When most students think of the most popular arena in the New York area, they would probably say Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but there is another one that they should check out. The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. is one of the nicest arenas I have visited. The overall experience is wonderful and I would rank it ahead of MSG and the Barclays Center in terms of overall quality.
When I visited the Prudential Center for the first time last October, I had no idea what to expect. From what I knew about Newark, I went in with low expectations. Once I saw the building from the outside, however, my outlook completely changed. Walking up to the arena, you would never have thought it was in downtown Newark. It really is quite a spectacular sight to see.
Inside the building, all the workers are very nice and helpful. The ushers and concession stand attendees looked like they actually wanted to be there. This is not always the case. In other arenas that I have attended, workers were not always helpful; but, each of the eight times I have gone to the Prudential Center this year (I am not even a Devils fan) each and every person has been helpful.
One of the best features of “The Rock,” as they call it, is that the concourses are wide open. Whenever you walk around, even during the high congestion times like the start and end of the intermissions, you can walk around very easily. At MSG, walking around the corridors makes me somewhat claustrophobic because of the low ceilings and the tight hallways. The openness at the Prudential Center makes the building feel much bigger than it actually is.
While “The Rock” is the home of the New Jersey Devils, it is also one of the most popular concert venues in the country. The arena was named a “Top Spot” by industry publication Venues Today in its 2013 year-end rankings, placing third overall in the United States and ninth overall in the world. According to a press release from the Prudential Center, from October 2012 to October 2013, the arena sold out shows to Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars and Carrie Underwood. This past fall there was a run of sellout shows with Michael Bublé, Selena Gomez, Drake and P!nk.
I went to a Devils game last Friday, the seventh, and at one point they put a time-lapse video up of the previous 21 days. During this time, there had been five sporting events, five days of Disney on Ice, a Jay Z Concert and Super Bowl media day. In the up coming months, the arena will hold Marc Anthony and Kanye West concerts, as well as host the Harlem Globetrotters and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circuses.
The Prudential Center is a hidden gem right outside of New York City. It is just as easy to get to as Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, but it is not nearly as popular. To get to the arena, you can take the D train to 34th street and then walk to the PATH train.
It costs all of $10 to go there and back. If there is a popular concert, try for tickets at the Prudential Center. You are more likely to get tickets and will probably be pleasantly surprised by the arena.