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Not quite as promised: oculus, set to broadcast Nets press conference, was supposed to be programmed for games, events, maybe feed of Prospect Park

Get ready for a crowd on the arena plaza, given the hype around new Brooklyn basketballers Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko. The BrooklynNets announced yesterday:
The Brooklyn Nets will hold a press conference on Thursday, July 18 at 12 p.m. to introduce the team's newly acquired players.
We are welcoming fans to come to The Daily News Plaza outside Barclays Center and watch the press conference on the oculus. The press conference will also be televised live on the YES Network and streamed live on brooklynnets.com.
That finally, and rather partially, fulfills a promise to use that digital display screen for more than advertising.

However, the press conference is a form of advertising, rather than a more civically virtuous activities suggested nearly years ago.

The promise: a programmed display screen

The 9/28/10 press release announced designs for the arena plaza:
The Barclays Center Oculus, which will extend over a 5,660 square foot section of the plaza closest to the arena, is 117 feet by 56 feet and 36 feet from the top of the plaza paving. The Oculus will also contain a state-of-the-art display screen that can be programmed for games, events and other activities on the plaza.
"Forest City Ratner is very interested in working with the community to find out what the right kind of programming is," architect Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP said 9/29/10. "We just looked at examples around the city... whether it's something as simple as cafe seating… Wouldn't it be great to have to have a live digital feed of Prospect Park on the inside of the oculus?"

Neither have arrived, other than very limited cafe seating associated with Starbucks.

Also possible, Pasquarelli suggested, were fashion shows "or maybe a movie night, which we think would be fantastic… bring chairs, blankets,... you could actually project the film on the inside of the oculus." 

He was a little over-optimistic, wasn't he?

Promises, promises

Just as the arena was described as a place for graduations and civic events (of which there have been a few) but instead is predominantly a commercial exercise, so too is the oculus.

Also note several other promises not quite fulfilled: the delayed buildout was supposed to mean arena block amenities at unbuilt tower sites; the scoreboard can barely be seen from the plaza; and roof signage is actually visible from the street.

I wrote in April how the promised greenmarkets and holiday fairs at the Barclays Center plaza had not materialized. Then again, a greenmarket debuts today and will run Wednesdays through November 27.

And in other news... JKidd

The press conference also serves to crowd out any negative buzz from new coach (and ex-Knick) Jason Kidd's plea of guilty yesterday to drunk driving. The Times reported:
As part of his plea deal, Kidd has agreed to speak at high schools on Long Island. He will share his story of what happened in the drunken-driving incident, discuss the dangers of driving impaired and discourage teenagers from text messaging while they drive.
“He looks forward to these next few months,” Burke said of Kidd. “He want to connect with the kids who just got their license. He wants to put a touch on kids who look up to him and, hopefully, they will listen intently.”
But why exactly should they look up to him? He's a great player, and flawed person, with more than drunken driving in his background.

Nets GM Billy King released an oblique statement:
Jason has taken responsibility for his actions, and fully realizes that he needs to grow from this experience. We are confident he will make these strides on a personal level and have a positive effect on others as well.
We've heard that before.

Didn't an oblique November 2005 New York Times column quote a Brooklyn minister as saying that Kidd "began a transformation of his values, his relationships and his work"? And, like King's statement, didn't that column fail to mention why exactly a transformation might be needed, or at least seen to be happening?

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