5 Reasons New Yorkers Could Do Without Barclays Center
A couple years ago, if you walked to the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, you’d see a small but busy mall, with people pouring out of near-by subway exits. Atlantic Avenue has always been a crowded, bustling part of town, but it’s never been of particular fame. That is, until it was announced in 2006 that plans were being made to build a new sports arena there. Barclays Center was supposed to be a crowning achievement for the borough of Brooklyn. Intended to be the new home of the Nets, Barclays would bring major league sports back to Brooklyn for the first time since 1957. It’s estimated that Barclays would create 20,000 jobs for New Yorkers, that it would boost the city’s economy and become a major hub of activity for the city. If that’s the case, why don’t New Yorkers seem fond of it?
- The very expensive project uses a significant amount of public funding. The owner himself is seeking large tax credits for the project. In total, the stadium along with the proposed high-rises in Park Slope and Prospect Heights costs $4 billion dollars and uses at least $1.6 billion in public funding.
- Opponents like the DDDB (Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn) claim that the project would abuse the state’s power of eminent domain. In their words, “taking private property from one owner to give to a private entity for a private use, instead of a public use.” Traditionally cases of eminent domain concern the state making use of land that will be available for public use, such as parks, highways, and other public facilities. However, the public will not be able to use Barclays freely. Barclays Center is said to be for “public good” with its creation of jobs, though it’s estimated that 2,929 Brooklyn residents and business owners may be “indirectly” displaced by this project.
- Local residents fear the stadium will create the kind of congestion with traffic and tourists that midtown Manhattan is usually more likely to see. Brooklyn has gained the reputation for being laid-back and cool, but too many tourists might change that.
- Brooklyn has recently become the place to be, in part because it offers cheaper housing than Manhattan. Because of its reputation, Brooklyn has drawn a fascinating mix of Yuppies, artists, and neighborhood residents. But Barclays may up housing prices and put an end to the cultural mixings that make Brooklyn unique. Not to mention, some local businesses in the area have already been forced out due to rising prices.
- Barclays Center is only weeks away from opening, but some residents think the design has a long way to go. The building is covered in Cor-Ten, a weathering steel that rusts slightly to protect the structure against the environment. Architects and artsy types may love it, but it looks like an eyesore to the layman. It’s also pretty messy, as it tends to drip easily, leaving rusty residue on the pavement, and even other parts of the building.