What to Eat at Barclay’s Center – Brooklyn Nets Game

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:

Try It

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.

What To Eat at Madison Square Garden – New York Knicks Edition

I finally arrived at the Mecca. After living in New York for a full year, I had yet to venture to basketball’s holiest grounds. “Whoa”, I thought. “A good team played here once long ago”. A distant memory. I could feel the history. I also felt the pain of waiting in a 20-minute security line before finally scanning my ticket.

But hey, you can’t beat a stadium in the heart of Manhattan. Is there a better location for pregame/postgame festivities in the world? The stadium’s architecture is interesting. Very 70’s. It has a sort of bizarre catwalk traversing over the nose bleeds where we were sitting, but surprisingly it was still a decent view way back in the corner.

We were on CELEBRITY WATCH the entire game. It ended up being the sort of CELEBRITY WATCH you would expect for a Thursday night game and a 30 win team. Jason Long was the highlight. It’s been a rough year.

To the food!

Try It

The Burger

A damn good cheeseburger, MSG. Well done. Literally, it was well done, but still worth it. Give it a shot.

Pass It

Fries

Like an Eagles fan seeing James Dolan’s blues band as an opening act, I was forced to try something I didn’t want to try. The lady at the concession stand thought we ordered fries with our burger. We did not. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to turn down some hot greasy potato skins. I should have turned down some hot greasy potato skins. They were lukewarm and flavorless. I don’t even like salt on my fries and I wanted salt on my fries.

Beer Selection

Blue Point Brewery has made some solid local stadium deals which I’m OK with. I had their Toasted Lager which beats the usual Bud/Miller/Coors choices. I don’t remember how much it was. Probably about as much as a 5-year Carmelo Anthony contract extension.