Barclay’s Center is incredibly Brooklyn – or maybe – it’s incredibly new Brooklyn. As a Brooklyn resident who lives about 1.5 miles away, Barclay’s is the least noticeable stadium I’ve ever encountered. As you walk down Atlantic Ave or Flatbush Ave, the stadium just sort of pops up out of nowhere and it’s one of the few stadiums in the country with no parking lot. The exterior of the stadium has bands of brown steel panels wrapping around it, meant to blend in with Brooklyn’s brownstone residential buildings nearby.
The game day experience pays homage to its neighborhood’s history. Most of the food vendors are local favorites and the music played between timeouts included Beastie Boys, Nas, Biggie, and (of course) Jay-Z. The main plaza’s brick patterns mimic the nearby brownstones and the bathrooms have subway tile. The actual court is old school herringbone style and each end says “Brooklyn Nets” in NYC’s subway font.
Suffice to say, the stadium designers and those in charge of game day experience at Barclay’s Center had a clear goal of making the experience as Brooklyn as possible. Which is cool and makes sense as a strategy. When you have MSG across the river selling out games whether the team wins 60 games or 20, you have to differentiate yourself.
I moved to Brooklyn about a year and a half ago so I missed the years when Nets ownership (Mikhail Prokhorov) sold the team’s long-term soul in order to win a few regular season games early on. But it’s a shame that this cool, unique, local stadium experience has gone to waste with the product on the court over the past few years.
Help us, Joseph Tsai. You’re our only hope.
To the food!
Have to Have it
Cuban Sandwich from Café Habana – Café Habana is a delicious Cuban/Mexican diner that opened in NYC’s NoLita neighborhood back in 1998. It has since opened another location in Brooklyn and a few others across the world. Barclay’s has a Habana stand which offers their famous sandwich with “citrus marinated roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, chipotle mayonnaise and pickle, on toasted roll”. I forgot to grab a pic so here’s a stolen one from Yelp:
Italian Sausage – This was almost a have to have. I love how you can load as much sauerkraut and as many banana peppers as you want. The only problem is the bun sucked. You can’t have a giant bun that just falls apart. Worth a shot if you have a craving.
SAUSAGE METER RATING
Beer price per ounce
Premium Can (Brooklyn Lager): 16 ounces for $12. $0.69 per ounce.
Domestic Can (Budweiser): 16 ounces for $11. $0.75 per ounce.