The Barclays Center: Open for Business

Monday, September 24, 2012

The ribbon was cut last Friday on the Barclay's arena in Brooklyn. Charles Bagli, New York Times reporter, looks at what it means for the economy, the neighborhood and the borough.


Charles Bagli

Comments [35]

I wonder what percentage of the skeptics have been skeptics from the start - as I have. Or is it only now that Ratner's myths and lies have been proven to be amorphous, empty promises that the skeptics come out?

(While I'm from NJ, I'm not a fan of the Nets and have no personal financial stake in whether the Nets stayed in NJ. I suppose I did prefer that NJ get the net economic benefit of keeping a successful basketball team, but that is of little interest to me, personally).

In any case, my primary objection was on the basis of being disgusted with Kelo v. New London and the NY State Court of Appeals' facile approach to seizure with regard to Atlantic Yards.

Millions of New Yorkers were 'taken' by promises of Frank Gehry, mixed-income housing, stable jobs, and mixed-income housing (which they are statistically unlikely to get and only require because of rent stabilization laws which drive housing prices do high).

None of these materialized. So, are the New York sophisticates finally realizing they've been duped?

Sep. 27 2012 01:04 PM

Critics of the project always understood that the promises made to quell the resistance were bogus from the start. The same proponents of the project, supporters of the big money behind it (Ratner, Schumer, Russian billionaire, et al), continue to use the same bogus data, though now being necessarily modified, to defend it. So of course the original critics are going to continue to cry foul. Furthermore, anyone with half a head who actually *lives* in this area of Brooklyn, as I did (Ft. Greene) while the project was getting underway, knew in their gut that this center (arena and buildings) would ultimately oppress the neighborhood, not only by displacing thousands of tenants but by bringing new and aggressive health and traffic hazards. And all bullied forward with old south Brooklyn political mobster tactics. To a neighborhood that 15 years ago south Brooklyn wouldn't dare set foot in (for racial reasons--another-but-related-topic). Ugh.

Sep. 25 2012 02:10 PM
jp from downtown

Its funny how the same people that wanted to kill the project are now complaining that the project didn't deliver on the promises of housing and jobs. All of a sudden now they care about the people on the other side of the tracks, when if they had their way there would have been no project, zero housing, zero jobs.

They complain about the architecture and the extended time frame of construction. This when their direct delay tactic actions caused years of delay and scrapping of the original Frank Ghery design after the recession.

They complain that the developer made a classic "bait and switch" They should just look across the river and see the amazing projects that where completed by this same firm. New York Times tower, Ghery Tower across the Brooklyn bridge and more. Metrotech and Atlantic mall/center are different stories. The ugly results are a result of trying to fit in the neighborhood.

They complain about the noise and traffic but they forget as Marty Morkowitz stated "This is "Downtown Brooklyn" a business district, meant for business. This is not a bedroom community.

Sep. 25 2012 12:51 PM
Phyllis from Park Slope

The entire process for this monstrous development was illegal. Fruit of the poison tree.

It was a back room deal with corrupt local and national politicians that rejected a much larger bid from another developer.

Extell didn't plan to divide the precious low-rise Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods from one another, didn't plan to de-map historic streets, and planned to pay enough for the rights so that fare hikes would not have been necessary for millions of New Yorkers on an ongoing basis.

This was a criminal act that circumvented every open process, shut down discussion as to environmental issues, safety issues, etc. They were never going to keep their promises and the construction workers who shouted down our concerns at meeting after meeting now see how they were duped by were the community residents who believed the promises about great affordable housing and jobs forever.

There was testimony after testimony for YEARS that explicitly explained the scenario that has since come to pass.
The people who believed this megamillionaire 1/10th of one percenter were completely and utterly duped.

He has destroyed a neighborhood. It is an eyesore. It is a travesty.

Sep. 24 2012 07:31 PM
Jon from Manhattan

As arenas go, the Barclays Center is way better than average. I'm glad for its arrival if only to represent Brooklyn's taking another stride towards cultural emaciation from Manhattan.

Sep. 24 2012 11:29 AM
Helen Cohen from Park Slope

I am an architect who lives in Park Slope within 6 blocks of the Center. While I do not agree with the use of eminent domain that made the overall project feasible, I am very happy that we no longer have that empty hole in the urban fabric at such a major intersection. It is very nice having that big plaza and wide sidewalk. However, there are really NO parking lots and few garages that I can find around there, and I dread the crowds that will try to park on narrow side streets. I am especially concerned that they will condemn more property to build parking lots!

Sep. 24 2012 11:12 AM

I was dismayed to hear only the naysayers get a voice on Brian Lerher's show about the Atlantic Yards project. If the people who live in their rent-stabilized homes, as well as all the wealthy in Park Slope (do you have any idea how much it costs to live in that neighborhood?), had thought about others who need affordable housing hadn't put this project through years of legal battles, we would still have the Frank Gehrey architecture. This would have been a major triumph for Brooklyn. And building would have started before the present housing and economic meltdown. The Atlantic Avenue area that is being developed has been in poor shape for decades. I've lived in Brooklyn all my life and know the history.

Plus. what the hell does Park Slope have to do with all of this? This is downtown Brooklyn.

Sep. 24 2012 10:54 AM
kk from brooklyn

A sad day for NY and for democracy. As we see here, as with our schools, what should be public (to wit, the use of eminent domain in this case) is increasingly turned over to private hands.

I grew up in New Orleans when what my father always referred to as the "SuperDoom" was a contentious building project. He was pretty prescient. Hopefully, this building, as physically ugly as it is, will just be a monument to corporate greed and not an actual site of tragedy.

Sep. 24 2012 10:52 AM
Tim from Belmar, NJ

Your photo does not show one of the most important features of the building which is how it meets the street. If it is full of vibrant and inviting storefronts and businesses that enliven the street 24/7, then folks who don't like the overall image will be inclined to forgive - it may even grow on them.
Otherwise, look out!
Tim McCorry AIA, LEED

Sep. 24 2012 10:50 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

The center should have built in the Bronx.

Sep. 24 2012 10:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I was surprised to hear Sen. Schumer mentioned--what does the federal gov't. have to do w/the arena? Maybe a future segment could look at the roles of different leverls of gov't. in having the arena built.

Sep. 24 2012 10:49 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

An equally viable transportation hub in Brooklyn that would have been a good (possibly better) location for the stadium was Broadway Junction. There, the L, J, A, C, and LIRR train intersect. Also, the Jackie Robinson Parkway terminates there. In addition, Bushwick Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Jamaica Avenue would make interconnection from highways like the Belt, Van Wyck, and BQE easy. Unfortunately, the neighborhood surrounding Broadway Junction consist of way too much brown people to make it viable in the eyes of city planner and Ratner for a project like this. But there, this project would have truly had substantial impact in helping revitalize the area.

Sep. 24 2012 10:45 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Actually, I won't be attending Barclay's Center because it disgusts me and I don't want to give it my money. Unfortunately, they probably will get my ratings (basketball fiend)...

Sep. 24 2012 10:43 AM
Vanessa from Prospect Heights

It looks like a giant burnt hamburger! yuck!

At night it looks a little better when the light shines through the weird basket weave.

How sad that the nice old Atlantic Ave station was torn down thirty (forty?) years ago and the area was left - by the city - to rot.

Sep. 24 2012 10:42 AM
Seth Pickenstiff

Taking private property for non-public use is NEVER what emient domain was intended for. The founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.

Sep. 24 2012 10:42 AM
Norman Oder from Brooklyn

No seven dollar tickets for Nets games I could find, despite BL's comment. Definitely not home games. Maybe exhibitions out of town

Sep. 24 2012 10:41 AM
Guli Gaarto from Ditmas Park

This is simply borough warfare. We brooklynites finally have something to get behind. Call the stadium what you want but it's the Net's Arena. It's going to be great for the neighborhood. All the Manhattanites wished they had a real basketball team to get behind.

Sep. 24 2012 10:41 AM
Bill from NJ

As with all these 'grand developement' projects: Developers always promise the world, there's no downside risk!. Make them underwrite their promises with funds in bond / escrow. Tie it to some index to account for greater economic trends, and hold them ACCOUNTALBE. If they can't cover the bet, surely some re-insurer will underwriter the endeavor (if they'll cover million dollar bets on snowfall depth in Central Park) if the numbers are so rosy! Watch how fast the numbers change then...

Sep. 24 2012 10:39 AM
Harry from nyc

the stadium will be a huge hit.

They yuppies that live there need to stop complaining.

that area is already gentrified.

feel partly bad for the people that were scammed out of thier apartments/houses (on the other had they did get paid a reltively fair price for leaving).

Sep. 24 2012 10:36 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

There has been some (insufficient) press coverage of why the arena hoopla is really a travesty. Most of that coverage of the alternative narrative focuses on how Ratner (and Prokhorov) are opening the arena without fulfilling multitudinous promises about jobs and housing are not being delivered.

Talking about “promises not delivered” overlooks the fact that even what Ratner “promised” to build was entirely tailored to his benefit at the expense of his neighbors, absurd density, a 30+ acre mega-monopoly, seizure of public streets and avenues, exclusive development rights for 25, perhaps forty years, deep subsidies diverted from competing developers. And the “affordable housing is pretty close to market rate housing.

Noticing New York

Sep. 24 2012 10:35 AM
Brenda from New York City

I'm curious; was the lack of parking intentional? Are people being encouraged to use the subway to avoid congestion?

Sep. 24 2012 10:35 AM
Leo from Queens

Regarding affordable housing - I remember calculating the cost to taxpayers for this 'affordable' housing which was very expensive. If one divides the amount of money given in subsidies and tax breaks by the city by the number of 'affordable' units and the price was about $500K per unit. That is too high to pay

Sep. 24 2012 10:33 AM
John from NYC

Maybe Brian could invite the author and coordinator of the web site - There are many examples of the sports industry and the impact to neighborhoods and taxpayers. The second story on the home page has commentary about the Barclays Center

Sep. 24 2012 10:33 AM
Norman Oder from Brooklyn

When it was presented to the public, actually, Atlantic Yards would have 4 office towers around the arena. Then, when appoved in 2006, three of four towers would have housing.

10,000 jobs was not used in state documents, because Forest City dropped the office space before the project was approved.

For the most definitive account of the housing, see my coverage in City Limits' Brooklyn Bureau:

Only 9 low-income units for families (2BR) in the first affordable housing tower.

Sep. 24 2012 10:32 AM

Look at any neighborhood around a stadium - depressed and depressing, transient businesses for people who come and go for a game, but care nothing about the community. This will be a disaster for everyone except those who can leave.

Sep. 24 2012 10:32 AM

Is bkln finished? NO there are plenty of areas to gentrify

chuck schumer lied??!?!?
A politician lied to us. Get out. I can’t believe an american politician would lie to us

Sep. 24 2012 10:30 AM
Suzanne from Brooklyn

Dreading, dreading, dreading this. The construction -- especially the infrastructure work on roadways -- has made life difficult nearby for years. I live right across the street from one of the only visible entrances to the subway complex, and as it stands, it can get VERY noisy out there at night. Yes, there's a subway entrance immediately opposite the arena -- but I'm assuming that there will be thousands of people jostling to get down a narrow stairway right opposite the house late at night, or just hanging out on street corners.

Your speaker is talking about the indirect impact on the area, but I wonder if he has spent much time in the area?? There really isn't that much on any significant scale. On Atlantic Avenue, on the block between 3rd and 4th avenues, landlords have boosted the rents, chasing out small but thriving businesses that served the local community. Yesterday afternoon, I counted seven empty storefronts in a row.

Sep. 24 2012 10:30 AM
Beatrice from Ft. Greene

I live in a building which is right outside a subway station near the near arena. The entrance to our building is already a loitering spot for people waiting for friends, finishing cigarettes before getting on the train, or using the phone. I am dreading the opening of the arena. I expect more litter, more crowds, and loud drunken revelers to be crowding my stoop in the near future. I really hope I'm wrong.

I'm also a parent and am concerned about traffic safety. I'd like for my kids to be able to ride their bikes, cross the street without holding my hand, and have a little freedom, but I'm worried that the traffic the area will bring to an already busy area will make that impossible.

Sep. 24 2012 10:28 AM
Kathy Page from Park Slope

Looks to me like an alien spaceship has landed in my neighborhood. Hope the aliens are friendly.

Sep. 24 2012 10:28 AM
Norman Oder from Brooklyn

Unmentioned so far: the NYC Independent Budget Office called the arena a net loss for the city.

Sep. 24 2012 10:28 AM
lucy from Brooklyn

Please don't call Jay-Z a co-owner. He ownes 0.06666%. Hardly a co-owner. It is Michael Prokrohof who owns 80%. Jay-Z is a PR asset. He will make a lot of money out of his participation in this landgrab.
This project was based on lies and the lies continue. Right now the state owes the community a new SEIS.

Sep. 24 2012 10:27 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

I've been hoping for years that the traffic, parking, and other problems that will almost undoubtedly be engendered by the Barclay Center will make that neighborhood less desirable and that people will thus start looking further south (toward my neighborhood Kensington) and increase the property value there. We will see . . .

Sep. 24 2012 10:27 AM
fuva from harlemworld

I'm cringing at how psyched I am about a Knicks/Nets rivalry. But I'll be attending no games in person and catching all games on TV.

Sep. 24 2012 10:26 AM
Sean from Brooklyn

The Barclay's Center is an eyesore and has not employed enough people to merit the price of the stadium.

Sep. 24 2012 10:26 AM
Stephen from prospect heights

How can it be safe? The were working 24x7 on infrastructure up until opening day. Has it really been inspected.

Sep. 24 2012 10:25 AM

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