NetsDaily comrades, first I want to apologize for the delay in this Fanpost and second, to those attending tonight's event I urge you to take lots of pictures and share your thoughts and emotions about our new home and the long journey make this place a reality.
Also if you want to see all of my pictures from Friday's events ( I look forward to lots of complaining about camera angels) they are here (addition to many other photos in the other sections of the site) :
On to the meat of it.
My journey as a passionate Nets fan began nearly 10 years ago concurrent with Lewis Katz's sale of the team to a group headed by Bruce Ratner whose public intention was to move the Nets to its rightful home state of New York within, its greatest city, and in the heart of a borough deprived of sports (at that time for nearly 55 years - now nearly 65). At the time of my rebirth as a Nets faithful the arena (then unnamed) was to have opened in 2006. Well as I learned early on in my career in real estate (and from generations of stories from my father and grandfather) whatever a real estate developer tells you, double the time and double the cost. In this case the cost was about doubled and the time more than doubled. Also a rarity amongst real estate stories, the twists and turns to make it happen were TRULY unimaginable but in the end, we made it. That is what this day was all about. Now onto The Mecca (I don't care what ANYONE says this is what it is and this is what I am calling it - there were 3 prior MSG's [none of which ripped down amazing train stations] that weren't called the Mecca so as far as I am concerned that is no history of having that name]).
As someone who has been around the project since day one, knows the details and has seen all of the iterations of this structure-we came out with the best of them all. The Gehry masterplan was sexy and a developers dream but in addition to its cost infeasibility, was always designed with form over function. This is an arena and it has to be designed to be a good arena, Gehry's design wasn't-this is. That said the team at SHoP who really saved this project with their groundbreaking rejiggering of the terrible Ellerbee Becket Conseco Brooklyn Design. The young team at SHoP balanced both form and function-in addition to designing something THEY want to see everyday (60% of the team lives close by in Brooklyn - unlike California Gehry). The first innovative creation was the famous Oculous:
It is like nothing you have ever seen before. It is the 21st century welcoming to a sporting venue. It serves purpose (directions-meeting place-ect.) generates revenue, will be used as art (they have a number of leading light and graphic artists who will do exhibitions) and most interestingly a place for people exhibit and share their love of the arena and team (think hashtags or take a look at brooklyn-hello.com and its feeds to Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets related love-soon expect these pictures to be shared on our Oculus).
The next thing you see is the concourse, while it looks like most concourses the darker tones, with the rust when you look out behind you and the sweeping view of the court/stage when you walk in gives it a homier feel than any other arena I have been in.
Your next trigger upon entering should come from your nose. The arena taken what was started at Citi Field to another level. The f&b was something that many of us have been thinking long and hard about how to do right from day 1 and the answer is Levy Restaurants. While this is the first major entertainment venue they have ran f&b for - it is a known-known how much Aramark and Sodexho SUCK. The food here does NOT suck-I promise you that. Levy scoured the city and primarily Manhattan for some of the best food vendors they could find. Success-to name a few Calexico [Chipotle the way Steve Ells initially envisioned it], Fatty Cue [name says it all], Brooklyn Burger and many - many more.
They even have a place just for our infamous Jon Bon Moisio [didn't taste this food but for you hopefully it is up to JBM standards.]
Onto my favorite part of the stadium-the floor. As has been reported it is a magnificent herringbone pattern. In addition to being extremely hard to source, this was another battle to get NBA approval (don't ask me why on this one) but like the rebrand the NBA is going to be the winner on this one as well. It sparkles and reminds me of the original Boston Garden floor (I went to a sports camp way back in the day called Kutsher's and during my era of hoop dreams I was lucky enough to play on one of the original floors at the infamous Clair Bee Free Field House which purchased on of the original floors and re-installed it). The floor is literally like a work of art. You will probably see away team players blown away by it because there is nothing like it.
While on the floor you also see our "Made in America" - super comfortable customized floor seats [not that I will be sitting there unfortunately] gone are the days of folding chairs with cushions. We even have them sponsored [Red Bull] - I hope one day each and everyone of you make it a goal to find a way to get into one of these seats to enjoy a game -- I know it is mine.
If you look around for the floor you can truly see how tight and efficiently designed this place is (enough that if hockey does come I assure you this Nets fan will be asking ALOT of questions about how any modifications would impact this perfection of a basketball venue).
Then there are the little things that make this place special. These little things maybe different for different people. Some may like the ability to look down into the practice court for both the street and multiple parts of the interior of the stadium (in this case the opposite)
Or for me little things like the infamous waterless urinials (they are very innovative)
and my personal favorite the amazing fabricated steel lighting that forms different patterns that correspond with the shape of the exterior at that part.
There is much, much, much more that I hope will get shared on this fantastic site.
This is a once and a lifetime moment. So much went into making this happen that it would be impossible to try to get into all of it (ironically because of the hard work of the NetsDaily contributors, much of it lives in the archives here). That said we all were a part of making this dream a reality and more importantly we need to be the ones to make this reality a sustainable revolution with the strongest and greatest fanbase in basketball. Believe it or not that was a goal of even Bruce Ratner and his partners but now that we have the home Bruce dreamed of building with a certain fearless Russian as our valiant leader-this goal is being achieved.
The Barclays Center and our Brooklyn Nets are a cause to be celebrated; be it today, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. They are living-breathing things that will continue to be cherished and fostered for generations to come.
It is very sweet-I hope you all enjoy it as much as this guys does.