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MTV silence about Video Music Awards has locals scared of a VM-ess

MTV silence about Video Music Awards has locals scared of a VM-ess
Barclays Center in Prospect Heights
File photo by Paul Martinka

The Video Music Awards are landing in Brooklyn in less than two weeks and secrecy around the event has Barclays Center neighbors scared MTV’s moon man plan has all the makings of an Apollo 13.

Prospect Heights residents say they have no idea what to expect when the award show touches down at the arena and, having heard next to nothing from the music network, some fear the worst. The internationally televised event is likely to fill the 18,000-seat arena at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues on Aug. 25 and locals say that network officials have not answered even the most basic questions about street traffic, noise pollution, construction, and other possible disruptions before, during, and after the massive bash.

The absence of answers has community activists scared that idling limos and grandstands full of screaming fans will make the awards show do damage no Lady Gaga sighting can make right.

“We don’t know what our nights will be like and what our days will be like,” said Peter Krashes, president of the Dean Street Block Association.

MTV and the Barclays Center held an invite-only meeting for residents in June, but company officials were unprepared to field simple queries like how many cars to expect, who will move along idling limos, or how the loud crowds will be contained, meeting attendees say. The award show was on the agenda of another meeting in July organized by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the arena, but officials from MTV and Mayor Bloomberg’s office did not even bother to show up, according to locals, leaving them feeling caught in a bad romance.

“Every question one could ask, it was like, ‘Well, the relevant people aren’t here,’ ” said Tom Boast of the Carlton Avenue Block Association.

Residents said that the only concrete details they have about the celebrity blowout arrived in the form of a two-page letter from the network, spelling out road closures and parking restrictions for the days surrounding the gargantuan gala. Sixth Avenue will shut down between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street, beginning on Aug. 23, according to the letter. The street closures will balloon to encompass eight Prospect Heights blocks between Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Bergen Street, and Vanderbilt Avenue on the day of the awards show and “crowd control” will be in effect, the letter said.

Just what will happen on those blocks remains a mystery and neighbors say the note did little to allay their concerns.

“How much noise are the fans going to make? What is going to happen to our tree beds?” asked Krashes. “Where is the rerouted traffic going to go?”

Sources familiar with the plans said that the music network plans to line Dean Street with grandstands, but MTV spokesman Jake Urbanski would not confirm that.

“That is still to be determined,” Urbanski said.

Nor would the network spokesman reveal the location of the red carpet, but in the letter the network wrote that there will be “ample activity mostly along Sixth Avenue and Dean Street.”

MTV officials declined to say how much the network expects to make from this years’s awards show, which will include performances from Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Katy Perry, Kanye West, and, yes, Lady Gaga. Last year, 6.13 million people tuned in to see who would get a moon man, making the awards show edge out the Democratic National Convention for most-watched television program.

Anxious neighborhood car owners will get a break from the parking crunch, at least. MTV says it will reserve a Barclays Center parking lot on Pacific Street for residents only.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which gave MTV permits for the event, said that despite residents’ claims of radio silence, the office is in close communication with residents.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

Bad romance: Lady Gaga is scheduled to perform at MTV’s first Brooklyn Video Music Awards on Aug. 25. She will join Kanye West, Katy Perry, and a host of other celebrities at the Barclays Center event, leaving neighbors worried that their residential blocks will be swarming with little monsters.
AP Photo / Peter Kramer

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