Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Two observations on the Nets game last night: the value of dark lighting (it obscures empty seats) and that photogenic arena plaza

I watched part of the Brooklyn Nets' second home game last night, via the YES Network, and offer two observations on top of the copious coverage in the sports press.

How many empty seats?

First, given the theatrical lighting and dark seating, it's tough to tell how full the arena is. (Remember, Forest City Ratner executive VP MaryAnne Gilmartin told the Daily News last month, "Also, I'm not going to lie, you can tell when an arena is empty. No one knows how good the team is going to be and we don't want the space to ever look empty. We even thought about designing seats that look like they have people in them.")

So I had to read Dave D'Alessandro's column in Newark's Star-Ledger, For the Nets, the atmosphere inside the Barclays Center wasn't so great in their second home game, to learn that the lower bowl had a lot of empty seats. He wrote:
But we do know NBA interiors, and we can appreciate authentic human noise, and we can report the following: This place doesn’t have it. Yet. No, it’s not as tranquil as Jersey, but it’s not exactly Oklahoma City, either.
When an NBA arena is real, the noise has a certain pitch to it. It isn’t just loud, it penetrates you all the way to the marrow. It says this to opponents who trespass: This is a dangerous place.
And it’s not with those phony, wish-we-were-big-time methods you get at most buildings.
So we were hoping this would be one of those authentic NBA places, such as Boston or Chicago or Madison Square Garden. Instead, we saw a lower bowl that was only half full when the game started, and barely two-thirds full by halftime. They trotted out some chromium-plated thing with a cape called “Brooklyknight” — one word — to excite the crowd.
And, as expected, it was wall-to-wall artificial noise.
...There were some old time NBA guys who felt the same way, who assert that Saturday’s opener — a genuinely inspiring triumph over Toronto — was different.
The official attendance was 14,017 out of 17,732, but reported attendance indicates tickets distributed, not people in seats.

Should a Monday night, post-Sandy, have been a sellout for a new team? Surely not--at least not at the prices they charge.

But I bet if and when they decide to discount strategically, we'll see the bowl fill up..

That arena plaza

The television camera loves establishing shots of the arena. Apparently, that Barclays Center sign on the arena roof is not illuminated. Instead, we see the oculus, with that Barclays Center sign, and the illuminated arena plaza.

The temporary plaza.

It may be a nice place to gather, but there wasn't supposed to be a plaza. There was supposed to be an Urban Room, an atrium at the based of Building 1, once known as Miss Brooklyn. An office tower full of jobs, the presence of which was crucial to the financial projections regarding Atlantic Yards.

That office tower is on long-term hold. The cameras don't know.

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