As I sit here in my college dorm as a freshman at SUNY Brockport, all I can think about is the unsure fate of the team I love all so much. It is hard to focus during the day when you don't know what the future holds for the beloved orange and blue. The questions like where will they be after the lease? When will they make the playoffs? Why are Cappy, Snow and Wang still here? The questions that are just buzzing all over Islander Country just can't seem to escape my mind.
Although I would like to express my opinion on many things including the draft, Free Agency, and what the line up should look like next year, I think it would be best if I start off with the first and most important order of business, an arena. I've came up and thought about 5 different sites on Long Island that in my opinion are the best bet for an arena to be built.
I would like to say two things before I start with my proposals:
1. The Islanders have a TV contract that goes all the way up to the 2030's I believe.
2. I would really love to hear your feedback and if you agree or disagree.
5. Central Islip, Suffolk County
I don't know if anyone is familiar with the area I'm talking about. The area is located right behind where the Long Island Ducks baseball team plays. The area would be a legitamate spot for a new arena. Wang would have to purchase land from NYIT (even though most of the buildings are abandoned) and the nine-hole golf corse called gull haven. The land is located between the central islip train station, which is a few blocks away (If you've ever been to a hockey game in buffalo, they walk a few blocks from parking lots to go to Sabres games), and the southern state parkway. Two routes that are easily accessable. People in nassau would be making the same drive I make when i go to Islanders games. Having the Ducks there can possibly bring some benefits to the Islanders. There are several restaruants located right next to this area including Fridays, Carrabba's, and many more. When it comes to hotels, oppenents can stay in the same hotels that Duck's opponents stay in. I'm sure if Wang purchased this area, he would probably buy some extra land for his own hotels. The only downside to this is that there would need to be a parking garage built because there isn't the amount of room for parking like there is at the coliseum. I also put this at number five because I believe this would be a tough deal for Wang considering NYIT probably might give him a tough time and Wang might not feel this is what he wants. If you ever get a chance to see the area in person, you would understand the available space there is.
4. Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, Suffolk County
This looks to be the best option in suffolk county. An abandoned area that is located south of the LIE (Interstate 495) and west of the sagtikos pkwy. Just down the road south is the Deer Park train station. Unlike Central Islip, there is plenty of room here for hotels and restaruants to be built. No doubt that there is also plenty of room for parking. I'm sure the county wouldn't hesitate to give Wang this piece of land. It would be a win-win for everyone involved. This would give suffolk county a new and improved identity. When I think about it, I cannot seem to think of any negatives with this area. It is a perfect location for a new place for the Islanders to call home.
3. Willet's Point, Queens
If this scenario were to become reality, this would hands down be the one place where Wang could do a scaled down version of the Lighthouse project. This would be a brand new pilgrimage spot for New York sports fans all over the world. When you think about it, the Mets and Isles are in similar boats right now, with both teams struggling to make the post season and the Mets owners having finacial troubles. If these two franchises could work together to come up with a top-of-the-line site, it could give both teams the turn around they both need so despirately. This would be the one site that would increase the rivalry with the rangers even more. With an incredible venue like this, attracting free agents would be so much easier than it is today. There is only one problem I think will be an issue with this spot. The people who run the small businesses and chop shops over there say they will not leave, ever. But I'm sure a settlement could be made. Just imagine the attention that the Islanders would get if they had a scaled down version of the Lighthouse project, right next to city field, in NYC? Cannot even imagine.
2. Uniondale, Nassau County
Where they are right now is a great spot. The history, the land avialable, the opportunity, the possiblity. It's home. If Wang could only get nassau county to agree to give him the land so he can build a new arena. Although, the proposed rennovated coliseum seems like it would be a very nice venue. But I dont know if an agreement will ever happen. Both sides have different goals they want. But lets be honest, Nassau County is corrupt and selfish. They dont understand what losing the Islanders will do to the county financially. They are going to be begging for the Islanders to come back when their taxes go through the roof.The Coliseum houses so many concerts and other events for Long Island. It's how we identify ourselves. If it were to happen though, the venue would just feel right. Simple as that.
1. Barclay's Center, Brooklyn
There is an arena there. It can house hockey. So way not? So what there is only 14,000+ seats and there might be some sight obstructions. Would you rather them be playing in Quebec City or Kansas City? Just think of it like this. If the Islanders play a few years in the arena and realize that the venue's sightlines arent good enough, then some small renovations could take place to increase seating capacity and also remove obstructed sights in the arena. Its' and easily accessable arena with the train station underneath. It's in an area thats on the rise. Closer to the city. Sharing the venue with the Brooklyn Nets could mean Wang joining up with Bruce Ratner or Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov or even Nets part owner Jay-Z. This could be huge for the Islanders getting some sort of partnership like this. This situation would bring free agents to the Islanders. No doubt in my mind this is the best scenario for the Islanders. It's a building already in play. All they need to do is make an agreement.
If any of these ideas become a reality and actually happen, then Islanders Country will have a huge monkey off of their shoulders. I think all Islanders fans agree. We need a chance to voice our opinion on whether they stay or go. Wang might own them. But they are OUR team. We stick with this team through incredibly thick and rare thin moments. It's time for someone to do something and get an agreement on the table so that Isles Fans can wake up every day not having to worry if they will be here after 2015 lease is up.