Moving to a new home was the big story over the summer for the New York Islanders. And now, it seems that one of the proposed options could very well be out.
Over the summer stories broke about the potential for the New York Islanders to move from their current home at the Barclays Center to just about any vacant lot in New York.
From Citi Fields in Queens to Belmont in Elmont (that’s fun to say), and even, maybe, back to the redeveloped Coliseum!
The Islanders had only been at Barclays for a full season so talk of another move was a tad unceremonious. But it’s not as thought the Barclays had been dressed in honors.
The ice was, and still is poor (not the worst, but poor). The scoreboard is off centered. And there are a number of seats that even a contortionist can’t actually see the game in. The Barclays Center was home, but it made sense as to why the Isles might want to leave.
And now it seems that the state has potentially crossed one option off the list.
On December 10th, it was reported that the state’s economic development agency scrapped a plan to build a 25,000 soccer stadium at Belmont Park. Ending its four-year long request for proposal process on the site. Meaning new ideas are welcomed.
Of the three options proposed in the summer Belmont now leapfrogs to the front of the list.
Citi Field is nice because of it’s proximity to the Mets and the inherent romanticism of having the two playing on the same ground. But that swath of land resides on park land and can’t just be appropriated by the city and given to developers.
As developers found out in 2015, when a court ordered the halted the gentrification of the area with a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, and such.
If anything is to be built there, it’s got to pass through the state legislature first. So, it’s still possible for the Isles, but the logistics of getting anything built in any reasonable time frame is certainly out the window.
Going back home a la LeBron James is every sports fan’s dream. And for some it’s still the ultimate goal; the Islanders don’t belong anywhere else but in their traditional home in Nassau County.
With the redevelopment of the Coliseum, that sounds like an increasingly desirable dream. The Isles leave for a few years while their old house get’s a facelift, and come back to a state of the art facility! Yay!
Except that the new and improved Coliseum wouldn’t be any sort of improvement. Mainly because it’s capacity will be significantly downgraded. Where 15,000 could once sit to cheer John Tavares and his bunch, only 12,000 can now. In a salary cap league, how many fans you can fit in your barn is an issue.
Oh, and how about the fact that the developers have come out publicly and said they don’t want NHL hockey, or even
Belmont In Elmont
So now comes Belmont. It’s looking for new ideas, new plans, new proposals. The door is open for Isles ownership to at least see what it would take.
It’s not the perfect site, this entire piece was written based on the knowledge that a 25,000 seat sports and entertainment facility had been rejected.
But maybe with the right concessions to the community or even the state, could be enough to break some ground. At best, ownership can get a good look at what it’s going to take to leave the Barclays.
Either way you slice it the Islanders are going to stay at the Barclays for at least a little while. But with Belmont now looking for a tenant, maybe the Isles use this as a bargaining chip with Barclays to either get the upgrades they want, or a sweeter deal financially.