News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
March 7, 2021
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News + Views

Nets Arena Opens on Atlantic

By Lisa M. Collins

For so long it seemed like it would’t happen. And then it did. On Sept. 28, the Barclays Center, the arena for the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, opened.

Originally, the massive development project for the Brooklyn Navy Yards, at Atlantic and Flatbush, was planned to open with a towering office and residential high-rise complex around it, but lawsuits and then a failing economy derailed those plans, at least for now.

What is left is a hulking, swirling steel complex that’s designed to look somewhat rusted and very modern, like an industrial Guggenheim for George Jetson and his family to visit in their cartoon space ships, if the 70s cartoon star had $100 a ticket to spend on his family (he certainly did not). The New Yorker, in a recent piece discussing the Barclays Center architecture in comparison to Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governor’s Island, calls it a “designer U.F.O.” with an “aggressive” presence. New York Magazine calls it an “architectural chest bump.”

I’m not a huge fan, but I suppose it’s the best the developers could do in the midst of a years-long bloody battle over whether the thing would get built and whether it was legal for the owners to use multi-millions of dollars in tax breaks from the state government to do so. Legal or not, the developers got the money, and they built the arena. It’s here, and it’s opening soon.

The Nets aren’t supposed to be very good, and the team’s Russian billionaire owner is said to be losing interest. But no matter — the whole shebang is sure to be a hit, and to drastically alter downtown Brooklyn’s landscape.

Atlantic Avenue gridlock, here we come!



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