Sunday, October 28, 2012

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.

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