Some of the press gets it. Barclays Center was built for a bank, a scandal ridden one at that, and one which Mark Jacobson describes thusly in his excellent NY Mag cover story, "The Nets are owned by a Russian oligarch and will play in an arena named for a bank (which reportedly paid $200 million for the naming rights) whose senior officials in France voluntarily handed over names of its Jewish employees to the Nazis, a hedge just in case the Germans won the war. Oh, yeah, let's go bang a thunderstick for them."
The Observer writes
The Barclays Center: Built for a Bank, Not for Brooklyn or the Nets
NY Observer. By Kit Dillon
Welcome to the grand opening of the Barlcays Center—through the Calvin Klein VIP entrance, past the American Express box office and into the Geico atrium—the sometimes home of the Brooklyn Nets. Because in truth, this is the bank's home and everybody else are its guests. Today it is the press corps' turn, and we have been welcomed in the grandest of style. Fresh orange juice, hot quiche and chocolate-covered strawberries abound, though none of the twee Brooklyn food that will soon be sold at the very Brooklyn concession stands.
As one reporter mentioned to another, "Remember the good ol' days?" Would that be when Brooklyn had a team or when journalists could afford their own meals, or even a few sweet years ago, when this was still a hole in the ground, neighbor fought neighbor and the banks were booming?
But it was Charles Ratner, the chairman of Cleveland's own Forest City Enterprises and cousin of the man behind the Barclays Center, Bruce Ratner, who thanked Barclays most openly for being so steadfast a partner even in these difficult economic times. "Can't say enough about Barclays bank," he crowed. One can only imagine that it is easier to remain steadfast in troubling economic times when you're helping to manipulate international interest rates.
Singlehandedly bringing hope back to Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner declared, "Championships will be won here!" He does know which team he bought, right?
Outside the arena, the people looked in. Some of them wearing oversize masks of Mayor Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz's faces, others handing out leaflets asking where the union jobs they were promised were. There were two men trying to draw attention to the traffic nightmare that is predicted when stadium events and rush hour converge on Atlantic Avenue. Not a few of these protesters used to call this plot of land home.
Inside, with the press, the great men and rich men, a long ribbon was cut and two loud bangs sounded out. Trails of long paper streamers shot into the air around Geico Atrium. They were blue and white. Not to color of the Brooklyn Nets, but of Barclays bank.
Photo: Kit Dillon/NY Observer