooms and catering facilities.” A graphic at the end of the piece said the facility would “accommodate more than 2600 people for events and include a 15,000 square foot deck overlooking the East River with views of downtown Manhattan.” Have a look: