Where the New York Islanders will play has been an ongoing saga for years. After it was clear that staying at the Nassau Coliseum was no longer possible, the Islanders moved to Brooklyn to play at the Barclays Center in 2015.
But the marriage between the Islanders and the Barclays Center was rocky right from the start. And it never really got any better. Getting out of Brooklyn became a priority within two years after arriving.
In December 2017, the Islanders won the right to build an arena at Belmont Park in Queens. The Isles would have a new state-of-the-art arena all to themselves and it was on Long Island.
After two years of planning, legal work, environmental assessments and such, State Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as a huge crowd of Islanders fans, broke ground on September 23, 2019.
While the announcement that the Isles had won the right to build the arena back in 2017 was a big deal, getting a shovel in the ground was always going to matter more. Getting a shovel in the ground is a clear line from concept to concrete. From an idea to reality.
Why is this a feel-good story?
It’s a clear reminder that this franchise is healthy and has a long-term future on the Island. Something that wasn’t so clear just a few years ago.
PS: Even though construction is currently on hold because of COVID-19, you can watch a timelapse of the construction from August 29, 2019, to March 28, 2020, and bask in what will eventually be the home of the New York Islanders.