New Barclays meditation room allows fans to pray during play

Don’t duck and cover! The disaster at the Barclays Center tonight is only a drill
Drilled: The New York fire department and U.S. Marine Corps will stage a chemical attack drill at the Barclays Center on Friday night from 8 pm until 2 am on Saturday.
Photo by Paul Martinka

The Barclays Center is now offering something rare in a sports arena — peace and quiet.

A lavender-colored meditation room opened up on the main level of the Prospect Heights entertainment complex on Tuesday as part of an agreement between developer Forest City Ratner and neighborhood groups that cleared the way for the Atlantic Yards mega-development. The room shows that the Barclays Center’s owners have their priorities in order, according to the reverend who negotiated for it.

“There ought to be a place where people remember that we are more than physical, that the mind is spiritual, and you need a place to rest and reflect,” said Rev. Herbert Daughtry, pastor of the nearby House of the Lord Pentecostal Church on Atlantic Avenue.

The Zen den — which boasts a shrine, rows of chairs, and walls imprinted with words such as “Love” and “Forgiveness” — is the first of its kind, the pastor added.

Daughtry initially lobbied for a chapel in the arena paid for in part by taxpayer dollars, but was told that he could not use public funds for religious purposes. Despite the dilution, the meditation room is still a win for event-goers who need a break from the chaos of urban life, he said and, we would add, for Nets fans seeking the favor of a power higher than Kevin Garnett’s massage tab.

“Hopefully it will send a message across the country that while we build, build, and build, and while we advance, we should remember that these things don’t necessarily make for quality of life,” the reverend said.

The room is open during all Barclays Center events and use of the quiet quarters can be arranged outside of normal hours.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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