Nosy Neighbor: What’s Getting Built Now at Canal and Varick?

There’s another large temporary construction project at the northeast corner of Canal and Varick. Back in August, Nike erected a tennis court there. This is different. We noticed a few workers surveying the lot on Friday. We came in yesterday and saw that a large-scale structure has been built over the weekend, much bigger than the structure that was built for Talking Transition back in 2013. Whatever it is, it is well financed. Large construction crew and a lot of equipment. Any idea what it is? I’m guessing it’s a basketball court tied to the upcoming NBA All-Star game coming to New York City. —Peter (Luke also wrote in to ask, and sent the above photo)

You’d think anyone constructing something huge would have to announce it in some form, but the city agencies that touch this (the Department of Buildings and the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management) don’t post much online. The CECM assigned it a street-activity permit number, 193552, and the Department of Buildings permit says this:

Install tents, platforms, bleachers, trussing, for the NCS event, located at the vacant lot of 76 Varick, scheduled for Jan 8 to March 2, 2015.

NCS could mean just about anything, according to the Internet—and in fact it might be a red herring. So I called the number posted for Hudson Square info on Trinity Real Estate‘s website (it owns the 76 Varick lot). I was told that the construction was for “some kind of basketball-related games and demos, and it’s going to come down after the weekend the NBA opens.” That doesn’t really make sense, because the NBA season started in October 2014 and it ends sometime in June 2015.

Peter’s guess that it related to the All-Star Game weekend (Feb. 13-15), meanwhile, looks right. The official events are at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. I asked Peter, who presumably knows more about sports than I do, if he had any thoughts:

I had read somewhere that leading up to the game there will be all kinds of related events and two basketball courts were going to be erected in the city and some former NBA players will be interacting with fans and playing some games. The tennis court was built last August prior to the US Open by Nike and that gave me the idea that this might be one of the two basketball courts. Whoever is building this is spending a lot of money on it.  Not sure what NCS is, unless that is the company building the court.

So this is going to be a bit inconclusive, but I think we can make an educated guess that the court(s) being built are for events related to the All-Star Game festivities—likely unofficial ones, organized by a sponsor (the way Nike’s court was a satellite event for the U.S. Open). I tried emailing the NBA press office; we’ll see how that pans out.

UPDATE: “Nike is building basketball courts for a promotional event,” tweeted the NYPD 1st Precinct in response to this post, adding that it’s “the same concept [as] last summer only it was for tennis.” And Peter sent over a pic.

UPDATE #2: The NYPD 1st Precinct tweeted a correction: “NBA is hosting this event. Nike is a sponsor. Event will be Feb 13 to 16. Permits are through March 2 for breakdown.”

76 Varick 011315 by PeterGot a question? Email it to or call/text 917-209-6473.

Previous Nosy Neighbor posts:
What’s That Concrete Thing at 443 Greenwich?
What’s in the ground-level space at 11 Warren?
What’s the Supermarket?
What’s getting built on top of 20 Warren?
What is Citigroup doing to its building?
What’s happening at 172 Duane?
What’s the restaurant opening at 9 Maiden Lane?
Are these new trees dying?
Is the Odeon lowering its bar?
What’s that on top of the New Museum?
What’s that new building next to 30 Park Place?
Why are there strollers left overnight at Tribeca Pediatrics?
Is Peace & Love going to reopen?
Is this rooftop addition legal?
Who’s painting those faces all over?
What’s moving into 415 Broadway?
When will 87 Leonard be done?
What are those panels on the sanitation garage?
How many fake restaurants are on Seamless?
Is a 60-story hotel going up on W. Broadway?
Why is 15 Warren painted that way?
Where do Laughing Man’s profits go?
Are dogs allowed at outdoor restaurant tables?
When will FiOS come to Tribeca?
What’s up with 60 Hudson?
Will the W. Broadway construction ever end?
What’s happening at 87 Leonard?
What goes on at 444 Greenwich?
Why are Goldman Sachs’s lights always on?
What’s the story with the Batmobile?
Any update on the Chambers construction?
Who’s responsible for the snowflake lights?
Is 93 Reade adding a floor?
Is 28 N. Moore going residential?
Why does cobblestoning require sprinklers?
Do newspaper boxes need permits?
Why does 161 Duane say “Whalebone”?
What’s the story behind those Harrison townhouses?
What are those white things at 137 Franklin?
What’s that thing at W. Broadway and Leonard?
What happens to old cobblestones?
Are buses allowed to idle on Laight?
What’s happening with the Verizon building?
Is N. Moore getting cobblestoned?
Can you recommend any Tribeca picture books?
Why are those shuttles on Greenwich?
Who enforces sidewalk-café regulations?
What’s going on at 27 Desbrosses?
What are those black pellets on Pier 25?
What do the characters on 47 Vestry mean?
Where is the Special Forces monument going?
Who’s moving into 151 Hudson?
What’s up with those Verizon carts?
Where was the original Blues Bar?
Who are the guys in the geeky pants?
Why are the windows above Ponte’s boarded up?
Can we walk on the West Street medians?
What’s going on in 157 Hudson?
What is this P.C. Richard & Son Theater I keep hearing about?
What’s the story behind the lights at 289 Church?
What’s the Dream House at 275 Church?
How come every every film and TV shoot seems to have a trailer with doors marked “Lucy” and “Desi”?



  1. I’d love to see you revisit the Nosy Neighbor you did on Verizon FiOS in July 2013. They’re still giving out the same talking points about demand and approvals. My building has had both for a year and I’ve been pushing to the extent that I can. But I feel I’ll get nowhere without calling forth the power of The Tribeca Citizen.

    • I’d love that, too. Wasn’t it in Verizon’s contract with the city that Manhattan was supposed to be wired up with fios by the end of 2014? I’d love to know how to get it in my building. I haven’t figured it out.

  2. We got FIOS…
    Not due to any special effort or privilege. I think it mostly has to do with the backbone being available near your building. If it is, and you prove a need and a demand they tend to go ahead and run the last 200 ft of wire to your building.
    I.e if a building next to you has FIOS then it is relatively easy to get yours wired up too. If not, then you probably have a wait ahead while they get the underlying infrastructure ready and in place