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.
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.