Nets Arena Issues: Liquor, Weathering Steel


Barclays Center

Barclays Center. Picture from Merritt & Harris Report.

The Nets’ Barclays Center has been under constant attack since minority owner Bruce Ratner first formulated plans to move his team from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Two NY Times articles that focused on Barclays Center criticisms were featured this week: one article about the Nets’ request for a liquor license and the other on the arena’s unique weathering steel facade.

First, some key sentences about the liquor license, from the New York Times:

The State Liquor Authority on Wednesday ruled to allow the [Barclays] Center to sell alcohol at its premium bars for an hour after events finish, or a cutoff of 1 a.m…During games, alcohol will be cut off in the arena after the third quarter…The liquor board’s ruling came amid strong opposition from residents, who argued that serving drinks after events would keep a steady flow of noisy and drunken fans emptying into the surrounding neighborhoods — jeopardizing safety and serenity.

The Nets were hoping to be able to serve alcohol in their premium bars (Jay Z’s 40/40 Club, the Armand de Brignac Champagne Bar, etc.) until 2 a.m. Brooklyn community leaders fought the Nets over their request. At one point, they suggested that drunk fans might pee on Brooklyn streets. Ultimately, The State Liquor Authority somewhat acknowledged Brooklyn resident concerns by only allowing alcohol to be served until 1 a.m. Satisfied, the Nets decided to honor this decision and not make any further alcohol requests for now.

I think Brooklyn residents have a legitimate concern here: rowdy fans could disrupt the local neighborhoods surrounding the Barclays Center. On the other hand, community leaders might be overreacting to the thought of rich people consuming alcohol late at night at the Barclays Center’s clubs.

The weathered steel facade has also drawn concerns – less so by Brooklyn community leaders, though. Some key sentences from the NY Times:

For the facade of the Barclays Center, more traditional materials were rejected in favor of 12,000 separate pieces of what is called “weathering steel,” and an intended layer of rust… Michael Devonshire said, “when the material gets wet, there is a rusty wash that goes down onto adjacent areas of concrete. It can get really funky looking.” … Robert Sanna said, “you won’t have to worry that [the rust] will stain your sweater as you walk by.”

The weathering steel that the Nets are using has spent many months going through wet/dry cycles, which should keep rusting to a minimum. Still, it seems that there might be some rusting that sometimes stains the sidewalks surrounding the Nets’ arena.

To me, this seems to be a non-issue. Based on what I’ve read over the past few months, I do not think that steel rusting will be significant. However, Jonah wrote about the steel facade here after he visited the arena’s construction site and he commented that the steel facade doesn’t look that awesome.

Tags: Barclays Center Nets