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Barclays Center to Use Only Wands, Officials Insist No Racism At Play

By Jess Wisloski | October 14, 2012 6:56pm
 Thousands of fans cheered Jay-Z at the opening of the Barclays Center Sept. 28, 2012.
Thousands of fans cheered Jay-Z at the opening of the Barclays Center Sept. 28, 2012.
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PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Following a controversial news report revealing that Barbra Streisand concertgoers were spared the large walkthrough metal detectors that the Barclays Center arena had required Jay-Z and Harlem Globetrotters fans to suffer through, officials said the change was a long-term one, and had not been racially motivated, according to reports.

“We’ve only been open two weeks and are trying to make things go as smooth as possible,” arena spokesman Barry Baum told the New York Post, after the paper reported Saturday that only detection wands had been used for Streisand's Thursday concert.

Baum told the paper that the switch to wands was likely a permanent move to speed up entrances, after the large airport-style detectors — which had been in place for eight Jay-Z concerts through October 6, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters show the following day — were found to be a hassle.

Baum added that the change was “absolutely not” any attempt at racial profiling.

General Manager David Anderson told the paper that the company has spent the two weeks since the arena's opened testing different security procedures, and that the walkthrough metal detectors led to long lines.

“We found that this strategy allowed for quicker access into the arena, while maintaining safety and security,” Anderson told The Post.

The $1 billion arena and events center held its first concert on September 28 after years of controversy over development, which, prior to approval, had included a proposed 6,400 new housing units and 16 skyscrapers, and involved tax breaks and a long-term lease by the MTA on the cash-strapped authority's land.

The Brooklyn Nets will play their first unofficial game at the arena on Monday against the Washington Wizards, and will officially open their season on November 1 in Brooklyn playing longtime rival team the New York Knicks.