I understand that as the only person on staff at Brokelyn who gives a damn about sports, my attitude towards the
LIBOR Barclays Center was a little suspect, since I only cared that it was the Nets coming to Brooklyn. But I also had a hard time swallowing the idea that all the businesses in its footprint would be lifted by a tide of money from suburbanites and basketball fans visiting from Boston, and guess what? According to the Daily News, I was right. Guess who thinks he should get to be mayor now?
It’s not to say that none of the businesses in the area have seen a boost from the arena. Predictably, bars and restaurants told the News that they’ve seen an uptick in crowds. Some of the bars aren’t even in the footprint of the space egg arena, like Brooklyn Tap House, where an amazed manager said they get a big pre-game crowd despite not being walking distance from Barclays.
But aside from bars, local businesses aren’t seeing those Ratner-bucks. The owner of Cake Ambiance on the other hand, didn’t have anything nice to say. Jude Nwabuoko blamed people not stopping in at his bakery on the fact that there are places to eat in Barclays and people can just go back to their train without walking through the neighborhood. The News also spoke to a sports sociologist who predicted the end of the corner stores and hardware store near the stadium. Which should get residents up in a lather, because while bars are great, sometimes you need to buy a power strip, and a bar just can’t sell you one of those.
If the Nets really want to encourage shopping in the community, it couldn’t hurt to take a page out of Williamsburg Cinema’s book and try to cut some kind of ticket stub deal with a few non-bar businesses. It also couldn’t hurt them to politely ask Reggie Evans not to talk to reporters ever again.