In the years before the Barclays Center’s Brooklyn debut, local residents wore out their windpipes crowing about the impending cascade of drunken basketball fans. 41 nights a year, 18,000 ass-drunk, sports-inflamed morons will spill onto 5th Avenue, 6th Avenue and all the delicate tree-lined streets that link them, and chaos will follow in their wake. Children will be awoken. Strollers will be overturned. Vegetable gardens will be pissed on.
But since the arena touched down, criticism of the fans have been muted. Game night just means a few thousand people in matching hats spending money at bars before the game, and filing out quietly once it’s ended. Perhaps there will be some rowdiness if the Nets make a playoff run—and really, that would be a fine time to get rowdy—but for now, the streets of Brooklyn have been spared. These aren’t the Phillies, they’re the Brooklyn Nets.
Speaking of vomiting in public, Justin Bieber played the Barclays earlier this week. (Can we start calling the Barclays “the Barc”? Is that appropriately lame, or unforgivably lame? Other suggestions, from Internet friends, include The Black House and The Rust Bucket.) The performance was reportedly tepid, but that did not stop the Beliebers from screaming. I assume nothing can.
After the performance, a pack of wild fans waited outside the stage door, hoping to catch a glimpse of the star’s tour bus. (Which had just spun around, we assume, on the Rust Bucket’s famous rotating trucks turntable.) Though the bus’s windows were fully blacked out, the kids lost their shit, screaming like our parents’ generation might have while being simultaneously diddled by all four Beatles. As the bus lumbered away—as their dreams lumbered away—the kids broke past the barricades and chased after the bus. It would have gotten away, too, if it hadn’t been for that street light.
When the bus stopped, a dozen or so kids ran in front of it, pounding against the windows and squealing. For a moment, it looked like one of them was going to get clobbered, like the stage door-gawker in Opening Night, but the driver slowed down. He’s dealt with this before. The overwhelmed cops finally got the fans out of the road, to continue wailing, as Bieber departed for another adventure. The officer in charge, as quoted in that Brooklyn Paper article, sounded like he’d just stared down another hurricane.
“Next time Justin Beiber comes to town, we’ll have a better plan,” Ameri said. “Thank god nobody got hurt.”
Is my point that those teens should be ashamed of themselves for being less well-behaved than drunken basketball fans? Nope. I wish the Brooklyn Nets made me feel that way. Hell, I wish anything made me feel that way.
Good for you, kids. Never stop running into traffic.