Prudential Center – New Jersey Devils
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Prudential Center is Solid as a Rock
The Prudential Center opened in 2007 for the New Jersey Devils at a cost of $375 million in downtown Newark. The 16,514 seat venue was a huge improvement over the team’s erstwhile arena at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford. “The Rock,” as it’s known by the locals, serves as the most visible symbol of the city’s revitalization efforts.
The exterior colors of red and brick pay homage to Newark’s bricklaying and railroad heritage as well as to the Devils. A 4,800 square foot LED exterior display is split into thin panels with space in between to provide fans views from inside the building.
The South Tower and PNC Tower offer natural lighting and take fans up to the Grand Concourse via escalators. The two dominating cylinders are constructed out of transparent glass providing energy performance and illuminate in vibrant red during evening games.
Newark still has a stigma of being a dangerous neighborhood and many would not envision spending any amount of time in the city. Hopefully, these opinions will dissipate and the city’s revitalization efforts will only blossom with “The Rock” being the symbol of these endeavors.
Food & Beverage 5
The arena serves “Jersey” food, including boardwalk-staple zeppoles, diner-favorite Taylor ham and disco fries, and mojo chicken from the city’s Ironbound district. The local cuisine is definitely worth a taste and makes for a great alternative to the boring hot dog and nacho options.
Taylor ham–pork roll to folks in the southern part of the state–is served stuffed inside a stromboli at the Villa Italian Kitchen for $7, on a burger with cheese and hollandaise aioli for $13 at The Jersey Grind, and traditionally on a sandwich with cheese for $9 at the Bayonne stand. The popular late-night dish disco fries are similar to poutine, but features melted mozzarella cheese with gravy, sells for $8. The Premio stand sells another local favorite, Italian sausage, pepper, and onion sandwich.
Deep fried balls of dough called zeppoles are a perfect way to round out your meal at the Boardwalk stand and cost $8. The deep-fried balls of dough are sprinkled with confectioners sugar are a Jersey Shore staple during the summertime. There are also ice cream waffle sandwiches, deep-fried Oreos, and funnel cakes to satisfy one’s sweet tooth.
The local Newark food scene is also represented in the upper level at the Ironbound concession stand. Patrons can enjoy sirloin tri-tip sandwiches with grilled onions, garlic parsley, and dolloped with chimichurri sauce for $16. There are also beef empanadas for $9, Cuban sandwiches for $14, and tasty Yuca fries for $7.
The local New Jersey craft beer scene is well-represented inside the building. Forgotten Boardwalk, New Jersey Beer Company, Departed Souls, Cricket Hill, Kane, and Carton varieties are available either in cans or drafts ranging in price from $10.25 to $13.
The Prudential Center is among the newest venues in the league but has seen a few upgrades the last couple of seasons to improve and enhance the game day experience. The organization has begun a fan-first culture that begins with greeters welcoming folks to the game as they exit the escalators.
Outside the arena is Championship Plaza, a huge gathering space before the game that is home to a 22-foot, 6,000-pound stainless steel hockey player statue. On the other side of the building is the Martin Brodeur statue that was dedicated in 2016. The future Hall of Famer and NHL leader in career wins, shutouts, and host of other records weighs in at 1,000 pounds.
The Devils incorporate 3D graphics projected on the ice that move back and forth from the fire, ice, and other vivid images. The pre-game production is also narrated by former great Ken Daneyko and highlights of the team’s Stanley Cup wins and other great moments.
The team’s official mascot N.J. Devil skates onto the ice waving a glowing pitchfork on the ice before the game. Later, he can be found throughout the building in the stands banging a drum, posing for photos with fans, and cheering on the Devils after every score.
The arena is also home to the largest center-hung video digital scoreboard providing fans with information, replays, and highlights. The 89,000-pound scoreboard is almost four stories tall and was created to provide the ultimate live experience at the arena.
The team also employs a live organist Pete Cannarozzi who has his own area for fans to pose for pictures on the lower mezzanine section. The team’s official goal song is “Howl” by Gaslight Anthem; the easy-going arena-rocker song seems to be popular with the home crowd.
When you arrive at your seats they provide great views of the ice that are not obstructed by the copious amounts of championship banners and retired numbers that hang on all four sides from the ceiling. The seats are plush, cozy and provide ample amount of leg space. The atmosphere is heightened when the teams play against rivals New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
The Prudential Center is in a nice little pocket where fans can easily walk to great places to eat and get back and forth through mass transit. The Ironbound District is easily one of the states premier neighborhoods and definitely worth a visit.
Ironbound is a mixed use of residential homes, retail, coffee shops, restaurants, bakeries, clubs, and parks that is located half a mile from the venue. The predominantly Portuguese neighborhood is home to some of the best Spanish-Portuguese establishments in the metropolitan area. The Iberian Peninsula, Iberia, Spanish Tavern, and Mompou are just a few of many restaurants where one can enjoy flavorful and classic dishes from Spain, Portugal, and Brazil (rodizio).
Next door to the arena are a few other eating and drinking options. Dinosaur BBQ is among the best spots in the state for brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and tasty sides. They feature happy hour specials from 3pm – 7pm ( $4 beers, $5 appetizers, and $6 cocktails and wines). The Dino Poutine is made with pulled pork, pimento cheese, and brown gravy.
The Edison Ale House serves pub fare and a tap list of 16 beers that are 2 for 1 during happy hour. Redd’s Biergarten offers German cuisine and beers and happy hour specials from 2pm – 7pm that include $3-$5 half liters of beers and pulled pork sliders and wings for $5.
The Devils fan is proud of their “New Jersey” team and engaged during the game. The team has been able to fill the capacity of the arena at 90% the last five seasons, but with an exciting young team with an emphasis on speed and scoring, the club should be able to attract a new generation of fans to “The Rock.”
The Prudential Center is located 2 blocks of Newark Penn Station providing services to New York City and throughout the state of New Jersey via Amtrak, PATH, NJ Transit, and Newark Light Rail.
The parking lots range from as low as $12 to as high as $30. One option is to park at the Iberia Restaurant for free in the Ironbound district–if you grab something to eat or drink–and walk the seven blocks the arena. This location also has street parking and small lots that should cost you between $5-$10.
Inside the building, the spacious concourses are broken into two sections offering fans easy access to seating assignments, concessions, bathrooms, and exits. Traffic inside moves freely during game action but will get crowded, like most other hockey arenas, during intermission.
Return on Investment 4
The price of tickets on the secondary market start between $20 – $30 for upper-level seating depending on who the Devils are playing and how close to the game. Games against arch-rivals Rangers will bump the price up to $80, but you will be treated to one of the best rivalries in professional sports. The price for parking ranges from $10 – $30 at the garages near the arena, with cheaper options further away. Concession items are on the same level with other major league arenas.
The arena receives one point for the Jersey-inspired food that includes Taylor ham, zeppoles, and disco fries. These are items you won’t find at other NHL arenas and are inclusive. You can also wash it down with a local craft beer or cider.
A second point for the respect towards the organization’s history dating back to 1982 when the club arrived from Denver. There are murals of former greats, trophy cases featuring the clubs three Stanley Cups, and the Brodeur statue. The retired numbers of Hall of Famers Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Brodeur also make everyone know who’s building this is. The arena also displays almost every high school hockey jersey in the state.
A third point for being one of two NHL arenas that have partnered with KultureCity with providing sensory training to its staff for customers with autism. There are sensory rooms, social stores, and sensory bags for customers and parents with children on the spectrum.
A fourth point for the gigantic video scoreboard that is the largest in the league. The newly installed board provides an innovative way to connect fans to the game on the ice and through social media.
The Prudential Center is a stunning facility that offers almost everything the hockey fan would want and need in the 21st century. The arena is accessible via mass transit, close to great restaurants, and offers a copious amount of services and features throughout the game. With the Devils playing winning hockey at the moment, the experience will only get better at “The Rock.”
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