Last week, I took the 2 train from Manhattan to Brooklyn to visit the Barclays Center because I wanted to get a first-hand look at the progress of the now almost-finished arena. In this article, I will describe what I thought of the arena and what still needs to be done. I will also talk about what you should expect when seeing the arena for the first time.
First, I will talk about the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station. It is a very big station because of all the trains that are running through it. It also has Long Island Railroad service and is very accessible from almost anywhere in New York. They are still working on the subway exit which lets you out right next to the Barclays Center. In the picture above, the grass-covered structure is the subway exit.
Once I found my way out of the station and saw the Barclays Center, I was almost in shock. I knew it was going to be a very large structure, but it looks even bigger compared to the size of the buildings around it. Aside from the Barclays Center, it looks like any other residential neighborhood in Brooklyn. You can walk two blocks in any direction and not know that you were close to an 18,000 seat arena. I circled the arena once, but was obviously unable to get inside the construction area to get a look at the inside of the arena. When you see the Barclays Center for the first time, you will know what I mean when I say that I was surprised at how big it was.
Another thing I was surprised to see was the rusted color of the arena. Recently, the Nets have been criticized for making the arena this color, most notably on deadspin, which suggests that the arena may begin to fall apart in as soon as ten years. This is not true because there are layers under the “weathered steel” material which will prevent the arena from crumbling. You can see a picture of the weathered steel below.
After walking around the arena one time, I went to the Brooklyn Modell’s store, which is directly across the street from the arena. When I walked inside, I realized that I have never seen so much Nets gear in one place at one time, not even at Nets games at the Prudential Center last season. Even during basketball games, you were able to see more Devils gear than Nets gear. The Nets uniforms have not yet been released, but there was everything else, from team shirts, to player shirts, to sweatshirts, to backpacks, and just about anything else you can think of. I couldn’t stop myself from buying a hat, which you can see here.
Barclays Center now opens in less than a month, with a concert by Jay-Z.