Friday, November 23, 2012

Barclays Center seen as not cannibalizing Jersey arenas, at least; bars in arena's orbit not yet feeling huge effect from spillover patrons, Nets fans

According to the Bergen Record, Barclays Center not viewed as drain on concert business at Izod, Prudential arenas, because, as one promoter suggests, the marketplaces is capable of expansion.

Then again, the Izod Center, now lacking a major league team, also gets rented for Madonna rehearsals, which brings in revenue but not paying guests.

And the big loser, given the coming loss of the New York Islanders and the accessibility of the Barclays Center to the Long Island Rail Road, may be the Nassau Coliseum.

What about the bars?


A long New York Times Sports section article headlined Places to Drink for Brooklyn’s Toast of the Town (though the URL suggests an earlier version of the headline was the more neutral "searching-for-nets-bars-near-barclays-center"), finds that, though there are numerous bars near the Barclays Center, and some new ones, they're slow to gain Nets fans.

The explanation is that "these things take time":
You don’t just: 1) draw a line around a succulent 22-acre parcel of real estate in the heart of Brooklyn; 2) throw out all the people and knock down all the buildings; 3) shoehorn in an arena that, according to the readers of this newspaper, looks like a rusty turtle or a parking garage, a spaceship, a dragon, a bed pan, a comb-over, rat scat or possibly a “Transformers” robot with only his head sticking out of the ground and a long tongue snaking out in front of it; 4) and then import a gloriously inept basketball team from the petrochemical badlands of New Jersey, toss up a ball and expect fans to stampede the place.
Note that not all of the people have yet been thrown out, nor all the buildings demolished. There's a whole 'nother phase of eminent domain. Nor has the majority of the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard been paid for, in terms of development rights.

And doesn't this article further undermine the dubious premise of a Times article last April that, to developer Forest City Ratner:
the changes are evidence that the arena has already met its goal of transforming a dreary section of Brooklyn — the Long Island Rail Road’s rail yards and surrounding industrial buildings, which the company’s spokesman described as “ a scar that divided the neighborhood.”
Voices from the bars

But the authors diligently survey numerous bars, and people. A few selections..

The personal assistant to Nets' player Josh Childress, on the arena: "It’s extreme, a little out there. It didn’t look like it fits the neighborhood, that scrap iron."

Kree Gumbs of the Trinidadian bar/restaurant Sugarcane, on Flatbush Avenue: "The Nets haven’t changed anything — yet."

At Frank's Cocktail Lounge on Fulton Street:
Patrons from the far reaches of the bar jump into conversations. They talk about life’s dramas. Bring up the Nets, and the first thing the sewing circle discusses is the nightmarish traffic and the dubious promise made to build affordable housing near the arena. Still, the Who’s performance last week sent a crowd jamming into Frank’s that did not thin until 3 a.m.
At the home of the relocated Freddy's, in South Park Slope/Greenwood Heights, once the clubhouse of the Atlantic Yards opposition before its Dean Street location was demolished:
On this night, there appeared to be no Nets fans in Freddy’s. The Knicks-Magic game was on the TV in the back. The bartender, Matthew Kuhn, a 10-year Freddy’s veteran, insisted there were no sour grapes.

“We’d switch to the Nets game if somebody asked,” he said. “Life goes on.”

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