The New York Islanders, the Barclays Center, and the politics of sport arenas: Winners and losers in the “Battle for Brooklyn”
October 24, 2012 6 Comments
The New York Islanders are moving to Brooklyn. When the Islanders faceoff in their first game of the
2014-15 2015-16 NHL season, it will mark an exciting day for the franchise as the team celebrates its move to a new arena in a new part of town. What Islanders players and fans may not know is that the opening faceoff will be taking place on the exact spot where, less than 10 years earlier, former Brooklyn residents lived before being forcibly evicted by the State of New York to allow a billionaire to construct the Barclays Center.
While fans of the Islanders may celebrate the end of constant discussions about the future of the Islanders, and while owner Charles Wang may welcome the possibility of expanding his team’s brand into the hip and gentrifying borough of Brooklyn, it is also important to consider the politics behind this move and the arena that the Islanders will now be calling home. This post examines the history of the Barclays Center, and the social movement of Brooklyn residents who tried, but failed, to save their homes and businesses from being seized to construct the arena, in light of the political significance of professional sport in the borough.