Jay-Z opens Barclays Center to sold-out crowd

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Open for business: Brooklyn-born rapper and Brooklyn Nets part-owner Jay-Z christened the new Barclays Center on Friday, performing the first of eight concerts there.
Soapbox Derby part 1: “Occupy Wall Street” protesters showed up early as well.
Soapbox Derby part 2: Anti-arena protester Daniel Goldstein and arena supporter Samuel Gaito of Flatbush have a heated argument outside the Barclays Center.
Train of thought: The sun went down and the people came up. Plenty of attendees took the subway, which has a new entrance at the arena, to the concert.
From near and far: Attendees Justina Omokhugi (left, from Harlem), Bozoma Saintjohn (center, from Harlem), and Erika Priestley (right, from Los Angeles) had their tickets at the ready.
Just far: Frances James (left) and Saida Cherry came from Los Angeles to see the show.
Soapbox derby part 3: There were plenty of protests at the grand opening — and not all of them focused on the controversial arena. Fatima Shakur of Bedford-Stuyvesant lashed out against police brutality.
Soapbox derby part 4: And Christina Gonzales of Harlem is against the police department’s — and Jay-Z’s — stand on stop-and-frisk tactics.
Soapbox derby part 5: This protest was against the just-built arena.
Rail roading: These guys will tell you that It’s easy to get from Montauk to the Barclays Center without having to drive.
On guard: A “pedestrian safety guard” sings as he directs traffic and people.
Night on the Brooklyn town: The Barclays Center was the place to be.
Star gazing: Jay-Z fans await the glitteratti at the VIP entrance.
Stacked house: Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse was one of the many celbrities in attendance.
Martinka-ing: A gala opening isn’t a gala opening unless CNG photographer Paul Martinka is spotted doing what he does best.
Jay-wow: Finally, the Brooklyn-born rapper hit the stage.
Safe at home: It was the firt time Jay-Z performed at an arena in his hometown. Barbra Streisand will make her return to the borough on Oct. 11.

Legendary rapper Jay-Z played the first-ever show at the Barclays Center on Friday night, packing the new arena with a hometown crowd eager to welcome the native son back to Brooklyn.

Wearing a Brooklyn Nets jersey and cap, the rapper from the Marcy Projects who owns a tiny stake in the basketball team took the stage inside the $1-billion stadium and asked: “Is Brooklyn in the house?

It was a moment that hoops fans and critics of the long-stalled Atlantic Yards mega-project agree will change the borough forever.

“This is history in the making,” said 27-year-old Jay-Z fan Myrtha Xavier, who came from Staten Island to see the performance. “He’s the highest-ranked hip hop artist and no one can take that from him.”

In the hours before the sold-out show, fans of Jay-Z’s music milled about outside the arena, while movers and shakers strolled down a black carpet (red doesn’t match the Nets color scheme) lit by the flashbulbs of press photographers. Amid the hustle and bustle, protesters staged last-minute demonstrations against the long-stalled Atlantic Yards development, which calls for far more than hoops and hip hop concerts, as well as NYPD policy.

Jay-Z took the stage and debuted a new verse before welcoming a crowd packed with celebrities including his wife Beyonce, future Nets players, sports legends including Magic Johnson, and arena developer Bruce Ratner to “the house HOV built.”

The emcee, also known as Jigga-Man, then went through his repertoire of classics such as “Izzo (H.O.V.A)” and “99 Problems,” as well as a cover of the late Clinton Hill legend Notorious B.I.G.’s hit “Juicy.”

Lovers of Jay-Z’s music said his rags-to-riches life story is as inspirational as his New York City ballad “Empire State of MInd.”

“He was dirt poor and now he’s a big deal entrepreneur. You gotta respect that,” said 27-year-old Quintin Potte, also of Staten Island. “I hope he brings out Alicia Keys for that New York song.”

Others went even further to take Jay-Z’s business-minded approach to heart.

“We’re hustling tonight,” said Watts Hopkins, who camped out in front of the stadium to sell glow-in-the-door “grills” — illuminated dental adornments that fans could clip onto their teeth.

Updated 5:36 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
What? Wait... "Throngs of people descended on Downtown Brooklyn for opening night of the Barclays Center on Friday – but for the most part, by late evening, the choking traffic and transit snarls that some feared never came to fruition."
Sept. 29, 2012, 9:26 am
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
Can they turn off the helicopters next time? So noisy.
Sept. 29, 2012, 12:33 pm
Prospect Heights Residents from Prospect Heights says:
I am amazed by the deafening silence from the usual group of arena project haters, namely Tal and Bob from Clinton Hill. Their silence tells me what I have long suspected: that many of the arena opponents hate the project so much that they are hoping and praying that it fails. They are hoping and praying for "chaos" and unruliness, regardless of the negative impact that such outcomes would have on the borough. This negative and cynical approach is disgraceful.
Sept. 29, 2012, 7:04 pm
REAL Park Slope Resident from Park Slope says:
I agree with whoever said in another thread that some of these posters are working for Ratner. Especially Prospect Heights Residents. If they aren't working for him directly, they work for somebody who has a contract with him, or signed that fake Community Benefits Agreement!

The last two nights have seen that area turned into an occupied police zone. And who gave them the right to use those lasers, right below the major flight path to 2 airports? And as a strobe? You go into a theater using a strobe, they issue warning signs. Nobody even knew they were going to be using these things here! And it's a miracle the PC Richards wall hasn't dissolved from all the urine!
Sept. 30, 2012, 9:35 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I do have a life outside the internet unlike some here who don't. Another reason I didn't comment yesterday was because I went down to Brooklyn to see the opening exhibition Atlantic Yards Deconstructed by famous photographer Tracy Collins over at the Soapbox Gallery right after I was done with my work, which is located at 636 Dean Street, and will be there for about a month for anyone who wants to see it themselves. Just because I didn't say anything yesterday, doesn't mean that I stopped fighting it. At least the slideshow does show the opposition in there unlike many others who try to omit them. BTW, those lasers can create major problems in not just the sky, but other places they point on the ground, though there is more about it on the Atlantic Yards Report. As for the statement about aliens, it sure looks like they have landed with this one.
Sept. 30, 2012, 11:37 am
Prospect Heights Resident from Prospect Heights says:
And the cynicism and general negativity continues. It is a shame that you all continue to focus on the negative, exaggerating the ills of the project, while failing to even acknowledge the successes (or the lack of "feared" problems). Truly pathetic.
Sept. 30, 2012, 8:46 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Prospect Heights Resident, where was I being negative or cynical, I was just saying what really happened that got that arena built? Then again, I guess to those like yourself, the end justifies the means. As long as you got the arena, you just couldn't care less how it got there, just that's it's there. I suggest you go to that gallery or at least look at Tracy Collin's Flickr page, who goes as threecee on there, to see what was there before it got knocked down. Also, I am glad that we have those like Norman Oder, who does the AYR, to mention the real story, and his blog on this is highly credited. As for Daniel Goldstien, what he was doing for his new home was hardly hypocritical, because there are many who renovate their homes by adding something to it especially if it's the reach their maximum height, which doesn't require the zoning board on that. The real hypocrites are those who have opposed similar actions used to get other private projects built by taxpayer dollars such as the never-built Jets stadium or the now-built Yankee Stadium and many others, but were either completely silent or had no problems with the Nets arena. Maybe it was because it wasn't in their backyards.
Sept. 30, 2012, 9:02 pm
Prospect Heights Resident from Prospect Heights says:

You've been negative and cynical with each one of your posts about this project. You focus on what's happening (true), but you only highlight the negatives and completely ignoring the positives of the project, and has continuously been predicting a gloomy state of things once the arena opened. Listening to you (and others), an uninformed reader would be misled as to the actual state of things at the arena site. There is no chaos, traffic has not been a huge issue (you've earlier claimed traffic hell once the arena opens, but have been silent on the matter now that the arena is open and things are running pretty smoothly), and many businesses are thriving. AYR is a pretty informative site, and one that I frequent. However, unlike your criticism, AYR also posts "positive" news (or at least truthful news) about what is taking place at the site.
Sept. 30, 2012, 11:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Prospect Heights Resident, it is still early, so just wait until later on when the Nets season starts, and you will start to see the chaos that has been talked about. Still, there is nothing to be positive about an arena that was brought in by eminent domain abuse, corporate welfare, and back room deals. Don't forget that Ratner made a promise to many who have pushed the way for him with real paying jobs and affordable housing, which he has done neither despite having them sign a CBA that even said that they can't go against him if he doesn't keep up what he meant. Now, the opposition is holding Ratner accountable for his promises. In reality, the claim that new sports facilities help the area they are in is only short term, because in the long run, many will be going to those places less, not more. As for Oder and the AYR, despite his stance against the project, all of his entries are neutral and he only debunks some of the articles on this subject to say what really happened, plus he launched that blog on his own, not because he was told to. Overall, we can go on and on here, but I don't buy into your good faith and wish full thinking that you have towards this project in that it will be benefit despite studies such as the IBO that have proven otherwise.
Oct. 1, 2012, 10:16 am
P from Park Slope says:
The amount of noise from the post-show crowds is already intolerable. We live a block and a half from the Rusty Bucket (as I have taken to calling it), and I couldn't get to sleep because of all the yelling and hollering the throngs of people on 5th were making. Where are the security (private or NYPD) keeping the residential neighborhoods next door sane and quiet? This is RIDICULOUS.
Oct. 1, 2012, 2:50 pm
REAL Park Slope Resident from Park Slope says:
Careful, P, or Prospect Heights Resident will get on you for your negative thoughts no matter what your actual experience is! He thinks that Happy Thoughts and lying "facts" are all that anyone needs to put up with Rusty Bucket, or P of S, depending on how you feel.
Oct. 1, 2012, 3:25 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Norm and HOVA will soon be best buds.
Oct. 1, 2012, 5:34 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Norm and HOVA will soon be best buds.
Oct. 1, 2012, 5:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
P, if this had to go through ULURP only, it would never get off the ground. According to city zoning laws, it would be illegal to build such a thing like an arena in such an area. With the place 20 blocks from a major highway, the traffic would be a nightmare, which was one of the major reasons for not having it there. You may not feel the problems now, but wait until they come for you.
Oct. 1, 2012, 5:46 pm
ty from pps says:
"but wait until they come for you"?! You're such a weirdo.

And, Tal, why are you speaking about traffic in the future? The arena is open NOW with 19,000 people every night. Where is the "nightmare" traffic?

Uggh. You're so ridiculous. And you're just working against the cause you supposedly support.

P has an issue with the noisy people. Why do you keep bringing up the non-existent traffic?
Oct. 1, 2012, 7 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, when you sound like that, you either have probably never been to that area before it was all demolished or probably work for Ratner, because only his paid supporters would go into denial of the real issues.
Oct. 1, 2012, 7:58 pm
Prospect Heights Resident from Prospect Heights says:

This is not denial of the real issues, but rather acknowledgment of what is actually going on and calling out those who over-exaggerate/present nothing but negative accounts about the project.

Why do you think that those who have a positive view of the arena project have to be either Ratner employees or people who don't live in the area? This is delusional thinking. I am a Prospect Heights resident since 1999, and do not work for Ratner or any affiliated group. Yet, I see the benefit of the project and am glad that it is here to stay. News flash: there are many, many others like me.

You mention that there is "nothing positive" to be found about the arena. But, after seeing that many of your fears have not materialized, how can you say that this is not positive news? Your hate towards the project is so great that it blinds your perception of reality. Things that are positive and meaningful all turn into negatives. Based on your own earlier predictions of the traffic chaos, which would be a negative of the project according to you and others, one would think that a lack of traffic chaos would be a positive (or, at the very least, not a negative as you continue to portray it). Yet, you do not have it as such and, instead, continue to hold your prediction off into the future.
Oct. 1, 2012, 8:09 pm
ty from pps says:

Can anyone here translate?
Oct. 1, 2012, 8:13 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- there are legitimate issues to discuss about the arena in what most of us call reality... now... in real life. not in your fantasies.

By the way. How do you get one of these "paid supporter" jobs? I could use some extra cash.
Oct. 1, 2012, 8:16 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
Wow, noise on a city street at night. Shocking.

If you want peace and quiet, perhaps city living is not for you.
Oct. 2, 2012, 7:07 am
derp from the isle o'coney says:
Yeah right Tal basketball fans, not concertgoers create chaos in the streets. All those predictions of unbearable traffic, overcrowded subway stations and urinating on front yards - didn't happen and they won't come basketball season. Nostradamus you are not.
Oct. 2, 2012, 8:20 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I cannot believe what some of the supporters are saying about this. Just because some of this hasn't happened right now, doesn't mean that it won't happen at all. Most of what I and other opponents have mentioned are mostly going to occur during Nets games, which are the main tenants of that arena. The real reason the project was able to stay around was because the ESDC put it all on life support or it would have been dead by now. For Ratner, it's always great to have friends in high places. Still, I am waiting to see proof on how the arena will be a benefit when the Independent Budget Office, a completely neutral group, has already proven it to be a net money loser. Also, I suggest reading Field of Schemes where Neil de Mause debunks the claim that such places like this can really bring in tax revenues let alone revitalize a community. As for Jay-Z himself, he did once say in one of raps where he wishes the worst for those who have opposed the project in his 99 Problems as in sticking it to the haters as he calls it.
Oct. 2, 2012, 6:09 pm
Someone who see a better place from New York says:
I'm very glad to see that the Arena had opened now and all the Street work is completed. I'm walking distance from the Barclay Center (The New Pride of Brooklyn) and look forward to the many fine Performers that will appear there. As for DG it'sd good that he has the oppotunity to expand on his home, it's truly his right but he did his thing to hold up the process to squeeze as much out of the Developer as possible, walking away with a very large handful. I'm sure if the neighbor had remained the same he wouldn't have been so lucky, sorry wrong word it should be GREEDY.
Oct. 2, 2012, 7:55 pm
Prospect Heights Resident from Prospect Heights says:
Tal, you're just being ridiculous now. After expressing your fears of chaos and traffic nightmares stemming from the arena opening, you have been proved wrong. Jay-Z has held 4 capacity concerts since the center opened without any of your "traffic" fears materializing. What may happens is less relevant than what is happening now. One of your many, many criticisms of the arena is not materializing. Instead of acknowledging this point, you cynically take a "well see what happens in the future" approach.

Even if the arena itself is not a money maker, I am willing to bet that the tax revenues from the housing being built on site and from all of the new businesses opening because of the arena will ultimately make the project a net money maker for the city. The IBO analysis only focuses on revenue from the arena project itself (if I am not mistaken), failing to take into account revenues from businesses and residences (and increased property taxes due to increased housing prices) that would not have occurred without the project . . . or at least arguably would not have occurred at the same rate.

In terms of the Field of Schemes, true, not all arena/stadium projects have revitalized the areas that they were built to the extent hoped. However, there are some examples where this has happened, including the arena in Washington D.C., home to the Wizards. We are seeing the revitalization now, though, right here in Prospect Heights. Since word of the arena was announced, I cannot tell you how many new building permits were filed, and new dwellings built. Empty lots and destitute streets are suddenly sprouting new life throughout the area. New restaurants, bars, and other businesses are opening in the area. All of this is happening because of the promise of what the arena project holds. de Mause's analysis will not hold the end of the day for this project; it has already shown that it does not apply for this case!
Oct. 3, 2012, 12:49 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Prospect Heights Resident, you claim that you have no affiliations with Ratner or any of his cronies, but your comments does sound like someone reading the script. If you were to say that DG and everyone else fighting this project because they were NIMBYs, who happened to be living in the footprint, weren't fighting this project because they would be living with it, they were fighting it because this would be built on their property. Unfortunately, I cannot accept the claim that we have Ratner's word on this, because is typical for any developer to say this and then break it later on. The rest of the project would take more than a decade to build assuming it ever does get built, and that time frame has been ruled to be unrealistic, and the opposition isn't to blame for that. Also, the opposition has never been opposed to development on the rail yards, and their alternative wasn't to just see it left as is if the arena never got built, it was to build a more sensible project such as the UNITY Plan and possibly subdivide the rail yards. If the rail yards were to stay undeveloped, that would have been because of the MTA, not the opposition, which was the case for the West Side Yards where the Jets Stadium was supposed to go. Still, the sources I mentioned came with research, but I am still waiting for proof that says the exact opposite, and good faith and wish full thinking doesn't count. In the long run, businesses will become hurt by this as less will come later on even though they are coming right now, proving that this is only short term only. On a side note, many interim lots in NYC have been left as parking lots for decades, and I don't think that this one will be any different than all the others. As for DG, he should have gotten much more, because what he got was chump change when compared to what Ratner got in subsidized bonds and what his CEOs make.
Oct. 3, 2012, 10:48 am
Tannis Baker from East Boston, mASS says:
TalB, do you even know where brooklyn is, living out there in Pleasantville? Somehow I doubt the place is very pleasant with a fat tub of goo like yourself, but then again, I suspect you never leave your mom's basement except to stock up on fried dough and onion rings and cream soda.
Admit it, you are just sore because Ratner is not a fan of the WNBA. Irreguauardlessly, can you undebunk your indebunkable arguments?
Oct. 5, 2012, 12:02 pm

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