Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nets-Knicks 'subway rivalry' tip-off game will go on as scheduled despite no trains

It's been 55 years since Brooklyn had its own professional team to call its own and it's going to take more than Hurricane Sandy to delay the regular season debut of the Brooklyn Nets in the new Barclays Center.

After a couple of days of mulling over its options, the NBA announced last night that Thursday's season opener against the New York Knicks will go on as scheduled, despite the havoc wreaked across  New York City by the storm Monday night.

The league considered postponing the much anticipated match-up after New York's subway system was left in ruins and roads and tunnels were flooded and covered in debris.  Mass transportation has been suspended indefinitely and may take another three or four days before service is completely restored, said MTA officials.

The $1 billion Barclays Center was spared any wind or water damage but there is no subway service to the area because of flooded tunnels.  The arena cancelled concerts by Journey and Smashing Pumpkins on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

The question remains whether or not it was wise to hold the game while the city picks up after the intense storm.  Barclays Center officials sold the idea of the venue to fans on the premise of convenient subway access to the arena but — with power outages scattered around the city and all 11 subway lines and the Long Island Railroad linking the arena closed — getting to the Barclays Center will be a trek.

The Knicks practiced Tuesday in Westchester after taking Monday off due to the storm. The Nets' New Jersey practice facility was without power both Monday and Tuesday and the players didn't work out.  The team will practice at the Barclays Center on Wednesday.

While water from Sandy may have overrun the streets surrounding Brooklyn and the Barclays Center, it remains to be seen if it's Knicks or Nets fans who flood the stands inside.

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