Prudential Center – New Jersey Devils
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A Rock Solid Arena in New Jersey
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 offers a variety of “Jersey” food, including boardwalk-staple zeppoles, diner-favorite Taylor ham, Italian hot dog, 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, on a burger with cheese and hollandaise aioli at The Jersey Grind, and traditionally on a sandwich with cheese at the Bayonne stand. The popular late-night dish disco fries are similar to poutine, but features melted mozzarella cheese with gravy. The Premio stand sells another local favorite, Italian sausage, pepper, and onion sandwich.
The New Jersey Italian Dog is a regional favorite that consists of a deep-fried hot dog stuffed into pizza dough and topped with deep-fried potatoes, peppers, and onions–there are even a few people who drizzle a bit of ketchup on it. It can be found at The Line Change that offers Devils players’ favorite foods from beef sliders, roasted beet salad, and Kyle’s sandwich, a shaved pastrami and turkey sandwich served with coleslaw on rye.
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 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, and tasty Yuca fries.
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 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 an 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 in Newark 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 state’s premier neighborhoods and definitely worth a visit.
The Ironbound neighborhood 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).
A few steps away from the main entrance of the arena is Dinosaur BBQ, among the best spots in the state for brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and tasty sides. It is recommended to take advantage of the happy hour specials from 3 pm – 7 pm ( $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 2 pm – 7 pm that include $3-$5 half liters of beers and pulled pork sliders and wings for $5.
Say what you want to say about attendance figures, the hardcore Devils fan in attendance know their hockey and support their club passionately. The team is averaging 95 percent capacity for home games, while their rivals across the river boast 96 percent at MSG. The Devils had a nice stretch of playoffs and Stanley Cup runs the past quarter century and after a playoff appearance last year (2017-2018), the casual or fair weather fan might be coming back to “The Rock.”
The Prudential Center is located 2 blocks of Newark Penn Station providing services to New York City and other points in New Jersey via Amtrak, PATH, NJ Transit, and Newark Light Rail. The cost of a PATH train ticket is $2.75 one-way and has stops in New York in Greenwich Village, 9/11 Memorial, and Brooklyn Bridge and to Hoboken and Jersey City in New Jersey. The PATH will also take visitors to 33rd Street in Manhattan, several blocks from Time Square.
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 cost of a ticket will depend on who the Devils are playing. A single-game ticket against the arch-rivals New York Rangers start $82 and will more than likely sell out closer to game time, tickets on the secondary market will sell for half the price. This is one game that will be the worth the price of admission due to the history of both clubs in the same media market. Ranger fans have easy access via the PATH trains from Manhattan and Devil fans will make sure they don’t get too comfortable on the other side of the Hudson.
The Devils other rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, will cost much less, and games against Toronto, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Ottawa, and Chicago will cost under $30 in advance. The return on investment depends on your price point. Concession prices tend to be high but are in line with other NHL venues and parking is relatively inexpensive compared to cost at MetLife Stadium or venues in New York City. The modern building also provides comfortable views of the rink and easy access to all sections and concourse levels.
The arena receives one point for the Jersey-inspired food that includes Taylor ham, zeppoles, Italian hot dogs, 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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Hilton Newark Penn Station
1048 Raymond Blvd
Newark, NJ 07102
Courtyard Newark Downtown
858 Broad St
Newark, NJ 07102
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