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Whether we wanted it or not, we got our MTV

UPDATE

Now with slideshow! The first Brooklyn VMAs dazzled and dismayed, depending on who you ask

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

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On the scene: Brooklyn Paper reporter Natalie Musumeci was on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 25, tugging at celebrity shirtsleeves and representing for her community newspaper at the massive, televised event.
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Spread love: From left, Louis Vecchio, David Boyd, and Soren Hansen of Bushwick-based rock band New Politics. They describe themselves as “semi-hipsters” and say they love The Brooklyn Paper.
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Dressed to impress: Ticket-holding MTV lovers strutted to the checkpoint at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street for the Video Music Awards.
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In the flesh: Fitness guru Richard Simmons struck a pose on the red carpet. He was there to promote his new song, but we pressed him for his take on the CitiBike bike share program.
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Fist pump: “Jersey Shore” stars Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Sammi Giancola said that they do not plan to get married any time soon and that they do not care what the haters may say.
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Prodigal daughter: Bensonhurst native and “Mob Wives” star Renee Graziano strutted her stuff down the red carpet.
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All-access: Star-struck fans Jeruschka White and Megan Zehren had a VIP pass to watch the celebs hit the red carpet, which was set up behind the Barclays Center on Sixth Avenue.
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Showtime: MTV executives set up a 60-foot tall inflatable version of this year’s special edition “moonman” trophy in the middle of the Barlcays Center. The award was designed by Brooklyn-based artist KAWS.

Last night, MTV used Brooklyn as a backdrop for its blowout Video Music Awards, drawing hundreds of A-listers to the Barclays Center to perform and pose while fans packed the streets outside.

The show had its moments that will no doubt be replayed approximately one bajillion times in the next few days: Katy Perry rocked Brooklyn Bridge Park like a boxer in a children’s fantasy book. ’N Sync reunited, if only for a minute. Li’l Kim came back from the career dead. Lady Gaga wore a seashell bra.

Meanwhile, The Brooklyn Paper was on the red carpet, in the arena, and in the streets, surveying the chaos and asking the hard questions of other, less fashionable celebrities — like exercise guru Richard Simmons, who we pressed for his take on the CitiBike bike share program.

Simmons: “CitiBike is a great idea but people need to be more careful.”

Quick to clarify that he was not anti-cyclist, Simmons continued, “They have to wear helmets and watch out because people are crazy drivers.”

We also asked Bushwick-based indie rockers New Politics to define the word “hipster.”

“A hipster is someone searching for something,” lead singer David Boyd said. “He doesn’t know exactly what his position is, and it’s sort of a mix of a rebel trying to be different but at the same time trying to fit in.”

The description rang a bell.

“That sounds a lot like me,” guitarist Soren Hansen said.

The red carpet spanned the width of Sixth Avenue and MTV executives placed model Brooklyn Bridge arches at the entrance and lined the carpeted block with fake brick walls and street lights, just in case attendees forgot where they were. Brooklynites gone show-biz were happy to return for the occasion.

“I love that the show is in Brooklyn,” said Bensonhurst native and “Mob Wives” star Renee Graziano.

Some neighbors of the Barclays Center shared her enthusiasm.

“It’s awesome,” said Nilsa Grin, a 40-year resident of Bergen Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues. Part of Grin’s block was barricaded by police, who required identification to enter, but the excitement mattered more to her than the inconvenience.

“Who would have thought this would happen in our part of Brooklyn?” Grin asked.

Others complained that the crowds were too much, taking particular issue with those among the thousands gathered around the arena who took to the nearby residential area to party.

“Heard loud noise in front of the house,” May Taliaferrow wrote on Twitter. “Found VMA guest inside my neighbor’s gate smoking weed.” The crowd thinned as the awards show got under way and, despite big hype about this being the first time it filmed in Brooklyn, the banter was light on borough references. What it lacked in Brooklyn homilies, the awards show made up for with constant visual and musical nods, including spins of the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and Notorious BIG’s “Where Brooklyn At.” Commercial breaks were punctuated with video transitions that looked like slick, updated versions of the intro to Welcome Back, Kotter.

The grand finale was Katy Perry’s massive production at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, which we saw coming from a mile away.

On Saturday, hype for the awards show struck a Bushwick block where several media outlets said Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake were going to perform a secret show. Hundreds stood in the sun all afternoon on Troutman Street between Wyckoff and Saint Nicholas avenues, hopeful for a glimpse of the pop trinity. The big three never showed, but the rumors were a boon for neighborhood bars and beer stores.

“Spent all afternoon in Bushwick waiting for Beyonce, Jay-Z, and JT to play on this rooftop,” Ashley Glynn wrote on Twitter. “But they never showed up, so now I’m getting drunk.”

— Nathan Tempey, Natalie Musumeci, and Will Bredderman

Updated 10:14 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated with additional context and quotes from New Politics.
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Reasonable discourse

Johnny Hammersticks from Brooklyn says:
Excellent show. Now we get to hear all the nancies whine about traffic and noise and the arena. Waaaaaaaaaah waaaaaaaaah.
Aug. 26, 2013, 6:36 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Hey Johnny, calling someone a "Nancy" means they are a vibrant girl with a zest for living life to its fullest. So, if you are going to disparage someone, do it right. My calling you an idiot would be a good example.

People have a RIGHT to defend their property and community from public nuisance, especially when it comes from an illegal taking of property, political corruption and corporate greed. Although it sounds like the award ceremony did not severely disrupt the lives of the surround residential property owners and renters, their vigilance will go on regardless of your comments and feelings. Looks like the only one crying now is you.
Aug. 26, 2013, 1:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Johnny, this project has brought a number of impacts, and those living near it have every right to express their concerns for it. Would you like it if this was in your neighborhood and those living outside of it that you were nothing but a whinny crybaby on that? I would think not, so don't act like this on others. More importantly, I still don't get why so many blocks of streets had to be closed off for this when that seemed very excessive. Then again, you probably work for Ratner, which is why you are constantly making personal attacks on anyone who opposes or just happens to be questioning it. Still, I am waiting for you to answer my question that I placed on the other entry.
Aug. 26, 2013, 3:09 pm
ty from pps says:
Oh, Tal. Thank you so much for your very insightful comments. They are not at all an absurd stream of crazy.
Aug. 26, 2013, 4:10 pm
jay from nyc says:
I would hate it if Tal lived in my neighborhood, and I would protest and sue for him driving down my property value.
Aug. 26, 2013, 5:05 pm
jay from nyc says:
oh and Tal since you are still waiting for an answer from Johnny, I am still waiting for an answer from you on where is your proof about the BDS being Nazis and Terrorists. Come on and put up or shut up.
Aug. 26, 2013, 5:06 pm
bkmanhatposeur from brokeland says:
At the end of the day nothing bad happen. No riots, no shootings, and simply no violence.
So you got inconvienanced for a few hours....meh
Aug. 27, 2013, 8:35 am
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
@bkmanhatposeur
Nothing bad happened? well file FOI to the NYFD & NYPD find out how many 'nothing bad happened' to people that were taken to the hospital.... if you didn't live here you have nothing to say that is relevant! keep trolling elsewhere!
Aug. 27, 2013, 8:48 am
bkmanhatposeur from brokeland says:
@IntheSlope
Did anyone mained, disabled, or killed? It could have been a lot worse.
Aug. 27, 2013, 10:57 am
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
@bkmanhatposeur
YES a resident within the impacted zone (the block) IN FACT was very seriously injured & several more not as, the fact is they wouldn't have if MTV wouldn't have been here. Were you on Dean St? 6th Ave? Carlton Ave? The difference is wasn't a 'tragic' event like Boston & I know it can always be worse, but unless you were there in the impacted zone you can't say what was or wasn't! How about the thousands of people that didn't have ANY access to any public toilets for 12 hrs? really?
Aug. 27, 2013, 1:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay, property values are based on the market, not who lives there. I could counter sue you for slander if you can't prove what really caused property values to go down especially if it's on a particular person. As for your tired old BDS statement on being for terrorism, that has nothing to do with mentioning the Atlantic Yards and its impacts, but I will only say this one time only. The head of the BDS has a history of posting on the Electronic Intifada website, which is founded by Hamas themselves, so yes, they do condone their actions. Speaking of terrorism, the Atlantic Avenue transit hub was on the list of the Landmarks Plot back in 1996, and I won't be surprised if Al Qaeda has plans to do an attack right by the arena or the transit hub.
Aug. 27, 2013, 5:17 pm
ty from pps says:
HHAAHHAHAHAHA! Tal, did you seriously just call someone out for making a comment unrelated to the topic at hand!!? Oh, Jesus give me strength. That is rich.
Aug. 27, 2013, 5:47 pm

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