Skip to main content

Daily News, partner with the Barclays Center, presents 44-page special section honoring the arena (plus belated, deceptive Ratner apology to Globetrotters attendees)

The New York Daily News, sponsor of Golden Gloves boxing at the Barclays Center and sponsor of the arena plaza, today offers a "44-page special section introducing the Barclays Center," which includes a belated but slippery apology from developer Bruce Ratner to those who had to wait a long time for one show.

There's no disclosure of the business relationship, but the Barclays Center and its sponsors  (and a few others) have lots of advertising: Foxwoods, P.C. Richard, Modell's, Cookie's (with Nets gear on discount), Maimonides Medical Center, metroPCS, the Barclays Center, Bay Ridge Honda, Brooklyn Hospital Center, Queens Public TV (!), Disney On Ice, Brooklyn Cyclines, AECOM/Hunt (builders of the arena), Dello Russo Lasik Vision (official Lasik partner of the Nets), Elbow Room (new arena retailer), Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz, National Grid, and the Brooklyn Nets themselves.

Hamill on Ratner

Of course, columnist Denis Hamill gets the big one, Barclays Center: The house that Bruce Ratner built: Bruce Ratner now just wants to enjoy the fruits of a long and hard battle to build the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

And of course Hamill doesn't mention the significant public assistant Ratner got, the unfulfilled promises of the Atlantic Yards project, and the court-ordered Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement regarding the second phase of Atlantic Yards. The columnist accompanies the developer to a Barbra Streisand show:
Tonight, the successful Cleveland-born builder and CEO of Forest City Ratner no longer has to worry about eminent domain, scores of lawsuits, community protests, pickets, a national economic collapse, a major architectural modification, landing Dwight Howard for the Nets or an often hostile press that plagued him from conception to development to construction and opening night of the Barclays Center.
Ratner tells Hamill about two years of negotiations with Streisand's people, with help from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz

What went wrong with Globies

Ratner reveals how things went wrong at the Harlem Globetrotters show earlier that week, with long lines of frustrated people on the plaza:
"First off, I want to take this opportunity to apologize from the bottom of my heart to all those good people who were kept waiting outside Barclays Center the day they arrived to see the Globetrotters. But, see, we do research and the Globetrotters never sell more than 6,000 seats to a show. So we staffed the arena for that kind of crowd at the box office, at the concessions, inside the arena."

But when the Globetrotters dribbled into Barclays 10,000 fans put a full-court press at the front gates.

"It was astounding," Ratner says, blinking like a man watching a UFO land. "On the one hand you're elated, thrilled. On the other, panic explodes inside you. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, whole families, three generations, full school classes, children's sports teams, fans from every corner of Brooklyn arrived at once. People had promotional coupons to exchange for tickets. And we were just caught off guard. We didn't have the staff to print tickets fast enough, usher people to seats, and sell food and beverages. We didn't have enough magnetometers. I went crazy. I raced into the box office and told the workers to just keep printing tickets as fast as they could. We called workers to come in. I was sweating."
Actually, the Barclays Center predicted (and, presumably, planned for) 8.400 attendees, which is closer to 10,000 than 6,000.

Unmentioned: with the Streisand show, they stopped using metal detectors.And while the feared "Carmageddon" of gridlock has been avoided, the events have not gone off without other hitches: the shutdown of Atlantic Avenue for those exiting the arena, livery cabs idling on residential streets, and the bass from Jay-Z and Sensation concerts penetrating residents' homes.

Bruce's odyssey

The centerfold; the member of the
Brooklynettes isn't named
Hamill asks if "the eight-year odyssey of building Barclays Center" has changed Ratner:
"Yes, big time," he says. "Even though my company built MetroTech, Atlantic Terminal, and other projects in Brooklyn, this one makes me feel like a Brooklynite. I just fit in here. Oh my God, I feel at home here now. I should have been born here. This is a place where people come from all over the world. Growing up in Cleveland I was embarrassed, self-conscious that my father was the only one in my class with a foreign accent. Here in Brooklyn that would have been the norm. A badge of honor. A son of an immigrant with a dream."
I doubt the percentage of people visiting the arena with foreign accents is commensurate with the population of Brooklyn.

Music history

In For many who grew up there, Brooklyn was a borough of music way before the Barclay’s Center: The new stadium is helping to restore the borough's former glory, music writer David Hinckley surveys a long history, concluding:
"You can really see how much change there's been in a community like Williamsburg," [photographer Bryant McInnis] he says, "but it's almost everywhere. And even though Brooklyn values tradition, it's letting some of our community slip away. We're losing a lot of our old buildings, a lot of churches."
Still, he says, "A lot of the changes have been positive. Twenty years ago, there were parks you couldn't walk in.
"And now, with Barclays, Brooklyn has this huge new center for the arts, too. People don't have to go to Madison Square Garden or Nassau Coliseum."
"Getting Barclays is a great addition," says [DJ Cousin Brucie] Morrow, "to what Brooklyn has always had."
The path of the Nets

In The Nets have finally found a home in Brooklyn: From Dr. J to Deron Williams, from Teaneck to Long Island, and through the swamps of Jersey, the Nets arrive at the Barclays Center, basketball writer Stefan Bondy writes:
Along the way, the Nets were defeated by drug use and tragedy, dogged by their status as second bananas to the Knicks and as temporary tenants in sub-par facilities.
...After flirtations with a new ownership group and a Newark relocation, the team was sold to real estate developer Bruce Ratner in 2003. Ratner was determined to move the franchise to Brooklyn, bringing about the uncomfortable lame-duck New Jersey era. Kidd wanted off the sinking ship. He faked a migraine before a 2007 game as a form of protest, two months before he was traded to the Mavericks.
...The Rock might've been the Nets' permanent home if they had stayed west of the Hudson River, but it was the source of considerable distress for players accustomed to greater amenities. They were holed up in the smallest home locker room in the league, and treated like visitors by fans who cheered wildly for more capable opponents, whether it was the Knicks, Celtics, Bulls or the Heat. The Nets acted and played accordingly, falling to 9-24 at home during a strike-shortened season in 2011-12.
...It's not just a sorely needed re-branding, it is a change in culture, a shot of energy. In their final season in New Jersey, the Nets gave press credentials to 12 people for media day, compared to over 100 in Brooklyn. The first game at the Barclays Center this month was the highest-rated and most-watched Nets preseason telecast ever on YES Network.
The building

 In Inside the Barclays Center: Take a tour of the hidden gems in Brooklyn's new arena: The Barclays Center isn't just the hottest ticket in town - it's the hottest newly designed space in the city., noted sycophant Jason Sheftell lauds the oculus, the concourse, the Vault suites, the 40/40 Club, the locker room, and the seats, designed in black so the arena doesn't look empty when it's not full.

Unmentioned: the meditation room (aka chair storage area).

The food

In Barclays Center to offer 'culinary greatness' from all over Brooklyn: From Cobble Hill to Sunset Park, the Barclays Center offers food from original Brooklyn neighborhood restaurants, Patty Lee lists many of the Brooklyn purveyors, old and new, at the arena.

Check out the prices:
When the Nets play, they'll [Tumbador] offer the Sweet and Salty ($6.50), a bar of milk chocolate with pretzel nuggets and buttery toffee pieces, and the vitality ($6), a snack bar made from a blend of apples pecans and almonds.
For concerts, keep an eye out for the crisp bar ($6.50), chocolate and puffed rice, and the health bar ($6), a blend of almonds, cashews, raisins and cranberries.


Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…