Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"They say they don't want the arena... bagel."

Our investigation of the Atlantic Yards brought The Civilians from barbershops to community forums, and one of the places in between was A.R.E.A. Bagel, located at 55 5th Avenue in Park Slope. In an interview, the owner describes a controversy that erupted when he was choosing the name:

"When I was building the store, the news pop out “Arena is coming in”. I did not know, my designer, he say you know, “Arena is coming, is a plus point, name Arena.” I say “No, I’m not sure, I just want to go with Slim’s Bagel, like in Queens.” He say, “No, no, no, go with Arena”. I said “Fine, put the name in.” But then, the people start complaining. They say they don’t want the Arena…Bagel. So in the papers, on the internet. It was about 15 to 20 running sites about this controversy. About the bagels, yes."

- From our interview and IN THE FOOTPRINT

Here's an early report saying that Park Slope residents were going to protest the A.R.E.N.A. Bagel and the owner's response: "'I can’t do anything that goes against the neighborhood because I’m a neighborhood guy. These are my customers and I can’t go against them.'"

Here's the Brooklyn Paper's reporting about when the name changed:
"The good news is that the sign-maker agreed to change the design for free. And Aggarwal says he intends to hang the absent “N” on the wall of his shop, surrounded by newspaper clippings of the controversy."

If anyone has the links to the protest sites, please forward them along!

Here's Park Slope reported today that the name might be CHANGING BACK to A.R.E.N.A. - there's a pic of the new sign in the post, wherein the name includes all the periods as well as the controversial "N." Will Park Slope let this happen, or will the independent business owner rule the day? Is he reclaiming the word ARENA for the people, or playing into Bruce Ratner's hand? Speak, Brooklyn, speak!

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