By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From the Nets to The Who
After years of planning, struggles in and out of court, hearings, and anticipation from fans, Barclays Center, home of the basketball Nets as well as major concerts and events, will host an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning.
Presiding over the ceremony will be Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner and others.
The facility, designed by Becket-SHoP Architects, will open on Sept. 28 with the first of eight sold-out concerts by rapper Jay-Z, who is a minority owner of the Nets.
The Nets’ first game at the arena will take place on Nov. 1, against the New York Knicks (or, as Markowitz would have it, the “Manhattan Knicks”).
In addition to Jay-Z, among the major concerts scheduled for the arena are Barbra Streisand (in what is being advertised as her first professional Brooklyn appearance), Rush, Journey, The Who, Bob Dylan, opera singer Andrea Bocelli, the “Sounds of Reggae” and more.
The Rolling Stones, which the music-trade newspaper Billboard reported would appear at Barclays in November, still don’t appear on the arena’s schedule.
Already, a new subway entrance has opened that links the Atlantic Avenue subway-rail complex, which serves 11 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, directly with the arena.
The subway station’s name has been changed from “Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street” to “Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center,” although, if one looks at the blogosphere, not all nearby residents are happy with the change.
The arena’s design replaces an earlier one by renowned architect Frank Gehry, which was projected to have cost $1 billion. That design was replaced by the current one in 2009 because of economic factors in the wake of the recession.
The new design is clad in Corten steel, with a protective layer that deliberately has a rust-like appearance.
The arena is merely the first step in a project, conceived by Forest City Ratner, known as Atlantic Yards. Eventually, 16 high-rise buildings, most of them residential, are planned.
Interestingly, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and several other groups that took part in the opposition to the Atlantic Yards plan – especially its use of eminent domain – plan a series of protest events.
While the arena itself is a done deal, they contend that Forest City Ratner has not followed through on initial promises of jobs and affordable housing.
Among these events are a candlelight vigil on Thursday night at the nearby Brooklyn Bears Community Garden; and a press conference, also at the community garden, at 11 a.m. on the morning of the ribbon-cutting.