With a number of new arenas around the country, owners, architects, builders and C.E.O.’S know that the arena’s location is as important as its fans. And the location is also as important as the area’s culture and style. Madison Square Garden is well known for capturing the city’s spirit and grit, and the Staples Center is also well known for capturing that Los Angeles, star studded swag, that a number of players often agree to play for, for just that reason. The new Barclay’s Center in downtown Brooklyn captures an aura of its own and omits Brooklyn style, flavor and toughness in every aspect.
In front of the Barclays the pavement is built in similar Brooklyn brownstone architecture, which gives you the feeling of walking around in neighborhoods like Park Slope, Sunset Park, Prospect Park, Cobble Hill and others. People who grew up in Brooklyn that now live in other Burroughs or in Long Island, will be time machined to an era where fire hydrants spit water all over the street and on ecstatic children and when chilling on a stoop was the thing to do. The space in front of the Barclay’s is also wide enough so that fans can just chill and post up in regular Brooklyn fashion. Unlike the Garden, which has a pretty narrow front and a sidewalk that connects to other streets.
The Barclays is plotted on a large piece of concrete that’s only purpose is to serve as a sports complex as well as a boxing venue, concert hall and multi purpose entertainment mega complex. It doesn’t have a sidewalk connecting to other streets. It does however have a train station entrance right in the front, that seems to be a mouth that spits fans right into the walkway of the entrance. There are other train stations in a one or two block radius so that regular commuters won’t have to intrude or mix with fans, like Madison Square Garden’s arena.
The black and white jerseys that the Brooklyn Nets play in, also captures that fuggadeaboutit attitude that Brooklyn is known for. The team itself seems to represent Brooklyn’s grittiness. Players like Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace look like they all could have grown up playing in Flatbush. Their style of play also seems to represent that down the block, elbow in your mouth, and no-calling-foul type of play which is all too familiar for a Brooklynite. Brook Lopez and Chris Humphries are like kids who grew up in Bay Ridge that learned fundamentals before the street style of play and simply learned “street” by travelling to Coney Island,Brownsville, Red hook and Sunset Park for tournaments.
The prices at the arena represent the slow but sure progression of Brooklyn. THEY ARE NOT old school BROOKLYN-LIKE. Well, maybe boerum hill, DUMBO,Carol Gardens and Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn-like. But these neighborhoods only represent Brooklyn in the contemporary fashion. The aura captures that old Brooklyn swag but mixes it with the new hipster, contemporary style, rising prices and gentrification.
A cheeseburger, soda (that you can no longer get in a large size) and fries run up to about $19. The cheeseburger and fries are mediocre at best. The soda lives up to its over sugared and syrupy fountain-like greatness, that one usually gets at these venues. But, the whole point of getting this heart attack in a cup is to enjoy a large amount of it. Bloomberg probably has something going on with the outlawing of large size drinks, but he shouldn’t have banned them at games. There is nothing like a huge fountain coca cola, cheeseburger and fries during a game, or a beer for that matter. Sports venues specialize in junk food and are held to a higher standard than the average products you get at a grocery store. If you don’t know what I am talking about, watch an episode of Modern Marvels on the history channel to find out all about the Gourmet quality snacks produced at these type of venues.
The seats in the higher level are definitely Brooklyn-like, Red hook projects, Brownsville, Marcy projects, Flatbush and Coney Island Brooklyn-like, dangerous and tight, with a lot of people cramped up in a small area. The seating in the higher levels are so cramped and narrow that getting up to go to the bathroom or stepping out is a very dangerous task. For someone who is bigger or taller than average the task is almost impossible. This should concern management because the problem is without a doubt serious. What’s Brooklyn without some danger?
As of now the Barclays Center is still raw.