Barclays Center Officially Opens, But Not Everyone’s Happy About It
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City has the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, and now it also has the world’s newest arena.
The hottest ticket in town is in downtown Brooklyn. With a laser show flashing over head, a massive wave of fans poured into the Barclays Center on Friday night for a concert by Jay-Z, his first of eight over the next nine days. Thousands were in attendance for the inaugural concert featuring Brooklyn’s own hip hop superstar and part owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“I was in line forever! I slept in line because I had to go to the concert. I had to support Jay-Z and I love Beyoncé,” Crown Heights resident Dulcy Phillips said.
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“This experience, this arena here is great for the city. And I just think this is wonderful,” Jay-Z fan Jeffrey Shau added.
There were even some celebrity sightings, including Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson and members of the Nets, who will proudly call Barclays home.
“I’m excited first to see the new building. I’m excited also for the people who live in Brooklyn and I’m definitely excited for the man who owns part of the Brooklyn Nets, who sold out nine shows in Jay-Z,” Johnson said.
“This new arena and the atmosphere around the arena and the fans. It’s very exciting I can’t wait for the first preseason game,” Nets power forward James Mays added.
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But not everyone in downtown Brooklyn is rolling out the welcome mat for the 18,000-seat venue.
“I know that Brooklyn, people from Brooklyn, are going to support this stadium, but if they’re going to support the stadium, the stadium needs to support them also,” Fort Green resident Jelani Mashariki said.
“We’ve all been robbed. They dipped into our pockets to build this and to the tune of billions of dollars. The least they could give what they promised,” Fort Green’s Lucy Koteen added.
Earlier Friday, dozens camped outside the arena, rallying against real estate developer Forest City Ratner companies, whose development, protestors said, fell short of what was guaranteed.
“This is bread and circuses, you know? People are going to enjoy Jay-Z concert and that’s great for those people, but we were promised 10,000 permanent jobs for Brooklynites and 2,250 affordable housing units for Brooklynites and we’re not getting any of those,” said Daniel Goldstein of the group “Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.”
“In the long run we want the governor to take control of this project and put it back on track,” added Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.
Some locals said the project is exactly what Brooklyn needs and they couldn’t wait for the entertainment to begin.
“Now you know when tourists go through, it’s not just going to be Madison Square Garden. It’s also going to be here. It’s going to be great,” said Milena Desenne of Bushwick.
“I love change and having the arena is a big change for us here in Brooklyn,” Phillips added.
The Downtown area was under gridlock alert during the show. Police did not report any major traffic issues. It appears most spectators followed advice and took mass transit. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority added subway and Long Island Rail Road service to help with the post-concert crowd.
For more information about getting to and from the Barclays Center, click here.
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