This shit is awesome. Big up to Jay-Z for his involvement with this. Truly Inspiring.
With the snip of some giant shears, Brooklyn’s shiny $1 billion arena opened for business Friday — and a new era for the borough was ushered in.
The long-awaited Barclays Center’s debut began with plenty of hoopla and a cloud of confetti as jubilant mega-developer Bruce Ratner welcomed both swells and supporters to the centerpiece of his audacious plan to remake the heart of Brooklyn.
“We have a place where, for a few hours a day, a fan, a patron, a guest, can have their troubles left behind and they can be whooshed away for a couple hours,” he crowed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Barclays Center is the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Ratner said he was especially proud to be returning a pro sports team to a borough that hasn’t had one since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles 55 years ago.
“We needed to keep our promise to bring the first sports team to Brooklyn since 1957 and we did it,” a beaming Ratner said.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov likened the opening of Barclays to the debut of the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Not everyone in their lifetime gets to enter a project that changes the face and the destiny of a city,” the Russian mogul said. “Maybe those who were at the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, they could say we saw a symbol being born. And I think we’re all witness to such an event.”
Ratner was also joined by allies like Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who ran interference for the controversial arena and the larger $4 billion Atlantic Yards project.
“This is going to send a loud and clear message that Brooklyn has arrived as a center of entertainment, thrilling big-time sports and thriving commerce,” Bloomberg said.
Then Ratner took everyone on a quickie tour of his creation — an 18,000 seat, 675,000-square-foot edifice that took about two-and-a-half years to build and will host its first Nets game on Nov. 1.
Fittingly, the Nets’ opponent will be the New York Knicks. For the Knicks, who play in Madison Square Garden, it will be an away game.
While the word Brooklyn appears nowhere on the brown metallic skin of the area, the borough’s brand is everywhere inside.
Famous names like Nathan’s hot dogs, Junior’s cheesecake and Brooklyn Brewery will be on tap, but visitors will also be able to buy meals from lesser-known Brooklyn outfits like the Avenue K Deli and BK Bangers & Dogs.
There are 2,000 cheap seats, costing $15, set aside for game days. But for the big shots, there are luxury suites with plush carpeting and black leather seats and hi-def TV’s that overlook the herringbone-pattered hardwood on which the Nets will play.
Ratner’s arena is built on what had once been a thriving Prospect Heights neighborhood and some of the people who fought the futile nine-year battle to forestall the wrecking ball held their own counter-demonstration outside.
Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, who is one of those who lost his home, said they will hold Ratner to his promises of providing thousands of “permanent jobs” and hundreds of affordable housing units to the area.
Asked if he would ever consider going to a Nets game, Goldstein replied, “No (expletive) way.”
Ratner has created 2,000 post-construction jobs, but only 200 of them are full-time. He said they will be breaking ground soon on the first of 16 skyscrapers slated for the 22-acre site — and that half of the 363 apartments in that 32-story building will be for low- and middle-income tenants.