On Friday September 21, 2012 Mayor Bloomberg, Bruce Ratner, CEO of Forest City Ratner, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and various other politicians, government officials, community leaders, and executives were on hand for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the new Barclays Center. The arena opens to the public with the first event on September 28th as Brooklyn’s own and Nets part owner Jay Z performs the first of eight concerts. The Nets (who relocated from New Jersey and are the first big league professional team to call Brooklyn home since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957) will make their debut in the arena on October 15th with a preseason game. The Nets open the regular season at Barclays with a highly anticipated game on November 1st against their cross-river rivals the Knicks.
It was an eight-year struggle to get Barclays built as developer Bruce Ratner had to overcome protests and legal challenges from neighborhood groups, the most vocal being “Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn”. The result is a very distinctive sleek arena with an industrial feel that depicts the brownstones of Brooklyn. It has an intimate seating configuration that enables fans to be closer to the action.
The arena is located at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, the busiest intersection in Brooklyn and is part of the overall Atlantic Yards project which when finished will consist of 22 acres of buildings, most of which will be residential. The arena is above one of the largest transit hubs with 11 subway lines and a Long Island Rail Road station. Parking is very limited and arena officials are encouraging attendees to take public transportation to the arena.
Exciting times are ahead as the arena will host about 220 events including Nets games, college basketball, concerts, and family shows. Some upcoming concerts include Brooklyn natives Jay Z, Barbara Streisand, Andrea Boceli, Bob Dylan, The Who, Justin Bieber, Rush, Journey, Smashing Pumpkins, Leonard Cohen, and Lady Gaga. All we need now is for the Nets to reverse their recent history of struggles and become a winning team. To that end the team has strengthened their roster and expect to be much more competitive.