(Currently called the Izod Center, I attended most Nets games when it was the Continental Arena).
The Barclays Center has The Vault—an exclusive club that Jay-Z designed.
The Continental Arena had a lot of empty seats.
But that big white complex in the swamp certainly has some distinctive traits. Here are six.
6. The Pedestrian Bridge – Cheap ticket buyers were rewarded with the worst parking possible. To make matters worse, the arena would tease me when I drove in, because I’d see a nice parking deck right next to the arena. But when I showed the parking attendant my ticket, he’d point towards Giants Stadium—which seemed like a mile away.
After I’d park, I had to walk through this elevated pedestrian bridge that was built over a highway, and it took forever. Then, I had to walk back across it when the game ended. This wasn’t fun in February.
5. Lax Security – Two friends and I would split $10 season tickets every year. These seats were nosebleeds. But being that the Nets would never come close to selling out (except when popular teams came to town), we’d be able to sit wherever we wanted in the upper level. The security guards only worked the lower bowl.
But we discovered a flaw. Every so often, the guards would walk all the way down simultaneously to do their rounds. During this time, we’d tail them as their backs were facing us and nab center court seats—because there were always some available. Once we ended up sitting next to Danny Fortson’s parents and they bought us nachos!
4. T-Shirt Gun Excitement – The place would get the loudest when the cheerleaders shot t-shirts into the crowd. There was a even a “noise-meter” to prove it.
3. Snowstorm Attendance – A snowstorm during game night was time to rejoice. I’d head to Port Authority and take the bus to the arena. Most fans stayed home, so there’d usually be only a few thousand people that would show up.
Right after the game started, the PA announcer would proclaim the good news. “To all our loyal Nets fans, come on down!”
Everyone would come down in orderly fashion and once we ended up right behind the Phoenix Suns bench, where I joked around with Scott Williams.
2. Joe Piscopo – You know the guy that gets on the megaphone and jumps in the crowd to point out winners of various competitions along with the cheerleaders? Joe Piscopo actually did this for a season or two in the early 2000s. It was a bit awkward and uncomfortable while fans just politely listened to him shouting in their faces.
1. It’s Really Close to Me – Outside of college, I’ve only lived in two towns. Emerson—a small town in the same county as East Rutherford (Bergen), and Hoboken. When I went to a few games during high school, a friend would drive, but his dad wouldn’t let him take the highway. So he took backroads. We were able to go to an NBA game driving down backroads.
In Hoboken I’d get to the arena in one of two ways—by bus—which would involve taking a first bus into Manhattan, and jumping on another out to the arena. It seems like a pain, but it wasn’t that bad. When I got a car, it was a six mile drive away. Time would vary depending on traffic, but the drive home would be 15 minutes.
There’s something special about having my favorite NBA team practically in my backyard, and now that’s gone. You took that away from me, Mikhail Prokhorov. (Well, really Bruce Ratner).