Tag: NHL Atlantic

Meet Me at the …Place…Somewhere on Long Island … Maybe

I’ve been trying to generate some feelings—vitriol, despair, disgust, frustration—over the latest developments concerning the Lighthouse, but I just can’t do it. It’s like trying to light a fire with a wet match and a cinder block. I’m done.

We heard from Chris Botta at Fanhouse that the Wilpons, owners of the Mets, had hired a high-powered project management firm to “work on a feasability study” for a new arena at Willets Point, adjacent to Citi Field. Newsday then followed up with the predictable denials from sources. Our friend B.D. Gallof compared the whole thing to a scene from the movie “M.A.S.H.” which served to plant the theme song from the TV version in my head for a few hours. Thanks, buddy.

For me—and, I suspect, most Islanders fans—the drama has become tiresome. I’m done with the Town of Hempstead, and the politics, and the hand-wringing over whether the Isles are going to move to Queens, or Hartford, or Winnipeg, or Kansas City, or Brooklyn, or Yaphank, or Paris, Texas.

I’d be done with Charles Wang, too, except he hasn’t said a word in months. At least he’s not been annoying.

The Lighthouse Project has been all but disbanded and Hempstead has yet to provide new zoning for the property, or any guidance as to how Wang’s proposal needs to be pared down. The general feeling is that it would have to be cut down considerably. Maybe Wang would be okay with that, maybe not.

Wang still has incentive to stay at the Coliseum. The revised lease agreement gives the Islanders more revenue from games and other events, and you’d think it would be easier for them to stay at that location, in a renovated or new arena, regardless of how much of the other development is eliminated.

While Wang may or may not be investigating other options, like looking to the Wilpons and Queens, at some point the town will present its new parameters for the site, eliminating the oh-so-scary “mini city” that the local politicians love to call the Lighthouse plan. Hopefully that will come soon, maybe this year? This decade? Before the next World Cup?

At that point, Wang will either be in or out, but that day seems to be so far off it is not even on the horizon. So wake me when it comes, okay?

The lease on the Coliseum runs out in 2015. There’s still time to develop a site for a new arena somewhere (good luck with the Iron Triangle, though), but not much.

Part of me would love to see the Islanders find a new site on Long Island and leave Hempstead, stuck with either a casino or just a couple of new big box stores to replace a tenant-less arena. Let the politicians take credit for that.

The other part of me wants to stop hearing, talking, or writing about this for ever more.

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New York Islanders To Flushing?

All of this talk seems extremely preliminary, but perhaps there is something to it. There have been rumors over the past couple of days involving either the Mets buying the Islanders, or simply the Mets building an arena next to Citi Field that would house the Islanders and perhaps a Major League Soccer team as well.

Here is the New York Daily News with more:

Those involved on both sides categorized the possibility as “a long shot” and “still in the early stages,” but Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon has held talks with Islanders owner Charles Wang about possibly building a new arena for the NHL team in Queens.

“We’ve had discussions with the Islanders – in addition to those we’ve had with Major League Soccer – about building a sports/entertainment facility near Citi Field,” the Mets said.

Without speaking to the Wilpon’s, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would be open to such a move. But he also warned that Wang might be using the Mets and Queens as leverage to expedite approval of his long-standing Lighthouse Project to renovate Nassau Coliseum and develop its surrounding land. Neither Wang nor Lighthouse spokespeople returned calls seeking comment.

“I haven’t talked to the Wilpon’s yet. I will,” Bloomberg said. “I don’t know whether it’s just the owner or the team negotiating, using us as a negotiating ploy out on Long Island.

“You know, I’d love to have more teams move here. It’d be great.”

Thoughts: Like I said, this seems extremely preliminary so I won’t be getting into this too much. Also, I think it is likely that Bloomberg is right when he said that this could just be a negotiating tactic by Wang and the Islanders to leverage a new arena out on Long Island. If it is not, this is great news as I am of the belief that the more teams in New York City, the better.

I’ll keep you posted if there are any updates on this, and in the meantime, why not discuss this? What are your thoughts on the Islanders moving to Flushing? Even if you don’t care about hockey, a huge sports complex next to Citi could be pretty cool, right?

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