NEW YORK (AP) — Officials formally opened Brooklyn's new 18,000-seat Barclays Center arena on Friday, cutting the ribbon on the home of the Brooklyn Nets, the borough's first major sports team in decades. A glance at the borough's newest landmark:
Some 12,000 weathered steel panels — each one a different size and shape — cover the arena's curvy lines. Large windows allow passers-by to see into the team's practice court and to view both fans and the scoreboard — although not the court itself — during games.
An open, oval ring that is itself bigger than a basketball court overhangs the public plaza in front of the arena. Nested inside is a 3,000-square-foot LED screen that will at times be used for video art installations. Architects on the project have suggested it also could display a live feed of Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
The austere-looking interior features seats arranged steeply so that fans are more above the people sitting in front of them than behind. The seats seem to ring the court at an almost vertical angle. "This will give it fantastic acoustics. It will be incredibly loud. It will give the Nets a wonderful home court advantage," architect Gregg Pasquarelli said.
THE CELEBRITY CO-OWNER:
Jay-Z, a native Brooklynite, has a stake in the Nets and is credited with designing the team's new logo — a graphic, black and white basketball featuring the letter B. He's scheduled to christen the arena with a rap concert on Sept. 28.
The arena opening marks the first time in decades that a professional sports team has called the borough home. Brooklyn's beloved Dodgers left in 1957 to play baseball on the California coast amid hard times for the borough. "This is going to send a loud and clear message that Brooklyn has arrived as a center of exciting entertainment, thrilling big-time sports and thriving commerce," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the ribbon cutting.
Some community members applauded the arena's opening, but others handed out fliers outside Friday's event, criticizing officials for their use of eminent domain and questioning whether all the promised jobs and affordable housing units originally slated to accompany the development would materialize. Officials said they would break ground in December on the project's first residential building. Community opposition and litigation have plagued the project for nearly a decade, since it was first announced in 2003.