Tag Archives: Marty Markowitz

Barclays Center opens to fanfare, protests


| hchin@homereporternews.com

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Heather J. Chin

After a decade of debates, lawsuits, hearings and more, Brooklyn officially welcomed its new sports arena, Barclays Center.

It was a festive atmosphere inside the 675,000-square-foot arena, where business, political and sports leaders from around the city and state gathered on Friday, September 21, to get a peek at the 18,000-plus-seat basketball court and the state-of-the-art event facilities, as well as see which 26 Brooklyn restaurants were setting up mini-outposts inside.

The first item on their list was checked off immediately, as Bruce Ratner, chairperson and CEO of developer Forest City Ratner, took the stage in the mezzanine area and a switch was flipped, illuminating the basketball court, which looked dazzling with its shiny floors, perimeter-wide ticker, and four-screen Jumbotron hanging above center court and the Brooklyn Nets logo.

“We needed to buy the team, buy the [rights], finance it, weather the worst economic climate in decades, to bring [it through several] state administrations, to build the entire infrastructure out of train tracks… and we did it,” exclaimed Ratner, who was joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and CEO Brett Yormark to cut the celebratory ribbon.

“The ghost of Ebbets Field is gone and this is a new era for Brooklyn,” declared Markowitz, who has been a staunch advocate of the arena as an engine for job creation, new businesses and future housing developments, despite the years of lawsuits and protests from residents concerned about the impact of an arena on quality of life, and of the city’s use of eminent domain to evict people.

“I believe it will help local businesses, commercial streets will be busier than they have been, and there will be a lot of flourishing,” he said, adding that he does “not believe it will have a negative impact on the area,” since “this is a commercial area, not a bedroom community.”

Carlo Scissura, CEO and president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, agreed, calling the day an “incredible” one for the business community.

“The opening of Barclays Center at the crossroads of Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and the BAM Cultural District will fuel economic development, create jobs and spur business growth across the entire borough,” he said. “I look forward to working with [them] and can’t wait to cheer on the Brooklyn Nets!”

The Brooklyn Nets is the first major sports team in the borough since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957. A transplant from New Jersey, the team will have as its main local opponent, the New York Knicks, playing at Madison Square Garden.

Barclays Center Executive Chef Ralph Romano said that food lovers will also find plenty to love at the arena, where notable Brooklyn eateries such as Nathan’s Famous, Junior’s, L & B Spumoni, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Fatty Cue, Calexico, and Brooklyn Brewery will have popular dishes for sale alongside standard stadium snack and drink fare.

Romano described the food options as “freshly cooked on-site,” stressing that “all those details lead to a superior eating experience.”

Barclays is also aiming for a superior customer service experience, training its employees under the Walt Disney Company’s Disney Institute.

It wasn’t all congratulations and cheers, though, as dozens of residents and activists from the surrounding communities of Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Bedford-Stuyvesant protested outside the arena, disputing Markowitz’s claim that the area is more commercial than residential.

“This is not what we were promised. We were promised an arena with full-time jobs, living-wage jobs, affordable housing, and open space. None of those things marketed as benefits to the community have happened,” said Danae Oratowski of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

“So it’s like waking up one day and realizing that you live across the street from Madison Square Garden,” she went on. “No one wants to begrudge the opening, and everyone wants to celebrate, but we spent hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and soft costs that were not intended to fund a sports facility. We paid the money, but we haven’t gotten the benefits.”

The coalition includes the Fifth Avenue Committee, BrooklynSpeaks, the Brown Community Development Corporation, FUREE, Develop Don’t Destroy, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

According to Bloomberg, Ratner, and Markowitz, the first housing complex in the Atlantic Yards project will break ground on December 18.

The brown-rust-colored arena, sits at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, and features a sweeping donut-shaped overhang that points towards the newest subway entrance to the recently renamed Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station.

Barclays Center opens to the public on Friday, September 28, with a concert by native Brooklynite Jay-Z, aka Shawn Carter. The first Nets basketball game is set for November 1.

Carlo Scissura to lead Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce today announced that Carlo A. Scissura, known to countless Brooklyn residents and community leaders for his tenure as Borough President Marty Markowitz’ highly-regarded Chief of Staff, will become the new President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, effective September 1, 2012.

“I can think of no better candidate to lead the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce than Carlo Scissura,” said Peter Meyer, Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and President-NYC Market of TD Bank. “Carlo brings to the table an unmatched combination of leadership skills and experience and his depth of knowledge about the borough and the issues facing our business community will serve the Chamber—and our more than 1,000 members—exceedingly well.”

Incoming Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Carlo Scissura said, “With all of the exciting changes going on in Brooklyn, I can’t think of a better time to take on this wonderful new opportunity at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, which has advocated for Brooklyn’s business community for nearly a century. We have witnessed the transformation of Brooklyn into a great place to live, work, play, visit and do business, and the time is now for the Chamber to lead Brooklyn as it continues its spectacular rise into a true global city and an international brand. As an attorney, small business owner, former educator, and counsel and chief of staff to Marty Markowitz—the best borough president Brooklyn has ever seen and ever will see—I have learned firsthand the needs and concerns of business-people, merchants and entrepreneurs throughout our borough. I thank Marty for his guidance, his belief in my abilities to lead and, most of all, his friendship. Also, my sincerest gratitude to the Chamber Board, Chairman Peter Meyer and Search Committee Co-chairs Denise Arbesu and Gil Cygler. I look forward to joining the dedicated staff at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce as we take on the challenges of our members and Brooklyn’s diverse business community.”

Carlo A. Scissura is a life-long resident of Brooklyn. Prior to joining the Brooklyn Borough President in 2008—first as General Counsel and then as Chief of Staff—Carlo established a law firm in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, specializing in real estate transactions, estate planning and corporate affairs. He is a former member of Brooklyn Community School Board 20 and has served on the Board of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and the Brooklyn Public Library. Carlo also was a member of the New York City Charter Review Commission, served on Brooklyn’s Community Board 11, and was the Vice President of the Federation of Italian American Organizations.

“The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role fostering economic development throughout the borough, and providing low cost access to health insurance for Brooklyn’s small businesses,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “There is no one better to take the helm of the Chamber than Carlo Scissura. He represents the best of everything Brooklyn has to offer and has continually turned big ideas into real action and results. I know he will do the same for the Chamber and I congratulate them on a superb choice.”

“Just like a proud parent has mixed emotions when their children leave home, I am sad that Carlo will be leaving Borough Hall but happy for Brooklyn businesses,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I am extremely proud and excited that Carlo is going from our chief to President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that Carlo is a Brooklynite through and through. As my Chief of Staff for the last four years, and Counsel before that, Carlo demonstrated expert managerial skills, unparalleled knowledge of Brooklyn and the determination to get things done. I know that Carlo will use those same skills at the Chamber of Commerce. And when Brooklyn’s businesses do well, all of Brooklyn comes out ahead. To that I say: Bravo!”

Previous Presidents of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce include Carl Hum, who left the Chamber earlier this year, and Kenneth Adams, who now serves as President & CEO of New York’s Empire State Development.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is a community of members that supports and advocates for its member businesses and promotes a healthy and robust business environment in Brooklyn. The Chamber’s membership includes local, regional and national businesses with customers or business interests in neighborhoods across the borough.