Carroll: A Tale of Two Barclays Centers

(Photo: Bruce Damonte)

This was supposed to be the best of times for the Barclays Center, which is now in its fourth year of existence, as it would be home to both a National Basketball Association team, the Nets, and a National Hockey League team, the Islanders. However things have not gone as well as hoped.

The Brooklyn Nets made it into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth last year and given the way things have gone so far the post-season appears to be a pipe dream at best. Joe Johnson, the team’s best shooter just two seasons ago appears to have lost some of his talent and confidence. The only two players who appear could crack a starting lineup of even a subpar NBA team would be center Brook Lopez and forward Thaddeus Young. Rookie forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has shown promise but he hasn’t made anywhere near the impact that his first-round counterpart across the East River, Kristaps Porzingis, has.

The Islanders haven’t won a playoff series since 1993 and frankly it has been a major accomplishment ever since the first Reagan administration for them to simply qualify for the NHL post-season.

While the Islanders do have some talent led by their center and captain John Tavares, they are an inconsistent and faceless lot. It is doubtful that any Isles player will be asked to appear on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” the way that handsome and charismatic Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has.

Both the Nets and the Islanders are having attendance problems. The Nets simply haven’t been good and that will always account for empty seats. The Islanders’ problems are a bit more institutional. The Barclays Center was not designed with a hockey team in mind and therefore there are a lot of seats with obstructed views. The Isles have also discovered that a lot of their old Long Island customers have so far not made the trek to Brooklyn.

Which brings me to a pertinent business question about both the Nets and the Islanders: “Why do they ignore Queens?” The last time I checked, Queens has a population of well over 2 million people and shares a lengthy border with Brooklyn. Last week the Islanders had a community outreach promotion where they sent players to elementary schools in Nassau, Suffolk, and Brooklyn and skipped us. Ironically the team probably has more fans in our borough than they have in Kings County. The Nets’ uninspiring 2015 marketing slogan is “Representing Brooklyn.” Nuff said.

Charles Wang has owned the Islanders for the last 15 years but in August 2014 he agreed to sell 51% of his equity interest to financier Jon Ledecky, who grew up in Bayside, for approximately $200 million. In typical Islanders weirdness, it was a delayed sale as Ledecky won’t take control until next July. I fully expect him to clean house.

On the Jets’ SNY postgame show following their 24-17 loss to the Houston Texans, wide receiver Brandon Marshall summed up his team’s performance over the recent weeks in two words, “It sucks!” SNY and ESPN 98.7 FM chose that as the quote of the game. It’s hard to argue with them.

The Mets will be holding their annual holiday coat drive on Tuesday, December 1 at Citi Field. Donors will receive a pair of tickets to a select Mets home game in April.

Congratulations to the New York Cosmos who won their second North American Soccer League Championship in three years a week ago.

The Cosmos play most of their home games at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium though they have played a few at MCU Park in Coney Island which is home to the Mets’ NY-Penn League affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones. The Cosmos deserve to reach a wider audience and frankly I am surprised that the Mets haven’t reached out to them to play a game at Citi Field since they have hosted games between foreign national teams that have drawn well. Mets ownership has gone on record saying that they have an interest in soccer and they certainly could use the revenue.

Longtime pro wrestling fans will enjoy Bill Apter’s memoir, “Is Wrestling Fixed?” (ECW Press). Apter, the former publisher of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, has tons of stories to share about everyone from Nature Bay Buddy Rogers to John Cena. Apter, who was a Queens resident for many years, frequently mentions in his tome about the great wrestling cards that took place at Sunnyside Garden Arena which was razed in 1977.

World Wrestling Entertainment has released a coffee table book titled “The Attitude Era” (DK Publishing) which is a look back at their late 1990s glory days in which grapplers as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (whose redneck blue collar persona resonated with the viewing public), and Triple H (in real life Paul Levesque who is now an executive with the WWE) became pop culture icons even to those who did not follow wrestling.

The arrival of colder weather means that a lot of us are getting back to exercising indoors and invariably a lot of muscles will be aching. An Atlanta-based company, Intracell Technology, has become adept at introducing simple and inexpensive gadgets that require no assembly and are very effective at reducing pain in various body parts.

Runners have used their best-selling product, The Stick, for years. It is a rod that has rotating beads that massage leg and shoulder muscles. Intracell has added two more items to its inventory, the Trigger Wheel and the Posture Curve. The Trigger Wheel resembles a manual razor with a small circular top that looks like a seat in an old-fashioned luncheonette. It fits easily into your hand and nicely works into the shoulder and neck tissues. The Posture Curve looks like a miniature inverted ironing board and it’s small enough to fit on the back of a chair. As the name indicates, it helps one’s posture and as well as lessening nagging back pain. For more information log onto

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