When the lights came on, press and invited guests got a chance to see what home court advantage in Brooklyn will look like. The seats are black with gray lining the footpaths. Center court will feature the new logo of the Nets, a black “B” on top of a white basketball.
Bruce Ratner, chairman and chief executive officer of Forest City Ratner Companies, made it clear that the new arena will be an inviting place for all of the residents of the borough.
“We have a place where for a few hours a day a fan, a follower, a patron, a guest can have their troubles left behind,” said Ratner.
His tone became more serious when discussing the way in which the new arena was planed and constructed, and the economic crisis that almost derailed the project.
In addition to being the home of the Nets, the 675,000-square-foot arena will host over 200 events annually. The official opening will take place on September 28 when Jay-Z takes the stage in his first of eight sold-out shows.
“The Barclays Center will be the heart of the Brooklyn borough,” said Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who is already planning the championship parade route.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged people to use mass transit – like he did for last week’s ribbon cutting - to get to the arena, which is located in a congested part of Brooklyn.
“You’re never going to find a better, faster way of getting to the Barclays Center than by subway, and there is as much mass transit under this building as there is under any place in New York City, even in Manhattan,” said Bloomberg.
“In a nutshell, what it means is more jobs and more opportunities for New Yorkers,” he added.
The mayor touched on many of the concerns surrounding the new arena. At a recent community meeting, traffic was at the top of the list of concerns with the arena opening.
And the protestors outside were upset about the lack of full-time jobs and affordable housing that were part of the original proposal but never materialized.
Bloomberg will have to get familiar with the subway route he took from Manhattan because he bought season tickets to the Nets, and according to Ratner, they’re expensive.