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You and your friends are welcome to hang out at the colossal plaza in front of the Barclays Center, but you’ll be kicked out if there are more than three of you.
Forest City Ratner officials dropped a bombshell on Wednesday night when they mentioned the possibility of a no-group policy at the new plaza — meaning that groups of four or more will be kicked out of what designers hope will become Brooklyn’s most popular outdoor community center.
“[Our] Atlantic Terminal Mall policy allows security to disperse groups of four or more — that creates a safe and comfortable experience,” Forest City Executive Vice President MaryAnne Gilmartin, said on Wednesday night as she revealed the plaza plan to the public.
“We will continue to make policies that will create that same experience at the plaza,” she added.
Gasps rang out at the public meeting when Gilmartin made the announcement, but their cries went relatively unheard — Forest City officials took a few questions during the meeting, but refused to talk to reporters afterward.
The rule essentially gives cops the same leeway they have at the crime-ridden, Bruce Ratner-owned malls down the street: the ability to kick out a kid who is under 21 if he happens to gather with three or more other friends.
Forest City officials have said that the policy stops groups of kids from turning into all-out angry mobs at the mall — but at the end of the day, enforcement is up to a police or security officer’s discretion.
Earlier this week, Ratner touted the plaza as “one of Brooklyn’s great public spaces,” one that will host events, movies, and maybe even the Brooklyn Flea or a greenmarket. That’s a different setting than the mall, where the goal is to get customers in, make them pay, and get them out to make room for the next batch of wallets.
It’s unclear whether cops would break up crowds at, say, a movie screening, but one thing is clear — Ratner’s concern over groups of kids does not go unwarranted. The Atlantic Terminal Mall is a breeding ground for criminals, as our comprehensive police blotter data make clear.
There have been at least 17 crimes reported in or around the mall in the past 90 days, according to police data. On Monday, a knife-wielding psycho got in an argument and slashed a man in the neck just outside. On Sept. 18, some jerk stole a woman’s purse inside Ratner’s notoriously crime-infested Target. On Sept. 16, a cruising caper stopped his car near the mall, got out and stole a man’s phone, and drove away.
The list goes on.
On Thursday, Forest City officials said that it’s too soon to speculate about whether the plaza policies will match the mall’s rules verbatim.
“We will work closely with the local precinct and security experts to ensure that the plaza is safe, just as the police and security officials ensure that other public spaces in Brooklyn and throughout the city are safe,” said Joe DePlasco, spokesman for Forest City Ratner. “As of now, we have not developed a policy for the plaza, but our hope that it is used by lots of people in many different ways — all of them safely.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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