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Brooklyn fans enjoy Barclays Center atmosphere

by Kerri Schreiber / New York Islanders
Click image for gallery (Photo: New York Islanders)

Fans got a glimpse of the Islanders bright future and a chance to be a part of history as the Islanders and Devils played the first hockey game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Saturday’s game foreshadows a new chapter in the Islanders book. Curious fans packed Barclays Center and showed their optimism about the team moving forward and moving to Brooklyn. Even though the old barn won’t be rocking anymore, Mike McCarthy from Rockaway, NY says the atmosphere was different but has potential to have the same vibe as Nassau Coliseum.

“It’s going to take a little while to warm up to because the Coliseum rocked and you felt like the roof was going to blow off some nights. So we will have to get used to this building and I’m sure we will make it loud and proud,” McCarthy said.

John Hoehman from Massapequa Park was born in Brooklyn and has been on Long Island for over 30 years and is an avid Islanders fan. He believes the team deserves this arena and the amenities that it has.

“It’s an unbelievable arena,” Hoehman said. “Around the concourse there are so many different foods and the inside is great, the scoreboard is unbelievable and huge.”

One of the main differences fans noticed was the layout of the concourse. Many talked about the wide walkways as opposed to the tight walking areas at the Coliseum. Some even described the lighting as a “bright place for hockey.” Dan Daly, 51, from Lynbrook was impressed with his first visit to Barclays Center.

“The whole place is very accessible, everybody can move,” said Daly.

Another aspect of the new building that fans raved about was the food. Spectators do not have to worry about going hungry with stands like L&B Spumoni Gardens, Junior’s Cheesecake and Fatty Cue BBQ all among the favorites.

Many Long Islanders took the LIRR to the game and found it to be an easy and convenient ride. Atlantic Terminal is only a block away from Barclays, giving fans an easy walk to the arena. Anthony Grambo, 24, from Merrick described the train ride as the best thing he has ever done in his life.

“I hung out with a bunch of friends we got some food, hung out here in Brooklyn, enjoyed the scenery and had a great time,” Grambo said.

It may be a different experience for fans seeing the Islanders under a new roof, but many could agree that if they were to move anywhere, Brooklyn was the right choice. Memories will be made here for both new and old fans once the move becomes permanent in 2015.

“We have a brand new arena,” Grambo said. “It’s beautiful, its prosperous and we have players who want to come here. I think the team is going to be able to bring even more players who are proud to play at Barclays Center.”

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