This review is part of an ongoing series on electronic cigarettes and vaping. It rates how vape friendly a particular venue is. The views expressed are purely the opinion of the author, and do not represent those of Bedford Slims. Feedback is welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an e-cigarette experience worth sharing.
Barclays Center is a venue in tension with its surroundings. The neighborhood is very brownstone Brooklyn, full of affluent parents who consider themselves down-to-earth people with sophisticated artistic tastes. And Barclays mainly hosts sporting events and Top 40 music acts. It's like a spaceship filled with rambunctious aliens landed down on their quiet streets full of organic food co-ops and good schools.
Of course until recently, the only major sports team that played there was the Brooklyn Nets. The team was relocated to Barclays from New Jersey, where they didn't have that many fans to begin with, and there wasn't a ton of new enthusiasm for their uninspiring play once they came to the city that embodied gentrification. The people who went to games were loud, but the atmosphere surrounding the venue was still lifeless. When the New York Islanders started playing there last year, they at least brought an established and authentic fan base from Long Island to Barclays. But generally there's been a weird sterile vibe at the venue, exacerbated by the fact that its existence feels unwelcome in the area.
For whatever reason, that combination of factors makes it really easy to vape in Barclays. No one has any pride in the place, the way Cubs fans view Wrigley as sacred. It has all the homey, lived-in feel of a newly built mall. So you can vape pretty much anywhere that there doesn't happens to be a probably indifferent security guard, which is a lot of places. Just go into one of the many stairwells or bathrooms or wide concourse hallways, take out your vape pen or e-cig and got nuts.
As it happens, I wasn't even there for a Nets game. I was seeing the annual Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival, a two-day early season college basketball tournament of four teams. This year's slate was Notre Dame, Texas, Northwestern and (the one I was there to see) Colorado.
If you're a fan of college basketball and live in New York City, I strongly recommend going to the Brooklyn Hoops event. Good seats are really cheap, and you can get an early jump on assessing teams for your coming March Madness bracket. There's a similar tournament at Madison Square Garden called the 2K Classic, which I also went to. It's a lot harder to vape in the Garden, for the record.
Rating for Vaping: 9/10