Late Wednesday afternoon at the corner of Flatbush and Dean can be a hectic time. At an entrance gate, safety helmets (which always seem to be in short supply) are exchanged rapidly as groups enter and exit the Barclays Center construction site.
Barry Baum, who runs communications for the arena, is escorting a Bloomberg TV crew inside. Leo Ehrline, chief relationship officer, is finishing up a visit by an long-time team owner and awaiting a delegation from a prospective sponsor. A large group of architects from SHoP makes its way down wooden stairs to the arena floor for an occasional site visit. There as well, to check progress in the home locker room: Billy King and Bobby Marks. Oh yeah, NetsDaily, too.
It's all a measure of how far the arena has progressed in the past several months and how much it's about to progress in the next few. People want a look. For the first time, the main concourse, Mikhail Prokhorov's supersuite, the Nets' practice court, the plaza in front of the main entrance and the arena bowl itself are starting to resemble the renderings in the Barclays Center promotional materials.
Prokhorov's supersuite is still a long way from being stocked with Chateau Lafitte Rothschild or Cristal and the view can only be imagined. It will be private, but the Nets owner can check on neighbors in the next suite (Jay-Z and Beyonce'?) as well. Has he been there? Not yet, but Chris Charlier, the Nets board chairman (and rep on the NBA Board of Governors) was there Tuesday with a friend, Grammy Award nominee John Forte.
The Nets' practice court, which will be visible from multiple locations inside the arena, now looks like storage space. And no, that's not a backboard in the upper left of the picture, just the business end of a fork lift. Nearby, the Plaza, the arena's grand entrance, is also taking shape although the cantilevered overhang with its distinctive oculus, extending out another 80 feet, is still a ways away.
Up top, the roof, with its high vault, continues to inch across the length of the arena, its superstructure supported by towers and cranes temporarily stationed on the floor. Most of the bowl now has seats, although some sections near where Daniel Goldstein's condominium once stood are still incomplete. Around the corner, a critic has posted a lighting test of the first letter of the Barclays Center sign that will soon be seen along both Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. And on the Barclays Center Facebook page Wednesday, new images of what a suite will look like.
The arena is now, finally, months, not years, away. To be specific 10 months and two weeks to completion and 11 months and two weeks to Opening Night. Expect a lot more fevered activity, a lot more excitement, at the site --and not just on Wednesday afternoons-- between now and then.