From hockey to books, Brooklyn was the place to be this weekend

Brooklyn Currents | 9/22/2013 | 0 comments

From NY 1

The New York Islanders played their first game at the Barclays Center Saturday, and while the game didn't end as fans had hoped, it did give them a chance to check out what will soon be their team's home ice.

"I think this is a fantastic thing for Brooklyn," said one  fan.

Brooklyn's first National Hockey League game in history drew nearly a full house, more Islander fans by far and even a few reluctant about the team's move to Brooklyn.

"I'm a little sad," said one fan. "I mean, it's the friendly confines. It's like the Cubs leaving Wrigley or the Sox leaving Fenway. It's part of the culture and their history. To them, to move to New York City, it loses a little bit of that Islander edge to it so to speak."

The move certainly didn't help the Islanders on the ice -- the Devils beat them 3-0.

"We lost tonight, but you know what? It's preseason, not a big deal. It is what it is and go Islanders. Let's go Islanders," said a fan.
Barclays management chose to focus on the positive as well.

"At the the end of the day, this is a preseason game we're at right now. This game doesn't even mean anything, and they're here, and that's a statement in itself," said Barclays Center Chief Marketing Officer Fred Mangione.

Some local businesses like it too.

"It brings more business to the area, 'cause it brings more people, and more people from different areas come to this neighborhood and discover new things so they come back," said Reginald Dumornay from Skilz Hair Salon.

Still, not everyone has seen a boost to their bottom line.

"From the Nets, the experience we had, it's not very favorable, so for the Islanders, we'll just keep our fingers crossed," said Jude Nwaduoku from The Cake Ambiance.

The Islanders won't officially arrive for two more years, but when they do, Barclays is confident their fans will follow.

"We moved the Nets over, and we knew that the people from Jersey probably weren't gonna follow. This is a different story. It's closer, they have a history. Hockey fans are a different kind of fan than a basketball fan, and they have a lot of die-hard fans," Mangione said. 

About a fourth of the  tickets purchased for Saturday's game went to Brooklynites.


We've got books and more books -- all without the 'e'

There was really nowhere else Aubrey Holland and his daughter Farra would rather have been  than the Brooklyn Book Festival.

"I like to have her read. She loves books, she loves to see the sort of things that we can discover with books, and I think it's really cool for her to be around other people that are reading," Holland said.
From storybooks to novels and nearly everything in between, the festival highlighted all different kinds of literature, with authors reading their books and answering questions.

The eighth annual festival drew hundreds of authors and is the largest free literary event in the city.

"A lot of people with the internet and their phones don't hardly pick up a book anymore, so this is bringing back the books," said one festival-goer.
"I like to read, because sometimes I get these really, really interesting books, and I can't put them down," said another.

"It's great for people to see authors directly, and there's a nice demystification of books that happens at a festival like this," said Brooklyn Literary Council Chairman Johnny Temple.

The face-to-face interaction between readers and writers is a rewarding experience for both sides.

"You feel a great connection with these books, and then you get to meet actually the creator of these books, and you know, if you're a book lover, there isn't a better experience," said one reader.

"Writing is a very solitary profession," said author Lois Lowry. "You don't get to see the people you're writing for until you come to something like this, and then be able to look them in the eye and see those smiles is really worth the whole thing."

In addition to getting to meet their readers, the writers had the opportunity to interact with each other.

"Best part is just the coming into the population of writers, in the company of wonderful writers, who have the same ambition that I have and are producing wonderful work," said author Denis Gray.

Gray says the experience is invaluable to him --  he's working to produce a great  work of his own.


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