Photos by Jon Hart, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Pope Physical Education Center 180 Remsen Street Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201
Year Opened: 1971
Located in the oversized shadow of the mega Barclays Center, nestled in the idyllic Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn’s St. Francis offers an awesome basketball experience. With a capacity of just 1,200, it’s very intimate. You’re practically on the court. You might even have to toss a ball back onto the court, so look alive! If you want a chair back, you’ll have to sit on the sideline facing the team’s benches. There’s no seating behind either team’s basket.
St. Francis, which plays out of the one-bid Northeast Conference, is a low mid-major. On any given night, however, these Terriers can compete with the Goliaths. Earlier this 2018 – 2019 season, they lost by five at Boston College. In short, the Terriers have talent… but they’ve never danced in March Madness. In 2014-15, they came close, winning the NEC regular season championship but stumbling in their conference tournament.
Food & Beverage 3
On game days, the St. Francis cafeteria offers pizza, pasta, and other Italian standbys from a local pizzeria. An array of packaged treats are also available. Prices are reasonable. If you’re craving an alternative, there are plenty of options on Montague Street to sample at half-time. If you can muster it, save your appetite. Brooklyn Heights has some of the finest cuisines anywhere.
Folks are into it at St. Francis. There’s almost no choice, as you’re practically on the court. St. Francis doesn’t have a band, but they have cheerleaders and a mascot, who might be one of the most mellow in all of the college sports.
Just a quick walk from the must-walk or bike Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights is one of the most unique neighborhoods in New York City. With its picturesque brownstones, it’s wonderful for a stroll or a bite. In that realm, there are a plethora of dining options. Henry Street, a gem of a block, offers a gamut of options. If you’re looking for cheap, solid eat, Fuscati Pizza is the spot for a slice.
Heights Falafel offers middle eastern goodies. On the higher end, there are long-time neighborhood favorites Noodle Pudding and Henry’s End. If you want to stare at your phone or watch others do just that at a coffee spot, there are plenty of those. If you don’t mind a longer stroll, Lucali in nearby Carroll Gardens is highly recommended for elite, New Haven-quality pizza.
Terrier fans run the gamut, from students to neighborhood hoops junkies to kids, who are often allowed on the court during game breaks to shoot free throws or scrimmage. St. Francis offers a very family-friendly experience. When games get tight, Terrier diehards chant. For regular season games, the Terriers seem to get about 600 fans, give or take. Thus, getting a seat on game day shouldn’t be a problem. However, come conference tournament time, attendance is certain to increase.
Brooklyn Heights is steps away from almost every imaginable public transportation option. For drivers, you might have to hunt and peck for a parking space. Either that or prepare to pay for one of the many garages or lots in the area. If you decide to go this route, Icon on Livingston Street is recommended.
Return on Investment 3
St. Francis puts on a good show, and it won’t break the budget. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
In a way, St. Francis has two head coaches. Glenn Branca is the head coach. Ron Ganulin is an assistant. However, Ganulin was the head coach for the Terriers from 1991-2005. Often, during games, both pace opposite ends of the sidelines. There’s no Jumbotron at St. Francis, but they have a mural, a montage of popular Brooklyn images.
St. Francis’ facility isn’t the Carrier Dome, to say the least, but that’s a good thing. You’re close. You can hear the coaches, the bounce of the ball, and the rim reverberate. Bottom line: St. Francis offers big basketball in a small place. When St. Francis finally dances, the serene neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights will go ballistic.
Jon Hart is @ManVersusBall