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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.

The Brooklyn Nets call Barclays Center arena home.

The Brooklyn Nets call Barclays Center arena home. (Credit: Steven Ryan )

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Secrets of the Brooklyn Nets: Cryotherapy, an Instagram cat and car elevators for players

620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn

The Nets moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012, changing their name from the New Jersey Nets to the Brooklyn Nets. The team calls Barclays Center home, the first franchise to do so.

Even if you’re not a basketball fan, you likely know that Jay Z was an early investor. But there is so much more to know about the Nets.

Nets players go inside a cryotherapy chamber after

Credit: Georgia Kral

Players chill out in a minus-120-degree ‘chamber’ in the locker room

Nets players go inside a cryotherapy chamber after games and practices. The chamber, which looks a little like a spray tanning booth or a stand-up MRI, is a tool used by trainers to help the players relieve muscle and joint tension. Players spend no more than three minutes inside, and the temperature is set to minus-120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is very sensitive too, after quickly opening and closing the door, the temperature went up to minus-109-degrees.

"It's a recovery tool," said Nets head athletic trainer Tim Walsh. "You feel invigorated when you come out."

Nets Forward Thaddeus Young said he "loves it."

"It helps you rejuvenate everything, and it gets you back on the court faster," Young said. "The only thing I hate about getting in there is that you have to get in there with just shorts and some gloves and shoes on."

Both the Nets and the New York Islanders

Credit: Barclays Center

It takes 8 hours to transform the arena from a hockey rink to a basketball court

Both the Nets and the New York Islanders call Barclays Center home, and both teams play in the arena at the same time of year. But a basketball court is very different from a hockey rink. The space needs to be transformed each time.

The floor has layers. There's a one-inch-thick layer of ice, with PVC piping underneath blowing cold air. When hockey is played, that's the only layer to consider. (Though don't forget about the acrylic wall barriers and dasher boards.) But when the Nets are playing the arena, the ice is covered by a layer of ice deck flooring, explained Joe Zino, director of events services at Barclays Center.

The flooring is a combination of polymer foam and fiberglass, similar to a hard plastic, he said. When Barclays Center is hosting a concert, attendees stand directly on top of this flooring, he said. But when a basketball game is on the schedule, the court needs to be put down.

To do that, interlocking wood panels are fit together and bolted in "almost like puzzle pieces," Zino said.

NBA and NHL players -- in addition to

Credit: Georgia Kral

Nets players and VIPs get into the arena via a drive-in elevator

NBA and NHL players -- in addition to VIPs and tour buses -- arrive for games and practices via truck elevators. Each elevator is 80-feet long and can carry up to 80,000 pounds. That's a lot of basketball players!

Nets players pull their cars up outside the arena, drive in, and then take the elevator down. This is the only building where a professional athlete enters like this, said Barclays Center general manager Steve Rosebrook.

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant called the arrival mode "a basketball version of Willy Wonka" on the Bleacher Report in 2013.

The Islanders sometimes warm up for a game

Credit: Instagram / JustinBieber; Georgia Kral

The Nets’ practice court is not exclusively for the Nets

The Islanders sometimes warm up for a game on the court. When the Chicago Cubs were in town for the World Series, they blew off steam by shooting some hoops. Justin Bieber, left, Pearl Jam and Green Day also took a few shots before shows.

And sometimes, it's all open to viewing from the street-level Starbucks. The coffee shop, located directly by the front doors of Barclays Center, features a wall of glass that opens directly onto the practice court. Usually, shades are drawn. But you could get lucky. When the Harlem Globetrotters were there, they practiced with the shades up.

When the Nets came to Brooklyn, it was

Credit: Georgia Kral

A piece of Brooklyn sports history now stands where the Nets play

When the Nets came to Brooklyn, it was the first time since 1957 that the borough had its own professional sports team. A piece of that history stands at Barclays Center. The flagpole at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues once stood at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers' former home, according to a Barclays Center news release.

When the stadium was demolished in 1960, it moved to a VFW on Utica Avenue and, when Barclays was built, former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz suggested the flagpole be brought to the new arena, where it now stands -- with a plaque.

Nets forward Thaddeus Young moved to Brooklyn Heights

Credit: Barclays Center

Just one Nets player calls Brooklyn home -- for now

Nets forward Thaddeus Young moved to Brooklyn Heights with his family last season and is, so far, the only player to live in the County of Kings.

That's because the team used to be based in New Jersey and still practices in a facility there, explained Aaron Harris, senior director of public relations for the Nets.

But the new Nets training center in Sunset Park's Industry City is opening this month, and more players are then expected to move to the borough.

Jammed fingers, sprains, you name it -- they

Credit: Georgia Kral

Nets trainers go through about 2,400 rolls of athletic tape each season

Jammed fingers, sprains, you name it -- they happen in basketball.

And that's not even including the special sneaks

Credit: Georgia Kral

Most players go through 10 to 12 pairs of sneakers per season

And that's not even including the special sneaks worn for occasions like holidays and alternate uniform days. Nets shoe sizes run the gamut, ranging from the relatively small (size 10.5 for point guard Shane Larkin, at right) to the very big (size 18, center Brook Lopez, left).

Shower heads are 8-feet high, per NBA regulations.

Credit: Georgia Kral

The shower heads in the locker room have to be this high

Shower heads are 8-feet high, per NBA regulations.

No player should have to stoop, ever!

Barclays Center was built within a tight footprint

Credit: Georgia Kral

Underneath Barclays Center is a giant 'turntable'

Barclays Center was built within a tight footprint due to its urban location. Because the amount of space to build on was so minimal, the arena features various space-saving design elements.

The turntable is one example. When cars, tour buses or TV crew vans arrive at the arena, they come down to the load-in area via the truck elevators, and drive out onto a moving, circular floor, or turntable. It operates much like a lazy Susan, allowing access to and from the turntable to different entry points into the arena.

Don't be jealous, but Brook Lopez's cat Poupin

Credit: Instagram / poupinstagram

One Nets player has an Internet cat

Don't be jealous, but Brook Lopez's cat Poupin has more followers than you on Instagram.

Move over, Grumpy Cat!

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