Posts Tagged ‘Barclays Center’

NBA Behind The Scenes: The Photo Game (Part One)


(Editor’s Note: While we cover the NBA as obsessively as we can around here, there are still numerous ancillary parts of the game experience that we want to uncover and explore. Being involved with the NBA can mean everything from serving up exotic foods to firing shirts into the crowd. We will delve into these angles of the NBA as part of a new regular (and perhaps a bit irregular) All Ball series, NBA Behind The Scenes.)

BROOKLYN — It was 3:30 on Monday afternoon in Brooklyn, four hours before the Brooklyn Nets would play host to the Portland Trail Blazers. The interior hallways of the Barclays Center were mostly deserted, save for a few food service employees firing up ovens and custodial staff giving the place a final shine before thousands of fans arrived. Out on the arena floor, a rec league championship game was taking place.

Sitting in a folding chair just below one of the baskets was a man in a black polo shirt and jeans, working at a determined pace. He wasn’t tall, wasn’t short, and his blond hair made determining his age require more than a glance. He tore black gaffers tape into strips and secured loose wires that were splayed all over the place — to the basket support, from the basket support, along the cement arena floor, on the edge of the court. Three large hard plastic containers were open on the floor around him, all neatly packed with lenses, cameras, tripods and various other equipment. A hand truck was just behind, waiting to be loaded up and rolled away.

The man’s assistant turned up, carrying several camera batteries, which were checked and rechecked, and some were swapped out for more potent options. Words like “reflectors” and “overheads” were used casually between the two men in conversation. A ladder was propped up under a backboard, and a multi-thousand dollar camera was affixed to the glass and carefully aimed out toward the paint.

I had come to Brooklyn to meet up with Nathaniel S. Butler, who is a photographer for NBA Photos, and has been chronicling the NBA in pictures for about two decades now. You may not know Nat Butler’s name, but if you’re an NBA fan, you almost definitely know his work. Like perhaps this image …

John Starks drives hard for a slam dunk


NBA Behind The Scenes: Brooklyn Taste

VIDEO: Brooklyn Taste at the Barclays Center

(Editor’s Note: While we cover the NBA as obsessively as we can around here, there are still numerous ancillary parts of the game experience that we want to uncover and explore. Being involved with the NBA can mean everything from serving up exotic foods to firing shirts into the crowd. We will delve into these angles of the NBA as part of a new regular (and perhaps a bit irregular) All Ball series, NBA Behind The Scenes.)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you live in or around the New York area, you’ve been hearing about the Barclays Center for a while. A new arena in Brooklyn was initially announced about a decade ago, and was first scheduled to open in 2006. But the project hit bumps along the way, the way that pretty much any large-scale building scenario in the New York area seems to find delays. When the Barclays Center finally opened for business in 2012, and started hosting Brooklyn Nets games soon after, all it took was one lap around the concourse to realize there was something really cool and different happening.

When they built the Barclays Center and started figuring out details, someone made the wise choice to eschew generic concession stands in favor of highlighting food from local Brooklyn restaurants. Brooklyn is a borough with a broad and varied history — why not look close by when you’re looking for something to eat? They call the program Brooklyn Taste, and in the first year of the program, there were 37 Brooklyn restaurants represented in Barclays. This season that number has swelled to 55 Brooklyn restaurants.

Not only are there are a ton of different foods available, there are so many different styles of food available. You want a slice of pizza? Sure, you can get pizza made by L&B Spumoni Gardens, a restaurant in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, that has been serving pies since 1939. Then there’s food from well-known places such as Nathan’s, from Fatty ‘Cue, from Paisano’s Butcher Shop. Junior’s cheesecake? Yeah, that too.

Even though I’ve been to numerous games at the Barclays Center, the life of a writer generally dictates hanging around in subterranean tunnels while the world happens above you. But last week we decided to investigate the Brooklyn Taste program, so I emerged into the main concourse with a camera crew and met up with Chef Alphonse Lanza, the executive chef of the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Taste program. Chef Al took me to several places and let me sample as many of the delicacies as we had time for (and my stomach had room for).

I will stake my professional reputation on this one sentence review: It was all amazing. I think the video above shows how great it all looks, and you can probably tell by my reaction to a few of the bites that was an authentic take. And it wasn’t just generic hot dogs and nachos — basic stadium food. This was all above and beyond.

Maybe the best thing I ate? The cheddar bratwurst from Brooklyn Bangers and Dogs. A traditional brat with pork and cheddar, smoked, then cooked to a crispy perfection, nestled in tender bread, topped with tasty Red Hook Relish (mixed mustard and pickles). Three ingredients, all prepared perfectly, and all amazing. The simplicity was profound and perfect.

Because of the limits of TV, we didn’t even get to include the slice of Junior’s cheesecake or the red velvet cake I topped everything off with. We also didn’t include the part where I came home and laid down in the fetal position for half an hour, after gorging on so much delicious food.

Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

David Stern Loves Your Hate

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I wrote a post last night from the Draft about NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s final Draft, and how he seemed to really embrace the hate from the Brooklyn fans. Sitting there in the building, it was pretty hilarious to see him troll the crowd along throughout the evening. And now someone has put together a supercut of Stern drinking in the hate.

Stop! Stop! Don’t you see? IT ONLY MAKES HIM STRONGER.

(via The Big Lead)

At Least The Brooklyn Nets Smell Great

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Despite an early exit from the Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets had a successful inaugural season in their new borough and new arena, the Barclays Center. They may not have been quite as good on the court as they hoped, but at least they came out of the season smelling like roses. Or cologne. Or cotton candy. Or something.

According to a story on DNA Info, the Barclays Center has a “signature scent” being pumped into the air. The smell, “a fresh-smelling fragrance with citrus notes,” is thought to be the work of a company called ScentAir, which exists to change consumer’s aroma experiences. Places like hotel lobbies, fitness clubs and department stores are all fair game, so why wouldn’t sports arenas be as well?

This is more than just lighting a couple of candles or spraying some Febreeze into the air: This is integral to the space, emanating from the air ducts and wafting throughout. And as a person who has spent a great deal of time in the bowels of various arenas over the last dozen years, I have to say that some of these arenas could use a little olfactory upgrade.

(DNA Info via Deadspin)

New NBA Arena Rankings Released

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Stadium Journey is a web site that is dedicated to making “every trip to the ballpark, stadium, or arena the very best it can be.” This is a noble goal, with results that can be incredibly useful to fans interested in attending NBA games in various arenas.

Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs, Game 2Stadium Journey recently released their 2012-13 NBA Arena rankings, listing the arenas in terms of the overall fan experience while attending a game. Their criteria includes “food and beverage in the arena, overall atmosphere, the neighborhood, the fans, access (which includes parking, traffic, restrooms, and concourses), return on investment, and an “extras” category for any unique or bonus points.”

You can check out the full rankings at the link, but their top five goes like this:

  1. AT&T Center in San Antonio
  2. Staples Center (for a Lakers game)
  3. Amway Center in Orlando
  4. Barclays Center in Brooklyn
  5. Toyota Center in Houston

I have attended games in 25 of the 29 current NBA arenas, but as a media member I don’t get to have the fan experience. (Although if Stadium Journey would like details about the various arena freight elevators, utility closets and media facilities, I’d be glad to chime in.)

But for those of you who’ve been to games in various arenas, please chime in? Where’s your favorite place to experience an NBA game?