Inside the newest NBA arena- Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC

Changing Skyline: Brooklyn’s Barclays Center a glam, gritty architectural success


By Inga Saffron
Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture Critic

NEW YORK – Brooklyn used to be just a place, one of New York’s five boroughs. But in the last few years it has also become a meme, shorthand for conveying all that it means to be young, urban, and hip in today’s America.

It is no accident that the hit TV show Girls, the Sex and the City of the hipster generation, is set in the Greenpoint section. Or that Brooklyn-themed caps and T-shirts are edging out the Yankees merch on the shelves of sporting goods stores far from the shores of Coney Island. Or that celebrities as vastly different as Jonathan Safran Foer and Jay-Z proudly identify as Brooklynites. As further evidence of Brooklyn rising, we now have the opening of the Barclays Center, the hugely expensive, hugely controversial, architect-designed basketball arena located on a wedge of land between Brooklyn’s downtown and tony Park Slope. So many black Lincoln Town Cars were double-parked in front of its fashionably rusted steel facade for the inaugural event last month – a concert by Jay-Z, natch – that the scene could have easily been mistaken for a Manhattan bash.

Built as the home court of the rechristened Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center is the first installment of the immense, $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards development, which could yield as many as 16 towers in the next 25 years. It also brings big-league sports back to Brooklyn for the first time since its beloved Dodgers were uprooted to Los Angeles in 1957.

Not that everyone is happy about this. Barclays’ opening comes after nine years of legal struggles between the developer, Forest City Ratner, and what is often called Brownstone Brooklyn, the polyglot mix of residents who populate the borough’s rebounding neighborhoods from Dumbo to Bed-Stuy. Though their dispute was ostensibly over prosaic zoning matters, such as traffic and bulk, Barclays was really a battle for the soul of Brooklyn: Would the borough remain an unruly hipster refuge – the archetypal Bobo paradise – or succumb to the sleek, sanitizing forces of Manhattanization?

The question will no doubt strike a chord with Philadelphians, who see Brooklyn as a kindred spirit. Manhattan is so physically different from Philadelphia that it is often hard to imagine its developments superimposed here, but Brooklyn is similarly composed of vast expanses of low-rise, owner-occupied rowhouses, with the middle class and the poor in close proximity.

Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, particularly those surrounding Center City, have also been revived by people of the same demographic and mind-set as their Brooklyn compatriots, and they, too, struggle regularly with issues of identity, gentrification, and authenticity. So many of our planning disputes resemble the one that raged over Barclays, a consequence of big and small buildings alongside one another. With rowhouses on one side and a Gallery-size shopping mall on the other, Barclays occupies the kind of transitional zone that Philadelphians know so well. Plus the process stunk, as often happens in Philadelphia.

So, perhaps the most impressive thing about the arena design, by TriBeCa-based SHoP Architects and the stadium specialist Ellerbe Becket (now part of AECOM), is how well it balances Brooklyn’s conflicting visions of itself. But as Jay-Z raps, in Brooklyn We Go Hard, “I’m a Brooklyn boy. I may take some getting used to.”

It would be too much to say that the $750 million arena fits into the neighborhood, given that it occupies a Janus of a site with Atlantic Avenue on one side and Flatbush on the other, and it is wrapped in an otherworldly carapace of weathered steel. Yet the architecture manages to be both glam and gritty, foreign and familiar. It contains Brooklyn in all its multitudes.

The arena stretches low and long on Atlantic Avenue, like some prehistoric beast rising from the primordial muck. This is largely thanks to a smart decision by the architects to submerge the “bowl,” or playing floor, below ground, keeping the domed roof roughly the height of the adjacent mall. Barclays’ unusual, prostrate posture has already generated a whole bestiary of descriptions – whale, frog, turtle. I’ll add one more: Barclays resembles a duck-billed platypus.

See entire article:


Inside the newest NBA arena
Barclays Center


The location

What’s inside

101 luxury suites
4 bars/lounges
3 clubs
Jay-Z’s 40/40 CLUB & Restaurant by American Express

Nets Shop by adidas
■ Open 7 days a week from 10am – 6pm (hours subject to change)
■ Located at Barclays Center on the Flatbush Ave side of the Arena (adjacent to the GEICO Atrium )

Metro PCS
■ Open 7 days a week from 10am- 9pm.

■ Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 5:30am- 11pm
Friday: 5:30am-12am
Saturday: 6am-12am
Sunday: 6am-10pm

■ Elbow Room
■ Rocawear


Basketball: 18,103
Ice Hockey: 14,500
Concert: 19,000


Brooklyn remains the most populous of New York City’s 5 boroughs 2010 Census Data:
The borders of the borough of Brooklyn and Kings County are the same, that is, Brooklyn makes up ALL of Kings County, and Kings County is ONLY Brooklyn.

2,504,700 people live in Brooklyn, New York

2,230,722 Queens
1,585,873 Manhattan (New York County)
1,385,108 The Bronx
468,730 Staten Island (Richmond County)

Brooklyn was an independent city until it was annexed by New York City in 1898.

Video: Downtown Brooklyn: It’s All Here


About Dilemma X

Dilemma X, LLC provides research dedicated to the progression of economic development. Our services aid clients in enhancing overall production statistics. Please visit for more information

View all posts by Dilemma X


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

One Comment on “Inside the newest NBA arena- Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC”

  1. Mauel cooper Says:

    Great post i like your article because i was really not knowing about such a beautiful place is also there nyc because am new here thanks for giving this good analysis of Brooklyn.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: