BROOKLYN NETS ~ Twenty Months After Ground-Breaking Day and a Change in Majority Ownership, Jay-Z Still Rules the Brooklyn Scene Since Day One.
After six years of planning and legal wrangling, Barclays Center is now in it's second Autumn of construction. Twenty months ago, Ground Breaking Day 2010 officially kicked off the long fought, and long delayed project to build Brooklyn's new arena. The brunch time ceremonies were conducted inside a prepared white tent where Bruce Ratner finally enjoyed a triumphant day before the Media.
It was more Bruce's show then. He owned the team that was going to play in his new arena on this site he acquired. This was all part of his greater plan to build Atlantic Yards. Buying the team and announcing his intentions to move them to Brooklyn was one matter however. How he was able to acquire the site was another. And while he's still accountable for the greater Atlantic Yards portion of the project, as you know, the Nets have a new majority owner now; Mikhail Prokhorov.
But on this day back in March of 2010, Bruce Ratner and his minority-share partner in the New Jersey Nets; Jay-Z; were finally able to announce construction on the home for the first professional sports franchise in Brooklyn since the Dodgers left town, was actually beginning.
Flatbush Avenue ~ March 2010
Construction of the arena now fills a ground level void which existed because this is the site of the LIRR train yards below. It's the same location once desired by Walter O'Malley for his Dodgers. The location remained as just a big hole in downtown Brooklyn since the day O'Malley was denied and has served to do nothing but separate three neighborhoods from each other. And that's something I think Jay-Z, Brooklyn's Marcy Housing native, can attest to. What we also know in hindsight, is that O'Malley didn't necessarily have the neighborhoods' best interest in mind so much as him being able to have the new "Long Islander" have access to his club. Where as Jay-Z comes from one of these very neighborhoods.
As was the case on Ground Breaking Day, with Jay-Z comes incredible mass appeal. An appearance by Beyonce never hurts either. Today, the officially soon to be Brooklyn Nets are tapping into their Partner, local and global resource, as best they can. The Welcome To Brooklyn campaign is done. The new thing is all about ACCESS now. And so the billboards have been modified accordingly. This billboard pictured features Jay-Z high atop Flatbush Avenue directly across the street from Barclays Center off Dean Street.
I was also pleased once we learned Jay-Z was the primary instigator for naming the team - Brooklyn Nets. Promotional and marketing wise speaking, if he says it is good; then it is good! But I also think the name is very appropriate.
His other request was to open the arena with a concert; perhaps multiple. And why not? He's been there since "Day One."
BARCLAYS CENTER: at Flatbush Avenue, Dean Street, and 5th Avenue.