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Secrets of New York

The ultimate insider's guide to the best-kept secrets of NYC's must-see places and buzzed-about people.

Barclays Center has hidden entrances, strange eats and

Barclays Center has hidden entrances, strange eats and secret ways to skip the lines that you probably didn't know about. (Credit: Getty Images / AFP / Stan Honda)


Barclays Center: It's more than the Islanders' Prospect Heights arena

620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Whether you're a basketball lover, hockey fanatic, Nick Jonas fan or foodie, you’ve probably experienced an event at Barclays Center.

The Brooklyn-based arena opened its doors on Sept. 28, 2012, with a little help -- 0.16 percent in fact -- from former celebrity backer Jay Z.

It's now home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders (as of the 2015 season) and has welcomed big names to its stage such as Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga.

While it's not yet even five years old, the sports and entertainment venue still has its secrets -- like hidden entrances, strange eats and ways to skip the lines that you didn't know about.

You don't have to lay out a lump

Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

There’s a little-known way to skip the lines

You don't have to lay out a lump of cash for front-row seats to take advantage of this Barclays Center food hack. Fans in the Upper Pavilion can actually order food from their seats and then pick it up without having to wait on the long lines.

There's a "bypass line" feature within the Barclays Center app. Use it to order your snacks and drinks, and never miss half of Nick Jonas' set list again.

Your favorite celebrities and athletes don't have to

Credit: Georgia Kral

Celebs and athletes have a private drive-in entrance

Your favorite celebrities and athletes don't have to worry about finding parking in Brooklyn when they book a gig at Barclays Center. The arena has a private VIP drive-in entrance for special guests.

They enter through 80-foot-long private truck elevators that are big enough to fit tour buses. The trucks are then brought down to a parking garage of sorts. It has a giant "turntable" that spins trucks so they can be parked facing the right direction. According to general manager Steve Rosebrook, Barclays Center is the only arena in the nation with this type of private entrance.

Barclays Center isn't just about the big names

Credit: Barclays Center

It’s packed with eats from 55 local vendors

Barclays Center isn't just about the big names in entertainment and sports that grace its stages and courts. It's also a powerful source of revenue and brand advertising for local vendors. There are 55 Brooklyn-based food vendors selling items at the arena, said Marco Fabozzi, director of operations of Barclays Center's culinary team, Levy Restaurants.

"Everything is fresh, locally based and sourced. It's very important that we really give back to the community through our purchasing power," Fabozzi said.

How did these lucky vendors get such a big break? Barclays Center sampled local eats before the arena opened to find out which dishes would be a good fit, Fabozzi said. The vendors were then called specifically and asked to partner with the venue.

There's a Junior's stand and a Sugar Factory

Credit: Junior's

Some ticket holders can order off a dessert cart

There's a Junior's stand and a Sugar Factory store on the main level. But they're not open during every event -- and when they are, the lines grow quickly. So, what's a fan with a sweet tooth to do?

If you're seated in Level A and B, there's a dessert cart that brings a selection of sweets right to your seat. It offers ticket holders a variety of treats (some from Brooklyn vendors) including, BCakeNY's cake pops, Junior's cheesecake, ice cream sundaes and made-to-order items, Fabozzi said.

Unlike a ballpark, where you'd expect baseball fans

Credit: Barclays Center

A Brooklyn-made burger is its most popular eat

Unlike a ballpark, where you'd expect baseball fans to chow down on hot dogs and peanuts, Barclays Center visitors are big fans of burgers. There's actually one burger in particular they order the most: The Paisano's burger.

Available at four burger stands throughout the arena, the patty recipe was created by Paisanos Meat Market, a butcher shop located near Barclays at 162 Smith St. Levy Restaurants worked with the shop to come up with the burger blend recipe sold at the arena, Fabozzi said. The arena sells 177,360 of the burgers per year.

Since Barclays visitors are big on burgers, the arena worked with CBS' WFAN radio hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to create a crazy addition to the arena's burger menu. The Batchagaloop burger (pictured) is a cheese-covered patty topped off with chicken fingers and french fries. It's sold at Boomer & Carton Kitchen stands throughout the arena.

When the Islanders first moved from Nassau Veterans

Credit: Barclays Center

There’s a perfect spot for viewing hockey games

When the Islanders first moved from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to Barclays Center for the 2015-2016 season, there was a bit of backlash from fans and sports critics who argued the seats offered a poor view of the game. Business Insider dubbed the seats "the worst in American professional sports" in 2015.

Barclays Center set the record straight with amNewYork on where to find the best seats during a hockey game -- you're going to want to buy tickets in the West End Seating area, a section of nearly 100 seats located just behind the goal on the west side of the arena. The area was designed specifically for these games, Rosebrook said. Seats in the section are raised three feet off the ground, to offer a "clearer perspective and view of the ice," he added.

It takes eight hours and a crew of

Credit: Barclays Center

Barclays Center transforms overnight

It takes eight hours and a crew of 30 to 40 people to transform Barclays Center from hockey rink to concert hall, Rosebrook said. They work overnight to get the arena ready for a new event.

To go from hockey rink to basketball court, it takes just as long. The ice is covered with flooring, then topped with interlocking wood panels that fit together and have to be bolted down like puzzle pieces, Joe Zino, director of events services at Barclays Center explained.

Ever wonder what happens to the ice rink

Credit: Getty Images

There’s ice under you (even during concerts)

Ever wonder what happens to the ice rink when the arena is transformed from an Islanders game to a concert? It stays there, right under your seats. An ice deck is pulled over the rink so that the chairs and stage can be brought in, Rosebrook said. The ice deck is one-inch thick and specially designed to keep the cold in, so you won't be able to feel the ice below your feet.

There's a science behind what food stands and

Credit: Barclays Center

Why all eateries aren’t open during every event

There's a science behind what food stands and restaurants are open during events. What's open and what's closed is dependent on the type of event behind held that particular night.

"Sugar Factory, for example, is known to be popular for Islanders and Nets fans and kid-friendly show, but not for busy concerts," Fabozzi explained.

Credit: Barclays Center

Kitchen crew can arrive 13 hours before an event

"We've got kitchen crews coming in at 6 a.m. for a 7 p.m. event," Fabozzi said. What are they doing for 13 hours? Chopping, prepping and cooking. "It takes a while to produce the food since we're using fresh ingredients and prepping day-of," he added.

Pictured: The arena's chips and guacamole, which are made fresh from scratch before each event.

Coating the floor of the arena with ice

Credit: Getty Images

It takes days to first set the ice for hockey season

Coating the floor of the arena with ice for the Islanders' season is a long and intricate process involving refrigerated pipes, colored paint and lots of waiting. The whole process can take about three days, from start to finish, Rosebrook said.

Here's how it's done:

PVC pipes under the ice floor cool the concrete to 16 degrees, allowing ice to form.

The first layer of ice goes on as a light mist that's put down with a sprayer.

Then another layer, with white paint mixed in, is added to give the ice a recognizable visibility.

Orange and blue lines and logos are added on top, before it's all sealed.

The main purpose of the roof is

Credit: Barclays Center

The green roof is unique to Barclays Center

The main purpose of the roof is to suppress the loud sounds that boom from the arena during events. But it does more than that.

Designed by SHoP Architects, it's made up of 35,000 trays of four different mixes of sedum, which are small flowering plants that give the roof a grassy appearance. It's also eco-friendly. According to Barclays Center, the roof's plant-based structure will reduce the amount of storm water runoff from the building by two million gallons per year.


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