June 17th, 2011
Barclays Buys Up Naming Rights to NYC Playgrounds
New signs advertising the Barclays Nets Community Alliance at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens has caused a stir among some parents in the community.
The signs, which appeared on the fence earlier this month, display the Barclays Center (a.k.a. Atlantic Yards) and Nets logos, and the slogan “Building Success Together.”
Parent Melissa Dadourian, 42, felt uneasy with the signs’ placement.
“It’s kind of weird to have advertisements outside of a public school,” she said.
The signs are part of a partnership between Barclays, the organization behind development of the new Barclays Center sports arena, and Out2Play, a non-profit organization that partners with donors and corporations to renovate schoolyards in public schools throughout the city. Renovations on the P.S. 58 schoolyard were completed in November.
Nick Higgins, 33, says he’s never been comfortable with advertisements on school property. Even the addition of Snapple machines in school cafeterias, he says, is too much of a corporate encroachment.
“There’s a certain amount of corruption inside public schools and certain institutions that I’m not happy with,” he said.
The Barclays Nets Community Alliance was formed in 2007 as a way to support local community organizations. Barclays spokesman Joe DePlasco says that the company has worked with Out2Play since 2008, selecting a group of playgrounds from a list of yards that the department says are in need.
DePlasco says there is no requirement for a school to put up the signs – P.S. 29 on Henry Street, another school sponsored by Barclays, doesn’t have them. But according to an email release from P.S. 58 parent coordinator Joan Bredthauer, the signs are part of an agreement between the school and Barclays.
“I do not know why they were not received for display sooner,” Bredthauer said in the email.
Still, some parents have no problem with the two signs, which are located on the corners of Carroll Street and First Place on Smith Street. Jan Kowalski, 50, wishes there was more community outreach from large businesses.
“If there’s community support for public schools, I think that’s a good thing,” Kowalski said. “I support the business community supporting public institutions, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a sign on school property.”
And some parents, like 30-year-old Richard Dilone, have never even noticed them.
“If it betters the community, then why not?” Dilone said. “And it ain’t even that big of a sign.”