I visited the Prudential Center in Newark — the new home of the New Jersey Devils — for the first time Saturday night for a kickass Metallica show, and I was very, very impressed by the arena.
It’s located only three blocks from a train station that serves New Jersey Transit, the PATH and Amtrak. Bars and restaurants are starting to spring up around it, including Brick City Bar & Grill, which had such good food and beer that we went there both before and after the show.
And once you get inside the arena, everything about it is comfortable. The walkways and concourses are nice and wide. There is a great selection of food and beer. The sight lines are great, and the arena has some character, instead of looking like a big bowl.
So can someone please explain why the New Jersey Nets continue to waste away at the IZOD Center (formerly Continental Airlines Arena, formerly Byrne Arena)? The place has absolutely no redeeming qualities.
The only public transportation to the Meadowlands is a New Jersey Transit bus from Manhattan. The parking situation sucks (in the interest of fairness, it’s probably not great in Newark, either, as one lot tried to charge my friend who drove $30 to park for Metallica). The food is prison-quality. The seating bowl has no character. And the building is just plain ugly.
And before anyone brings up the Nets’ “impending” move to Brooklyn, please silence yourself. This move is never, ever going to happen. There’s a better chance of a certain overweight 40-year-old under-six-foot blog-writing Jew with no basketball skills starting at point guard than there is for the Nets to ever bounce a ball in Brooklyn. The Atlantic Yards project is as dead as Sarah Palin’s political future. It would have been a fantastic move for the franchise, but it’s not happening. Accept this and deal with it.
For the love of God, please let the Nets move to Newark.