The Barclays CenterMarch 12, 2010
Since 2006 I have been listening to one rumor after another about a proposed arena for the New Jersey Nets which would be located in Brooklyn, New York City. Like most, I met this idea with disbelief and condescension.
First of all… Brooklyn?! Being a New Yorker, it’s hard to imagine any new construction, especially a building of that size in the middle of the already overcrowded borough.
Secondly… It’s the Nets! Since their transition from the ABA(American Basketball Association) to the NBA(National Basketball Association) in 1976, they’ve been one of the armpits of the league. Not only because they play in the smelly state of New Jersey, but also because the franchise has simply stunk for the past 25 years(other than 2002).
Even with well known Brooklynite Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z as part owner of the Nets, the idea of a brand new arena for the team in NYC seemed like more fantasy than reality.
After many a challenge from local property owners regarding the states use of eminent domain, which allowed the private property to be condemned, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges finally put the arguments to rest. He ruled in favor of Forest City Enterprises(the investment team partially funding the new arena) and allowed the ball to get rolling on the project.
On March 11, 2010 the ground breaking for the project began. The Barclays Center, named for the London, England-based bank. is being designed by world-renowned architect Ellerbe Becket. Becket, who is also responsible for the arenas used by NBA teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, and Cleveland Cavaliers, is said to be planning on using very unique architecture and original techniques in the designs for the building.
The Barclays Center will be located smack in the middle of beautiful Park Slope, Brooklyn on a large platform over the MTA(Metropolitan Transportation Authority)-owned Atlantic Yards at Atlantic Ave.
Developer, and Nets part-owner since 2004, Bruce Ratner mentioned it would bring a “vibrant and futuristic” look to an up and coming area of NYC.
The new facilities will feature a rooftop park open only to residents of the Atlantic Yards complex. It will be ringed by an open-air running track that doubles as an ice skating rink in the winter with beautiful panoramic views of Manhattan.
On another note, reports have also been released that the only Long Island based professional sports team, the New York Islanders, could also be becoming tenants of the Barclays Center sometime in the future. This would be nothing new for either team, as they both shared the Nassau Colliseum located in Uniondale, NY from 1972-1977.
It’s a great time for NY teams. We may not be winning much(other than my beloved Yankees), but we all have shiny new homes to play in. New stadiums for both the Mets and Yanks are only a year old, a new state of the art stadium for the Giants and Jets to share will be ready for the 2010 NFL season, a $500 million renovation of Madison Square Garden for the Knicks and Rangers in the near future, and ofcourse a brand new arena in Brooklyn.
Overall, as a Knick fan looking forward to winning the Lebron lottery, this news can do nothing but hurt our chances of getting the King. At the same time, I can’t help but be curiously excited about the new complex in Brooklyn.