Venue News & Notes: Up, Down, and Up Again in NYC

It has been quite the week for sports venues in New York City. West across the Hudson, the soccer-specific Red Bull Arena is ready to open its doors on March 20 and take its place as the country’s top soccer venue. In the Bronx, the house that Ruth built was destroyed by the city. And to the east, in Brooklyn, new images of the Barclays Center “intimate” seating bowl have been released.

Shining like a silver spaceship across the Passaic River from Newark, NJ, Red Bull Arena is ready for soccer. Discussed for a decade and approved in June 2004, the stadium is well past due to open, but, when it does — with an exhibition between the Red Bulls and Brazil’s Santos on March 20 — the 25,000-seat stadium will immediately become the premier soccer venue in the nation. After fumbling around Giants Stadium for 15 seasons, often playing before crowds of 10,000 in a 79,000-capacity venue, the New York area’s professional soccer team will now have a $200 million home of its own…

…Three excavators lined up this week on the field of ruin that was once Yankee Stadium. They idled in left field, side by side, their buckets down, prepared to pull down a section of the upper deck. The grass field is gone, replaced by shards and chunks of concrete and steel. The field and loge decks have been munched up and torn apart by hydraulic hammers and shears. The bleachers are as dead as Neidermeyer. Scoreboards, too. So much has been destroyed that it’s hard to feel even a tingle of fuzzy nostalgia for the house that Ruth built and the city is razing…

…Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment this week released new images of the Barclays Center seating bowl, touting the design as “one of the most intimate seating configurations ever designed into a modern, multi-purpose arena.” It “will provide unparalleled sightlines and a comfortable, accessible, and enjoyable entertainment experience,” Barclays Center GM Alex Diaz said in a statement released by Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment. “The seating-bowl design places spectators as close to the action as possible, creating an exciting atmosphere for all events.” The arena will seat 18,000 people for basketball and up to 19,000 for concerts. Barclays Center is designed by Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects…

…Take the best fighter going and put him in the fanciest new stadium. There’s no telling what kind of bout it will produce. But having Manny Pacquiao as the headliner for the first fight at the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium sure offers the kind of mystique promoters love. “I have never had an experience where the venue has played such a paramount role in the promotion,” said Bob Arum, who is putting on the fight along with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “It’s helped us sell the tickets, helped us get the publicity. … Whatever works.” About 41,000 tickets have been sold for the bout between Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey on Saturday night. A sellout would be around 45,000 — which isn’t even half the capacity of the facility, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys…

…Developer Gerry Kamilos’s arena plan has the best chance of moving forward, the arena task force told the Sacramento, CA, City Council this week. The Sacramento First Task Force recommended his complex land-swap proposal ahead of six others that were submitted to the volunteer group for review. Now, the task force recommended, the city should negotiate exclusively with the Kamilos team and hire outside experts to advise the city on making the proposed sports and entertainment complex a reality

…Come June, soccer’s World Cup will be hosted by South Africa. Although only four of the 64 games are to be played in Nelspruit, a $137 million stadium was built there for the occasion. The arena’s 18 supporting pylons reach skyward in the shape of orange giraffes. At nightfall, their eyeballs blink with flashes of bewitching light. The people who live nearby, proud as they are to host soccer’s greatest event, also wonder: How could there be money for a 46,000-seat stadium while many of them still fetch water from dirty puddles and live without electricity or toilets?

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