Jay-Z welcomed a moneyed collection of business and industry types, fashionistas and pro athletes to the 40/40 club at the brand new Barclays Center Thursday night, just one day before the start of eight highly anticipated concerts at the 18,000-seat venue.
He arrived shortly before 10 p.m. in a tuxedo and — to the surprise of some — walked a red carpet situated outside one of the state-of-the-art arena’s luxury suites. Ever the present host, he made the rounds smiling and talking easily around the cavernous room as a soundcheck and light show appeared to be happening simultaneously behind him.
Rihanna, J. Cole, Tika Sumpter, Lyor Cohen, Dwight Freeney, Tyson Beckford, Angie Martinez, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Bruce Ratner — the developer perhaps most responsible for the arena and moving the Nets to Brooklyn — were all part of the star studded event. The stars milled about freely; perhaps by design, Rihanna and J. Cole posed for pictures and casually ordered drinks from the bar.
The logo for D’Usse, he and wife Beyonce’s new French cognac by Bacardi, were displayed prominently in what appeared to be permanent fixtures. There were no Nets logos, however.
“It’s designed so that there are places in here that you will never see if you don’t have the money,” said an insider who intimated that there are secret rooms. A membership to The Vault, a private luxury suite inside the arena carries a price tag of $1.5 million per year.
Players and team officials from the Brooklyn Nets were also in attendance, including rookie Tyshawn Taylor, veteran Jerry Stackhouse and perennial All-Stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Stackhouse played against Nets coach Avery Johnson. Asked what kind of player his coach was Stackhouse quipped, “He was a pass it to Duncan and Robinson kind of player. That’s the kind of player he was.”
Asked if she was excited about the club’s opening, one employee said only that she was extremely tired. “I’m excited, but we had to get here at two to set up,” she said. By then, it was one in the morning.