UPDATE, July 14, 12:52 pm:
WEEKEND TRAFFIC ADVISORY – According to the 76th Precinct, the following streets will be closed all weekend, starting at midnight tonight.
- Imlay from Veronica to Pioneer
- Conover from Pioneer to Sullivan
- Ferris from Wolcott to King
- Pioneer from Van Brunt to Conover
- Sullivan from Conover to Dead End
- Wolcott from Ferris to Dead End
- Van Dyke from Ferris to Dead End
- King from Van Brunt to Ferris
On the weekend of July 15, the population of Red Hook will triple as Formula E invades our neighborhood.
Ten teams will race a 1.21 mile course set within the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The festivities are expected to attract at least 20,000 spectators.
Launched in 2014 as the first fully-electric racing series, Formula E has drawn crowds in cities from Mexico to Marrakesh. Leading up to the Red Hook race, the organizers have tried to decrease the impact on locals as much as possible by keeping traffic and sidewalk activity at normal levels.
“Throughout the planning process, we have sought to minimize the impact on our neighbors in Red Hook,” said Formula E advisor Mike Hopper. “With the guidance of local authorities, race day transportation options have been developed to minimize impact on normal traffic and pedestrian flows.”
Formula E organizers have reached out to city agencies to help keep the couple thousand attendees safe.
“The safety of our event attendees and our Red Hook neighbors is of the highest importance to Formula E,” Hopper said. “We continue to work closely with all local authorities to ensure public and private security staff levels match the needs of an internationally renowned event.”
Council Member Carlos Menchaca, whose district includes Red Hook, wants to avoid unnecessary congestion on the streets.
Finally we might get a traffic light
“Red Hook is severely impacted by traffic and big events often overwhelm our streets,” Menchaca said. “The Department of Transportation says they will finally install a traffic light at the dangerous Van Brunt and Pioneer Street intersection where a mother and child were recently struck down.”
Menchaca wants organizers to make sure that the Atlantic Basin and Brooklyn Cruise Terminal are not overwhelmed with traffic and the pedestrians are safe.
The councilman encourages high volume events at the Atlantic Basin and Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, but only if the events are properly managed and the neighborhood is respected.
Business boom over race weekend?
Mark’s Pizza Restaurant, which is on 326 Van Brunt St., looks forward to Formula E racing in Red Hook. Tony Kokale, Mark’s owner, is also looking to increase his staff in preparation for event weekend.
“I think it will be good for business,” said Kokale. “I give thumbs up for Formula E. I am trying to hire a couple of more people to be prepared because it is going to be 20,000 people one day and the next day. If they are not hungry then I am in trouble.”
Kokale thinks that the frenzy from Formula E will be tough for traffic and hard for parking in the area, but for those two days, he hopes it will increase their business sales a little bit. He also thinks that people will walk around that weekend and ask for deliveries.
Beyond the likely increase in business that the owner foresees, Kokale is anticipating Formula E for a more personal reason as well.
“I am looking forward to Formula E because I myself am a Formula E fan,” Kokale said at Mark’s. “I race cars for fun. I can’t wait to see it. I can go there with no problem but have to see how business goes.”
Pierre Alexandre, the owner of Dolce Brooklyn (one block away from Mark’s), is also anticipating an increase in business thanks to the race.
“I expect to do better than the best day, which is the bike race,” Alexandre said at Dolce. “The race is two days, so we will add to the staff.”
Custom Gelato planned
Dolce Brooklyn will be customizing a flavor for the Formula E weekend and Alexandre believes that it will be served in a VIP lounge. The owner plans on continuing to sell in the store and hopes that everything will indeed increase.
Alexandre thinks that that the national exposure will be a plus and thinks that Formula E will bring people to the neighborhood that do not normally come to Red Hook.
“It will be a positive for the area because Red Hook will be on primetime TV,” Alexandre said at Dolce. “It will be a lot of people from Manhattan that never come to Red Hook that will be in the area. That is always positive.”
The owner envisions the NYC Ferry being a plus for the area to have for all the fans coming during the weekend. Alexandre, and fellow owner Kristina Frantz, are more concerned about delivering all of their gelato to the race area than about getting everyone to the store.
“We start on July 2 building the track,” Henderson said. “By the time we are done on July 13 it will look like a permanent race facility.” Besides the track, Formula E will construct grandstands and tent structures at the cruise terminal. Most of the infrastructure will be torn down three days after the race then rebuilt next year.
This will be the first of many races that Formula E plans to hold in Brooklyn, and they intend to have all of the materials and construction be Brooklyn-based. Fencing is the only material that will come from Europe.
“We will try to keep our roots in Brooklyn or within the five boroughs to have the truest economic impact that we can,” Henderson said. “My company, that I have hired, is Brooklyn based, so they are going to do the physical assembly and paving.”
Besides the race itself – where electric cars will drive silently at 125 mph – Formula E has programmed an Allianz eVillage fan zone where visitors can view the latest electric vehicles and hybrid cars and racing simulators, an array of food and drink stands, and autograph sessions with the drivers.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a racing simulator to win the chance of going wheel-to-wheel against the actual Formula E drivers during the eRace, which is scheduled to take place in the build up to the main competitive event.
GETTING TO THE RACE
- In terms of transportation and getting to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal that weekend, the subway, rideshare, shuttle bus, bicycle and city bus will all be various options, with some being more convenient, that weekend.
- The three different entrances will be at Ferris and Sullivan Street, Pier 11 near the Atlantic Basin Ferry Landing and the intersection of Imlay and Pioneer Streets.
- Formula E advises that people don’t drive to the event because there will not be parking on the site or in the surrounding area.
- Shuttle bus: Formula E is offering shuttle buses to the Cruise Terminal from two locations. – One pick up spot will be at the Barclays Center at the bus load area on Flatbush Ave. Carroll Gardens at the corner of Smith Street and 2nd Place in Carroll Gardens will also serve as a pick up.
Buses will depart continuously throughout the day from the Carroll Gardens and Barclays Center locations from 7:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The drop-off area at the Cruise Terminal will be closest to the entrance at Ferris and Sullivan Street. The ticket booth can be found at Ferris and Dikeman.
- Subway: According to Formula E, there will be a few subway disruptions on the July 15-16 weekend. The G train will stop at Hoyt – Schermerhorn but will not continue to Church Avenue. The G train will stop at Fulton Street, which will be a short walk to the shuttle bus at Barclays Center.
The F train will bring visitors closest to the race. Once off at Carroll and Smith Street, the shuttle bus at Smith and 2nd Place is only two blocks away. The 2 and 3 trains will also not be operating in Brooklyn.
- Formula E will offer a rideshare option during the weekend. Drop-off and pick-up will be on Dikeman Street between Ferris and Conover Street.
Rideshare: For rideshare cars, there will be no parking or a long waiting area, and all traffic must keep moving. Cars will not be able to drop-off or pick-up in any other areas. \
- Bikes: The Citi Bike station on the intersection of Conover and Coffey Street will be attended by Citi Bike staff to allow for more guests to ride Citi Bikes to the event and ensure that there are docks available for riders. This station will be the only attended CitiBike station in the neighborhood.
Formula E will be setting up a free bike valet at 202 Coffey St. where people can lock their bikes. Formula E advises people to take proper care around event traffic, to not leave their bike overnight and to follow the orange arrows for the proper route in/out of the venue.
- Bus: If taking the B61 bus to the event, the Van Brunt and Van Dyke, Van Brunt and Sullivan, Van Brunt and Pioneer, Van Brunt and Verona and Van Brunt and Seabring and Van Brunt and Dikeman stops are all within a few blocks of entrances to the race and will be open during the weekend.The advisor to Formula E strongly encourages that all ticket holders utilize public transportation to attend the race.