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Barclays Center hockey

Horseshoe seating for hockey puts Barclays on thin ice

The Brooklyn Paper

The Barclays Center will debut an unconventional horseshoe-shaped seating configuration for a preseason hockey game this fall — raising questions about whether the undersized arena could truly accommodate an NHL franchise.

A dozen sections behind one of the goals will be closed off when the Islanders take on the hated New Jersey Devils on Oct. 2, according to a seating chart that shows what hockey might look like in a $1-billion arena that would be the smallest stadium in the National Hockey League and the only arena without wrap-around seating.

The Islanders are in the hunt for a new home when its lease at the Nassau Coliseum ends in 2015 — but the team could be forced to relocate sooner if an asbestos cleanup at the remote, 40-year-old venue stretches beyond the start of the hockey season this fall.

A deal with the league requires the Islanders to play on Long Island, which includes Brooklyn at its western tip. But a move to the future home of the Brooklyn Nets is anything but a sure shot, considering the 18,000-seat Barclays Center can only fit 14,500 fans during hockey games — and none behind one of the goals.

Still, some sports experts say the under-construction arena on Flatbush and Atlantic avenues remains the leading option for the squad, claiming the cramped quarters and odd seating arrangement may benefit a team that only averaged 11,000 spectators per game last year.

“It eliminates some very viable seats especially in the lower half of the venue,” said Ray Katz, a managing partner of Source1 Sports and a Flatbush native who teaches sports management at Columbia University. “But it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for that team to have limited seating. It would still be a great thing for Brooklyn.”

The team could even turn lemons into iced lemonade by using some of the arena’s dead space to sell ads and merchandise, Katz said.

“There’s other ways to generate revenue from that side of the arena,” said Katz.

The horseshoe-shaped seating configuration might make the stadium look empty on TV — and its effects could be felt on the ice as well.

During games, one goalie would face fans across the rink while the other would look out onto an empty space behind the opposing net — similar to the center field backdrop in baseball — that could cut down on distractions, said sports consultant Michael Neuman.

“They’ll have to deal with any limitations the Barclays Center has,” said Neuman, the managing partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment, a consulting agency.

Nets spokesman Barry Baum confirmed the seating arrangement, but declined to provide further details.

“We have to see how all the sight lines are and then we’ll move forward,” Baum said.

Arena developer Bruce Ratner has long courted the Islanders. Hockey was originally considered for the arena but the plans were scuttled after Barclays Center starchitect Frank Gehry was fired in 2009 and his proposed design was scraped in an attempt to cut costs.

In January, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he found it hard to believe that a deal couldn’t be hammered out to keep the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. But last month Bettman told the AP that the Barclays Center is a viable alternative.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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Reader Feedback

Charles from Bklyn says:
Looks like the MTA and city picked the best developer for this project. What a pathetic joke. This is a perfect example of when a developer is chosen before the bidding begins, who does not have the expertise nor the money to complete the project.
May 16, 2012, 12:28 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I can't believe they didn't design this arena big enough to be able to hold hockey someday.
May 16, 2012, 1:24 pm
jay from pslope says:
you guys are missing the obvious here, they will redesign it by adding seats on the top tier an make the place bigger. That CAN be done, but first they have to reel in a team.
The Isles may or may not stay in Nassau, if they stay out in Nassau, there is no point in spending the money on adding seats that don't get used, but if they move to Brooklyn, then its simply a matter of an engineering fix to add the additional seats. Its been done in other places and can be done here as well.
Having said that I am amused by the two posters complaining that the place is not set for an NHL team now, but at the same time seem maybe like people who opposed the arena being built in the first place.
May 16, 2012, 2:19 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
I was not "complaining" that the arena is not setup for an NHL team. Further, people who voice strong opinions are only seen as "complaining" by those who disagree. I was speaking in opposition to abuse of power. You are the one complaining, son.

To re-state my opposition, the developer was chosen because of political and personal connections as well as his "gifting" copious amounts of money to supporting organizations of the project. This project's creation was an anti-democratic, anti-free market exercise of political corruption that is doomed to fail and take the neighborhood with it.
May 16, 2012, 2:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I am glad that there are others here that know the real story behind this arena. More importantly, this arena was never built for an NHL team. Maybe it would be for events that involve ice skating or other college hockey, but not the NHL. Many experts have came to the conclusion that the seating capacity and design were clearly not designed to have an NHL franchise. BTW, when Nassau County had the referendum on to renovate or replace Nassau Coliseum, where the Islanders currently play it, they didn't vote against because they didn't want them there anymore, they voted against it because they felt that they tax dollars were more important for serving the public rather than making a rich man richer. Of course, we all know that if Bloomberg gave a referendum for this arena for the Nets or the new stadiums for the Mets, Yankees, and Jets, which didn't get built in the end, he would lose on that, and that explains why he didn't allow for it let alone on whether or not he should have gotten a third term either.
May 16, 2012, 4:07 pm
Ed from Sunset park says:
No one cares what you think, Tal. You don't even live in New York City.

GET A LIFE AND STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERYTHING!!!!!
May 16, 2012, 4:24 pm
Ed from Sunset park says:
BTW, Charles...Ratner was chosen because he's one of the most successful developers in the city. See that HUGE NEW FRANK GEHRY BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN? YEA, Ratner did that one too and it's freakin amazing. Get a clue, this isn't some hack even though saying he is goes along much better with your always irrational comments.
May 16, 2012, 4:26 pm
Blue Seater from Blue Heaven says:
Just move the lousy Islanders to Quebec already. You can't find 10 Islander fans in Nassau or Suffolk, forget Brooklyn or Queens. Move the Islanders to Quebec where real fans will love them They are not wanted in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens or Brooklyn. Then the Rangers can put their AHL team in the Colisieum so we can see our future cup winning stars like Krieder, before they get to the Worlds Most Famous Arena.
May 16, 2012, 4:34 pm
Malembi from BK says:
Hockey sucks
May 16, 2012, 4:43 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ed, if you have actually been following this the way I have, it's the state that paying for this, not just the city. In other words, I do have a say in this, because my tax dollars are paying for this as well as your's are. Judging by your comment, you are probably some shill who works for Ratner, because you seem to think that he does no evil and ignore it all. Just because he chose to set up business at One Pierpoint Plaza when others didn't, doesn't make him a hero. Let's not forget that he destroyed half of downtown Brooklyn with that failed complex known as Metro Tech Center, which is mostly occupied by city and state agencies and the same thing with his Atlantic Center Mall. Forest City Enterprise as a whole throughout the country has records of building their projects with taxpayer dollars, which shows how much they get to live off of the taxpayer dime knowing that they aren't paying for it.
May 16, 2012, 5:28 pm
Pete from Queens says:
Readers here should know that the owner of the islanders wanted to spend a billion dollars of his own money to build a new arena in Nassau County but the Town of Hempstead rejected his plan b/c he wanted to build other buildings as well. No wonder Nassau County is bankrupt.

As for Metrotech: that area was a high crime disaster before Metrotech was built. Building Metrotech helped stabilize the area and now there is luxury residential development in the area as well as the area being revitaized as DUMBO.

Between Ratner and the owner of the islanders, there is enough money to retrofit the BC for NH hockey.
May 16, 2012, 5:52 pm
Lisa from PS says:
I'm more concerned about the tax money I wasted on your education, Tal. We all got ripped off on that one.

Why is metrotech a failure? I saw that a huge tech firm just signed there. I also don't recall anyone else stepping in and building anything in downtown Brooklyn when it was a wasteland. It's good that Ratner cleaned up what was a total ——hole with nothing around, and now it's a vibrant area with works, a new arena and 3 million dollar homes.

It might not be pretty, but what office building is?
May 16, 2012, 5:54 pm
Lisa from PS says:
http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2012/01/20/nyu-poly-opens-new-space-in-metrotech-center.html
May 16, 2012, 5:56 pm
GD from Carroll Gardens says:
Forget debating the merits or faults of Ratner; right now, he's bringing my Nets to Brooklyn (and within a 15-minute stroll from my apartment).

The sad underscore to this lopsided hockey setup is that the anti-Barclays forces delayed the construction of the arena for so long with their holdouts and lawsuits that the Gehry design and its larger scale had to be scrapped. The original arena would have held an NHL arena easily, without the cut-out, horseshoe shape. That said, it's still better than the old barn in Uniondale. I already have my Isles tix, and hope to see you all there.
May 16, 2012, 5:57 pm
Lisa from PS says:
"MakerBot, the red-hot start-up that has been producing consumer-grade 3-D printers on 3rd Avenue and Dean Street for the past couple of years, made headlines today by signing a lease for a big new office space in Downtown Brooklyn's METROTECH."
May 16, 2012, 5:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
For those who seem to be living under a rock, many of Ratner's buildings in Brooklyn were hardly seen as helping, but rather hurting them. MTC was never seen as a prestigious location. During the time it was there, it actually raised up property taxes and rents so high that many long time businesses were driven out, especially because of the TIFs and PILOTs that he never had to pay. You will probably tell me about who is there, and I have been following the news on that, but former Times Square firm and that tech business that just came in didn't come there because of prestige, but because they knew that they were going to be subsidized making it cheap for them. His malls were no better, and they just housed corporations rather than the local businesses that he promised. As for education, I am glad that most of the budgets were supported after yesterday's polls, and that is where tax dollars belong rather than making a rich man like Ratner get richer.
May 16, 2012, 7 pm
Pete from Queens says:
Tal, if taxes went up is was b/c the bldgs were new and/or the ENTIRE tax assessment of NYC went up. It's not like Brooklyn is some town in the suburbs with its own taxing authority; taxes are set by City Hall/ City Council, not the individual boros.

The area where MTC is was a wasteland. That rents went UP is a sign that it STOPPED being a wasteland and is now generating tax revenue for the city instead of costing the city even more money to provide services like Water, Sewer, Road maintenance, Police coverage (high crime areas need more cops).
May 16, 2012, 9:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Pete, if the cops actually stopped the crimes, the neighborhood would get better. Allowing big businesses to move in by subsidies actually hurts the area in the long run, but you tend to think short term. It has been proven countless times that giving these said businesses tax breaks will NOT produce any tax revenue, and these days there are many who are not that foolish to believe that bogus claim. As for the arena, the claim it will revitalize the area is hardly true, and the IBO already found it to be a net money loser. Also, I suggest reading Field of Schemes by Neil de Mause, because he has done his research on why subsidizing sports facilities don't help the communities but rather hurt them instead. Also, that area was hardly blighted, and many of those who lived there weren't high up on the ladder either. Getting back to MTC, when was the last time the government decided to rent in a privately owned area when they can easily own a place? Doesn't it feel awkward that such a complex is dominated by them when it's supposed to be private only? Even JP Morgan Chase didn't want a lot of space there, which made most of it when originally open nothing but a big glut that wasn't asked for.
May 16, 2012, 9:20 pm
jay from pslope says:
Charles thanks for clarifying your previous comments, I understand a lot of people did not want this project, or did not want it done the way it was, or the way it turned out.
There does appear do have been some funny business that went on with this, and it also appears that in the end the city will wind up losing a lot of money on this project.
Having said that, the area where its been built was mostly a big hole in the ground. It is true that some people had their business and homes taken from them and that they got hurt, but Brooklyn really needs to build.
You drive around and see you see housing stock thats over 100 years old, some of it is in good shape, but a lot of it is kind run down, and you get inside and there have been so many "renovations" done that its a night mare.
You have apartments where the land lord was cheap and put multiple fuseboxes on the same line, so when your neighbor turns on the hair blower, your lights flicker and get dim.
The apartments have been chopped up and subdivided so many times that the pipes in most buildings can't handle a washer and drier.
Some of these places still have active gas lines in the walls that date from before there was electricity and houses were lit with gas. Put a nail through one of those lines when hanging a picture and you have a problem.
Landlord after landlord just take as much as they can out of the building whole doing the legal minimum that they have to do to avoid winding up in housing court looking at a pissed off judge, and they can because people don't have a lot of great choices when it comes to places to live, relative to how many people live here.
Anyway, the point is that there a lot in Brooklyn that could be spruced up, rebuilt, or re-developed.
You have people paying lots of money for housing that is sub-standard compared to the rest of the country, and in this day and age to not be able to have a laundry machine in your place while paying what people pay to live here is pretty retarded.
I had hoped that maybe a bunch of new apartment buildings at this site would do some good, but now it just looks like we get a substandard arena that if a hockey team is to play there, will need some upgrading.
I don't think its going to ruin the neighborhood forever like some claim, but the final product is a bit disappointing.
If the Isles wind up moving there, I will go so I can boo them because Potvin STILL sucks.
GO RANGERS!!
May 16, 2012, 10:11 pm
jay from pslope says:
Charles thanks for clarifying your previous comments, I understand a lot of people did not want this project, or did not want it done the way it was, or the way it turned out.
There does appear do have been some funny business that went on with this, and it also appears that in the end the city will wind up losing a lot of money on this project.
Having said that, the area where its been built was mostly a big hole in the ground. It is true that some people had their business and homes taken from them and that they got hurt, but Brooklyn really needs to build.
You drive around and see you see housing stock thats over 100 years old, some of it is in good shape, but a lot of it is kind run down, and you get inside and there have been so many "renovations" done that its a night mare.
You have apartments where the land lord was cheap and put multiple fuseboxes on the same line, so when your neighbor turns on the hair blower, your lights flicker and get dim.
The apartments have been chopped up and subdivided so many times that the pipes in most buildings can't handle a washer and drier.
Some of these places still have active gas lines in the walls that date from before there was electricity and houses were lit with gas. Put a nail through one of those lines when hanging a picture and you have a problem.
Landlord after landlord just take as much as they can out of the building whole doing the legal minimum that they have to do to avoid winding up in housing court looking at a pissed off judge, and they can because people don't have a lot of great choices when it comes to places to live, relative to how many people live here.
Anyway, the point is that there a lot in Brooklyn that could be spruced up, rebuilt, or re-developed.
You have people paying lots of money for housing that is sub-standard compared to the rest of the country, and in this day and age to not be able to have a laundry machine in your place while paying what people pay to live here is pretty retarded.
I had hoped that maybe a bunch of new apartment buildings at this site would do some good, but now it just looks like we get a substandard arena that if a hockey team is to play there, will need some upgrading.
I don't think its going to ruin the neighborhood forever like some claim, but the final product is a bit disappointing.
If the Isles wind up moving there, I will go so I can boo them because Potvin STILL sucks.
GO RANGERS!!
May 16, 2012, 10:11 pm
Pete from Queens says:
Tal, what exactly was the long term plan for this area? For the longest time it was a mixture of abandoned factories, abandoned residential bldgs, Public Housing and aging housing stock. In order to encourage development the city gave tax breaks and other subsidies to get the ball rolling after decades of waiting for private investment that never came.

In case you didn't know, NYC has an income tax, so the NYC resident employees working there pay NYC taxes and the companies there also pay NYC taxes. The people who now live in the new residential bldgs, some of which are luxury bldgs, also pay income taxes to NYC.

Handing out tax breaks and subsidies for depressed areas are often times the only way to lift those areas up. I'll be the first to say that handing them out in desired places like Midtown or upperclass areas is unnecessary, but this part of Brooklyn was a good candidate for it.

Yea, it would be nice if those old bldgs could have been better maintained and the neighborhood retain it's old working class, mom & pop business charm, but unfortunately you'll have to go to places like Brooklyn Heights and Bay Ridge where the private investment of homeowners and landlords kept those areas going. Unfortunately this part of Brooklyn didn't attract the individual investment that other older parts of NYC have attracted from their residents.
May 16, 2012, 11:20 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
It has been interesting to watch how Brooklyn has evolved over the last fifteen years. Fourth Avenue, for example, is on the verge of becoming a grand boulevard, thanks to the development happening there. What happens after the stadium opens is an even bigger question. If they host both a hockey and a basketball team and other events besides, the Atlantic & Flatbush intersection is going to start looking like Times Square with its pedestrian density (and who knows, perhaps even signage). There is a lot of creative energy in Brooklyn these days that is producing new businesses and great art, so with two major sports teams and a revitalized BAM cultural district could the center of gravity in the city shift to Brooklyn?
May 17, 2012, 2:20 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Corruption by any other name is still corruption. Bruce Ratner does not create impressive private developments with his own money. He creates mediocre projects through political favors, government tax abatements and government leases. What a joke. This project is an insult to every hard working middle class person or small landlord in the city. And the fact he is building a sub-par arena is no ones fault but his own. He obviously has a lack of resources and skill necessary for the project, to which the city and MTA ignored when they approved him as the developer.
May 17, 2012, 1:12 pm
Jbob from Park Slope says:
With the Dolans running MSG, theres a huge opportunity to become the premier facility in NYC. Cant wait for the grand opening!
May 17, 2012, 3:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I just want to clarify this to those who haven't actually been following this the way I have, and I suggest that some of you actually see the film, Battle for Brooklyn, because a lot of the real story is answered in that. To understand about having an NHL team there, the arena was NEVER built with an intention for an NHL team, just an NBA team. The most they would have for hockey would be either preseason games or some other smaller hockey events, but not NHL. As for the area itself, it was never truly blighted. There were many people living there for decades with many of the former factories being converted into residential units, and this isn't something new, plus this is the idea of how Jane Jacobs believed that not every neighborhood just had to be destroyed and built over for something completely new. Most of them living there in the proposed footprint were only given two choices and that was to either sell to Ratner already or get booted out via eminent domain, which was clearly being abused here, while saying no was never an option. If any of you are really eating to what FCR or the ESDC on the claim that the area is blighted, then you have probably never been to that area before it got destroyed or probably have connections with either of the two groups I just mentioned making that claim.
May 17, 2012, 10:57 pm
Markus from Waldorf, MD (former Brooklyn resident) says:
I have a suggestion. Maybe sell the emtpy seats for a fan friendly option. I really want to see the Isles playing in BK, hockey really fits Brooklyn!
May 18, 2012, 1:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I just can't believe how some of you are ignoring what really went on just to think that getting this arena is all that matters no matter what is involved. I guess to some, the end justifies the means despite what was being used to get it. That does raise a big question for this. If this was your property or somebody you knew either as a friend of family member that was being torn down for this arena, would you still be supporting it or have a different take on it? Also, I tend to find it a double standard on those who support this project despite the fact they opposed eminent domain and/or corporate welfare on other projects. Why does this one get a pass when others like the Jets Stadium didn't? When Ratner breaks his promises on all the jobs and affordable housing he claimed there would be there, don't come crawling to me about it, because you were warned about it. On a side note, BUILD, who was known for buying everything Ratner said to them, did recently go to court on the claim that he broke the said promises to them.
May 18, 2012, 5:25 pm
JD123 from Prospect Heights says:
Nassau Coliseum seats under 17,000 fans. Barclays hockey seats 14,500. And, as some have mentioned earlier, the Islanders already have a difficult time filling their current arena. Still, if the Islanders are serious about playing in BK, engineers can modify the layout of the arena to include additional seats to fill in most of the currently empty section. No big deal. Goodness, arena opponents/haters will stop at nothing to shoot down every aspect of the project, which leads them to make illogical and unsupported conclusions and arguments. I get that you all are disappointed with how the arena came through, but get over it. You lost! The Atlantic Yards pre-Barclays was a seriously blighted area, worse than dirt. This development is brining much needed jobs and neighborhood improvements to Brooklyn. Unless neighborhood residents sell willingly, I doubt that we'll see the immediate surrounding neighborhoods becoming a fast-food franchise heaven. Eminent Domain, while a powerful tool, isn't going to be used to accommodate a McDonald's, etc., which serves a much smaller public purpose than an arena and apartment buildings.
July 22, 2012, 1:56 pm
JD123 from Prospect Heights says:
*bringing
July 22, 2012, 1:57 pm

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