Sunday, January 20, 2013

The latest episode in the "Road to Brooklyn" series: "Road to Barclays"

"We'll be done by September... ish," says a hardhat in the opening of "Road to Barclays," the latest "Road to Brooklyn" video on Jay-Z's YouTube channel.

They did get done in time for the 9/28/12 opening, but (unmentioned) without opening up to the community as promised, and with some serious shortcuts regarding construction protocols.

Through time-lapse photography and a roving camera, we see various pieces of the arena, which has brown steel cladding, we're told, "designed to evoke the image of brownstones" and an oculus that stretches 80 feet over the arena plaza. (There's no mention that it was never supposed to be there, but rather an office building and Urban Room.)

Craig Hammerman, identified as "City Planner" rather than District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 6, says, "There's no spotlight" at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush. "Everybody is looking at it, all the traffic engineers, all the folks that work at city agencies, and this area has never received this level of attention from government, and we likely will be the beneficiaries of that attention."

Well, there are some trade-offs, like tax breaks and subsidies.

"I love the fact that there is 50 million trains there," says Damaris Lewis, a model who's a huge basketball fan and has appeared in previous episodes.

Moving ahead

At ribbon-cutting ceremonies a week before opening, there's no mention of protests but rather beaming developer Bruce Ratner, exclaiming "Here we are." He gets a hug from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

"I think we over-delivered for Brooklyn, which was obviously the goal," declares Nets/arena CEO Brett Yormark, ever on message. Isn't the goal delivering revenue?

We're told the wi-fi will work for everyone, compared to other arenas--one sign of the Barclays Center as being a step ahead.

We see massive crowds outside the arena on opening night, then superstar Jay-Z performing, wearing in a Nets jersey.

The triumph is complete.

There's no mention, of course, of snags like dripping rust or defective bolts. Nor how the whole thing came about. The arena is here. In 100 years, as Ratner has said, "No one will care what we had to do to make it happen."

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