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A10 Tournament Guide

If you’re  going to Brooklyn for the A10 tournament, you’re going to want to bookmark this page. We will keep things updated on a daily basis for you. Below the essential items (updated bracket, schedule of events, etc), we have a former Richmonder’s guide to the area surrounding the Barclays Center (thanks Alex!).

Latest Bracket Standings

tournament_brackets

Click this link for the most up-to-date bracket courtesy of the Atlantic 10.

Tickets

You can purchase tickets at this link with our special Ram Nation discount through the Barclays Center ticket office.

Students: there is no bus transportation provided for students, but you can get your tickets and tons of information at this link.

Official Ram Nation Headquarters

Die Koelner Bierhalle is a bar located just 3 blocks from the Barclays Center, and for the 2nd year in a row, has agreed to make their location the official VCU headquarters during the ENTIRE tournament! So, you’ll have a place to relax and enjoy a beverage with other VCU fans any time Wednesday through Sunday!

The big event will be on Friday evening at 9:00 PM – our annual Ram Nation tournament party. If you haven’t been, it’s an exciting time to meet up with tons of other VCU fans, and get pumped about the tournament.

Die Koelner Bierhalle is usually 21+ after 7 PM, but will be relaxing their policy with the following exception:

Our family friendly policy will extend through the end of the last game each night, however anyone with family members under 21 years old that would like to view the game at Die Koelner Bierhalle must be in the establishment before 7:00PM otherwise entry is not guaranteed.

Be sure to check out Die Koelner Bierhalle’s beer selection, and bookmark the date/time/location. Can’t wait to see you there!

Ram Nation Party Details:

Date / Time: Friday, March 14th, 9:00 PM

Location: Die Koelner Bierhalle (website),

84 St Marks Pl
(between 4th Ave & 5th Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Map / Directions:


View VCU Ram Nation Annual Tournament Party in a larger map

Here is video footage of how much fun the Ram Nation party was last year.

Introduction to the Area Surrounding Barclays

Barclay’s Center was opened to much protest, and some fanfare, at the intersection of four Brooklyn neighborhoods: Fort Greene to the North, Prospect Heights to the East, Park Slope to the South and Boerum Hill to the West. While the completed building is generally considered the most modern and impressive arena in the country, there was a lot of opposition from residents in the area regarding its placement. It is not my intention to make anyone feel unwelcome here by starting off this introduction in this manner, but I do believe it is important to understand this background. It’s just a fact that the residents and businesses in the area are still adjusting to this new behemoth of a presence.

All four of the closest neighborhoods are primarily residential, however both Prospect Heights and Park Slope in particular are also very well know for their extensive restaurants, cafes and nightlife.

Park Slope

Headed South from Barclay’s on 5th Avenue you will encounter Park Slope’s primary shopping and dining district. Stretching for approximately 30 blocks from Flatbush Avenue until you reach the Prospect Expressway, you will find restaurants, cafes, clothing boutiques, bars, thrift stores, specialty stores and more. Think Carytown but probably about ten times the size. Many of you could probably entertain yourself the entire weekend just by exploring this stretch. You will find everything from stores selling cheap NYC tourist souvenirs to boutiques with $400 jeans; from dive bars filled with aging locals and $3 drafts to cocktail bars popular with Manhattanites whipping up $25 specialties.

Park Slope is the primary home of the famous “Brooklyn Brownstone” architecture, famous in books, movies and almost every episode of Law and Order set in Brooklyn.

6th Avenue, the next avenue to the East, is mostly residential, but once you get to 7th Avenue you will find basically a lowkey version of 5th Avenue; very much the same, but slightly more sparse in terms of commercial enterprise. Still plenty to see and do there, and if you’re looking for something a bit more familiar (Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Five Guys Burger and Fries) this is where you’ll find it.

Must See in Park Slope

Bark Hot Dogs
Great hot dogs, sausages and hamburgers made from locally sourced ingredients.
474 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY

Lobo
Tex-mex style tacos, burritos, tequila and margaritas.
188 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Ghenet
Amazing traditional Ethiopian food; plenty of vegetarian options.
348 Douglass St, Brooklyn, NY

Stone Park
Amazing contemporary American cuisine; burgers, pork chops, etc. Fantastic brunch.
324 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Bonnie’s
Best wings outside of Buffalo; great burgers too.
278 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY

High Dive
Perfect bar to get away from all the sports for a bit. Good beer selection, friendly atmosphere.
243 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Heights

If you head East of the Barclay’s and cross North across Flatbush Avenue, you’re in Prospect Heights. You’ll probably almost immediately notice that the buildings, while still residential, are much bigger here than they are in Park Slope. While Park Slope was originally built as a neighborhood for the wealthy and their four-story brownstone townhouses, Prospect Heights was originally more working class, as evidenced by the many high-rise apartment buildings. Today Prospect Heights is one of the most sought after residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn due to it’s proximity to many subway lines, museums and Prospect Park.

As you head East on Flatbush Avenue from Barclay’s Center you will find many restaurants, bars and other businesses on your way to Grand Army Plaza, the massive traffic circle and entry to Prospect Park. Extending North from the Grand Army Plaza you will find Vanderbilt Avenue, the primary thoroughfare for drinks and food in Prospect Heights. A bit further East you will find the Brooklyn Public Library (a beautiful building worth seeing in person) and the Brooklyn Museum.

Must See in Prospect Heights

Franny’s
Frequently cited as New York’s best pizza; does pizzas to-go.
348 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Plan B
Sports bar with reasonably priced drinks and great bar food.
626 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Hungry Ghost

Coffee, sandwiches, salads and WiFi.
253 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Museum
For current exhibits see:www.brooklynmuseum.org
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY

The Vanderbilt
One of the more popular restaurants in New York. Contemporary American fare; expect a wait.
570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Park

Frederick Olmsted may be most famous for his work on Central Park in Manhattan, but he was most proud of his work on Prospect Park, and many (myself included) agree it is the superior accomplishment. Whereas Central Park feels very much like an urban park, Prospect Park quickly envelopes you in a feeling of wilderness. There are vast meadows and plenty of unmarked trails to follow, and it is one of the few places in NYC where you can truly forget where you are. One large paved loop runs around the outside of the park, which is popular with runners and cyclists alike. Those on foot are encouraged to follow the many footpaths and let themselves encounter the park in a natural way. Even during winter the Duck Pond and the Boat House towards the South-Eastern end of the park are absolutely beautiful, the latter housing a visitors center open all year.

Getting Around

Note: Addresses rarely matter in NYC. If you need to tell someone where you are, or where you’re going, you need to know the intersection, not the address. For example, “5th Ave at Union St.”

The recommended way to explore Brooklyn and anywhere else you may go during your visit is by foot. NYC as a whole is generally very pedestrian friendly, and almost every block offers something to see or experience. You might end up walking a lot more than you might at home, but I promise you’ll end up enjoying the experience more.

If you’re going a bit further than the immediate area surrounding the arena, the recommended form of travel while you’re in town is absolutely the subway. While the map can be daunting at first, don’t hesitate to ask a passerby if you need help getting somewhere. While New Yorkers can sometimes be stereotyped as cold, you’ll quickly find that the majority of people you’ll encounter are incredibly friendly. More importantly, no New Yorker will ever pass on an opportunity to show off their ability at navigating the massive New York City subway system.

Each ride is $2.50, or you can purchase a 7-day Unlimited Ride pass for $30. Just do some quick math (don’t forget to count for each direction) and figure out if the Unlimited Pass makes sense. You can buy passes at all subway stations; however, please be aware that not all entrances have machines selling tickets. If you find yourself at an entrance without a machine, just look across the street or down the block; the next entrance won’t be far away.

There are two forms of taxis in NYC, generally referred to as Cabs and Car Services.

Cabs are the ubiquitous and famous NYC Yellow Cabs. These cabs can only be hailed on the street. By law they must take you anywhere in the 5 Boroughs, and they use a meter to calculate their charges, with distance and time both adding up to the final charge. These cabs are generally much cheaper than what you might experience taking a taxi in Richmond a similar distance; on the same token, remember NYC is a large place, so you can also rack up large charges quickly if you’re going far.

Car Services are locally owned, smaller businesses that are a little more like taxis in Richmond. These are cars that you can call to meet you at a specific time and place; however, as long as you’re calling from within their primary area of business, they can normally get a car to you within 3-5 minutes at the most, so calling ahead is rarely needed. Unlike cabs and Richmond taxis, these services do not use meters. As you get in you tell the driver where you want to go, and you should ask them how much it will cost. If it sounds too much, you’re welcome to haggle (but I dissuade you from doing this unless you know what you’re doing.) At the end of your ride, no matter how long it might take to get there, you only owe the agreed-upon price.

Car service cars are almost always unmarked black Lincoln Towncars, although they sometimes have other cars in their fleet. Remember to watch for this as you wait for your ride. The drivers will be on the look out for you as well, and if you’ve called a car and you find an unknown car double-parked and honking at you, it’s probably them.

Recommended Car Service:

For anywhere near Barclay’s call Arecibo Car Service – 718-783-6465

Tipping in New York

Note: Many places in NYC do not accept credit cards, and those that do often have minimums. It may seem strange at first, but it’s simply how things are done. Expect to carry cash with you and expect to use cash for the majority of your drinking and dining while here. Don’t worry, there is an ATM on almost every block and inside many bars, but you’ll probably have to pay a service fee.

Dinner (Sit Down Restaurant) – 20% should be left for good service. 25% or more for exemplary service. Feel free to tip less than 20% for inadequate service, but this is less common in NYC and it’s not unheard of for a server or even a manager to vocally let you know about your faux pas if you do so.

Dinner (Counter Service) – $2-3 per item; $1 for each drink

Bars – $1 per drink under $8; after this you go to ~20%. This includes water and sodas! Please note that people generally do not run tabs up here. It’s possible, but not common. Carry cash and pay for each drink, tipping as you go, not at the end.

Cafes – $1 per coffee, juice or water

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