Beyond the celebrity hoopla, political rancor and semi-epic hubris of partial owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Brooklyn’s new mega arena and über entertainment complex is actually a pretty cool place that will undoubtedly become a little cooler in 2015 when the (Long Island) Islanders set up shop. Most of us are not old enough to have felt the reverberations, but we’ve all probably heard that the Great Dodger Departure of 1957 left a huge hole in the figurative heart of the city’s grittiest borough. And while the Barclays Center won’t bring back the glory days, it looks like it’s primed to create more than a few glorious nights before its tenure is through. And we ain’t just talkin’ sports here.
Let’s start with the rugged, weathered steel façade of its distinctive shell that somehow straddles the line between blue-collar toughness and a modern chic aesthetic. This is totally Brooklyn. Then there are the old-school Beastie Boys tracks blaring through the sound system and MC’ed t-shirt tosses at the Nets games. Also Brooklyn. What about the thirty-seven local
vendors brought in to create Brooklyn taste? And the drum corps outside the center that looks like it’s made up of a bunch of local high school kids who could play the hell out of their instruments? The lineup of super pop and edgy rock? Jay Z, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and The Postal Service? Even a circus for the family? All Brooklyn. It’s all about reaching for the stars while keeping its feet planted firmly on the ground in an ever-evolving downtown Brooklyn scene.
Despite all the money and swank and attitude, this place manages to keep it real. It may not be Madison Square Garden (what, dear reader, ever is?), but the Barclays Center is certainly its own kind of special. If the Garden is a kind of Superman replete with an ostentatious history of capes and tights, then Barclays is the city’s dark knight. The anti-hero. It’s Manhattan’s perfect foil, the moon to our metropolis’ burning sun. And just like the moon, it brings out the primal howl buried in all of us when high up among the stars in full bloom. Be warned, good people of our fair Island. Barclays begins and the sky, albeit a dark and modish hue, is the limit.
Top Two coming up
The Nets and their playoff run in their new city is just the start of the Barclays Center.
» May 18
Touring behind their Battle Born album, The Killers bring their brand of rock around and you can bet “Runaways” will be on tap—it was voted best summer song last year by Rolling Stone readers.
The Postal Service
» June 14-15
Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard’s most substantial side project reunites after a near decade-long hiatus, behind the re-release of Give Up.