Barclays Center Officials Deem Venue Opening A Success, With Traffic Issues Minimal
Barclays Center officials declared the arena's opening over the weekend a “success, contending most took mass transit” to the concerts by rapper and Nets minority Owner Jay-Z, according to Athavaley & Fox of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Predictions of a “traffic nightmare in Park Slope proved unfounded” as traffic “flowed freely on the side streets surrounding the area.” However, the events did “little to change the minds of those who opposed the arena from the beginning.” Area residents said that they “received the expected dose of noise and crowds.” Nearby businesses “drew more customers than usual.” If nothing else, the opening was a “New York spectacle” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/1). In N.Y., Burke, Morales, Mirchandani & Brown noted in the first hours of the opening, Brooklyn “kept the peace -- chaos was nowhere to be seen.” City Council member Steve Levin said, “It’s not as bad as I feared. It looks like a regular Friday night. Maybe just a little worse” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/30).
BROOKLYN BRIDGE: In N.Y., Howard Beck wrote Friday was “not about the Nets, not officially, yet in so many ways it felt like their coming-out party.” The Jay-Z concert was a “hip-hop show, a self-tribute, a Brooklyn pride rally and a Nets pep rally all in one.” The team’s black-and-white logo was “everywhere, stamped on hats and T-shirts worn by fans in every section.” Jay-Z “stepped on stage, wearing a white Nets cap and a black jersey with ‘Brooklyn’ spelled out across the chest.” It was “surely the first time in NBA history, and perhaps the history of any major sport, that a team’s uniform was unveiled by a global entertainment icon during a rap show.” The plan to have Jay-Z introduce the new uniforms was a "poorly kept secret, yet expectation was still high." And while Nets officials "never confirmed the rumors, it quickly became clear just how much they had planned for the moment.” By the time the concert ended, the adjoining Nets team shop was “fully stocked with white (home) and black (road) jerseys,” as was the nearby Modell’s, which “held a midnight sale to capitalize on the droves of Nets fans.” NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver “watched from a luxury suite.” About a “dozen Nets players,” including Gs Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, were in attendance, along with coach Avery Johnson and GM Billy King. NBA President of League Operations Joel Litvin was “also there, though not on official business.” Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson, Univ. of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari and CAA agent William Wesley were “in the building” (NYTIMES.com, 9/30). The N.Y. TIMES’ N.R. Kleinfield wrote arena developer Bruce Ratner “watched from one luxury suite,” while Nets Owner Mikhail Prokohorov “occupied his own suite” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29).
CAN I GET AN ENCORE? In N.Y., Jon Caramanica wrote “no musician has reframed the potential for bucket list completion and brand extension like Jay-Z,” who is the team’s “unofficial ambassador.” Jay-Z said during Friday’s concert, “I’ve been on bigger stages. I’ve been all around the world. Nothing feels like tonight. … I’m really overwhelmed by the moment” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/30).