What seemed like a dream, then an idea and finally a proposed plan of action that pitted a small group of determined residents against a mega-developer , is now here.
The Barclays Center has risen.
With steel installation 97 percent complete, the future home of Brooklyn's first major league professional sports team since Walter O'Malley swept away the Dodgers in 1957 is today a brick and mortar reality.
A tour Friday of the still very active construction site revealed not just the biggest elements of the basketball arena and events center, but also smaller, yet vitally important, details as well.
That list includes ground floor retail with street access to Flatbush Avenue, the first "green roof" proposed for an MTA subway entrance and Ipe wood benches lining the plaza of Barclays Center.
And then there is the colossal: 18,000 seats for basketball games in a "tight bowl" configuration meant to provide a sense of being on top of the action—even in the highest and cheapest rows.
"There are no bad seats in this arena," said spokesman Barry Baum of the Brooklyn Nets, the team that will play its first preseason game of the 2012-13 season here in October.
Over it all, a massive steel roof temporarily held up by three shoring towers was 80 percent complete as of last week, according to Forest City Ratner senior vice president and deputy director of construction Linda Chiarelli.
In the vaulting main entrance, glass panels look out to the bustling traffic at the intersection of Atlantic, Flatbush and Fourth avenues, with the beginnings of an 80-foot cantilever roof beginning to take form.
Outside, despite the of the Indiana makers of Barclay Centers' aged steel exterior, work on the panels enclosing the arena is expected to be complete by March, Chiarelli said.
But for area motorists, what is perhaps most notable at the enormous construction site is what is not here—namely, a surplus of parking spaces.
With almost 20,000 capacity for events at the arena, Chiarelli confirmed only 1,100 spaces planned for the block bounded by Pacific and Dean streets and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues.
That has some residents and elected officials concerned about in the blocks around Barclays Center.
Baum said area parking garages would be able to pick up the slack—with the rest of Barclays Center visitors coming by commuter train and through a subway entrance that will be only 350 feet from the platform to the arena's entrance.
"We expect most of our fans to come on the train," Baum said.
Video shot and edited by Matthew Hampton.