The long awaited opening of the Barclays Center is finally upon us. It’s been talked about for years; it’s been conceptualized, it’s been planned and it’s been built. In 8 days, the Barclays Center will finally open to the public for a live event.
This isn’t news that is new or breaking, that Jay-Z will open the arena with eight concerts beginning September 28th. It’s just time to start talking about it. If you’re looking for tickets to the opening night show, they are long sold out. It’s been known for months that Jay-Z would open the Barclays Center, and even longer has it been expected, since the rapper played an integral part in bringing a professional sports franchise to his childhood borough.
With the Nets moving from New Jersey, Brooklyn was finally able to justify building a state-of-the-art arena in the heart of town. Manhattan has The Garden, the Bronx has Yankee Stadium, even Queens has Citi Field and now with the Barclays Center, sports are back in Brooklyn. Not since the 1957 Dodgers broke the hearts of Brooklynites by moving to Los Angeles has the borough been this excited about a a game. It’s hard not to be excited.
But before the Deron Williams takes center stage, the Barclays Center will serve as a venue that is more than sports. When Jay-Z performs next Friday, he will be walking distance from the neighborhood that he grew up in, where he would rap on street corners for whoever would listen. Now, he’ll be rapping for 14,586 people.
And it isn’t that Brooklyn didn’t already have any good venues for music or sports. The Concert Hall of Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bowl are great places to see shows, and have both drawn big names. There’s a special, “New York Feeling” about cramming into one of the many basements equipped with a stage and a microphone to watch a band play.
The Cyclones, the Mets minor league baseball team, have been in Brooklyn since 2001. Brooklyn has had its sports, just not at a major level like the Yankees in the Bronx, or the Mets in Queens, or the Knicks in Manhattan.
The Barclays Center changes it all, though. Yes, the borough will still have that personal feel of seeing shows with no more than 50 other people packed in a small room. And of course, going to a Cyclones game on a hot summer night will still be in the plans of many Brooklynites. The Barclays Center makes Brooklyn mainstream again. We have our own team that we will see on SportsCenter. We have our own venue that will attract Jay-Z and Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen. We no longer have to go to Madison Square Garden to get these things because they are coming to us.
When the doors open next Friday night, it will be a proud moment for Brooklyn.