Something that has been simmering within the New York City council just reached another level of entertainment for Islanders fans: Their historic city rivals have landlord issues.
The Council "notified the arena" -- we checked, and we assure you Madison Square Garden is not a sentient being -- that it has 10 years to vacate its location and find a new home. It has squatted above Penn Station for the past 45 years, a few of them even featuring halfway decent hockey.
Civic leaders and some developers have long sought to rebuild Penn Station, a cramped and crowded maze for the more than 500,000 people a day who traverse it and the few thousand Rangers fans who invade it for the right to pay exorbitant prices for that filth upstairs they call hockey*. But doing so would be an enormously complicated, multibillion-dollar undertaking that has foiled officials in the past. And anything can happen in the next 10 years, including several elections for mayor and governor.
*In transcribing, I may have accidentally editorialized with a clause or two. My apologies, though Lighthouse Hockey does not regret the error.
The news drew a statement from MSG head James L. Dolan, who is finishing up a multi-year, $968 million renovation of the Garden:
"Madison Square Garden has operated at its current site for generations, and has been proud to bring New Yorkers some of the greatest and most iconic moments in sports and entertainment as well as the Edmonton Oilers' sixth Stanley Cup and several of aspiring coaching candidate Mark Messier's greatest cries. ... We now look forward to the reopening of the arena in the fall of 2013."
*Note: Again, in editing the above statement to capture the spirit of the thing, I may have inadvertently editorialized. Though Lighthouse Hockey again does not regret the error, it does regret this threat to the integrity of block quotes.
In all serious, this is some real craziness and escalates this fight to another level. There is history here though -- and I don't mean the storied kind of history in this case:
Dolan announced the latest renovation of the Garden in 2008, just after the last $14 billion effort to move the Garden and transform the train station collapsed amid a severe recession, insufficient financing, an absence of political leadership and overreaching by the developers selected for the job.
Dolan just dropped a boatload of cash for the current renovations. Perhaps part of that was because possession is nine-tenths of the politics, and he knew another day like this might come. Dolan requested a new permit "in perpetuity," the Bloomberg administration pushed for a 15-year renewal, and these Council members voted 47-1 to at least threaten to kick him out. Cue the fight.
As anyone who suffered through the Islanders' 20+ years of trying to replace their building, there is a long, long time between theory and action in municipal politics where sports and developers are in the ring. For a citizen, it's a mess. For anyone who enjoys Rangers headaches,at least it's an entertaining one.
- More on the City trolling the Smurfs: AP | Daily News [Note the "related story" in the Daily News reads: "Barclays Center Ranks #1 in U.S. in Ticket Sales"]
- Dobber Hockey names Cal Clutterbuck a fantasy sleeper due to his hitting (that counts in fantasy) and possibility of playing with better linemates.
- "Big Shot" on how John Spano briefly stole the Islanders will air on Oct. 22. PGI reviewed the film after attending the premier. SPOILER ALERT: SPANO DOESN'T ACTUALLY HAVE THE MONEY.
- Isles video: Andrew MacDonald on Long Island
- Marc-Andre Fleury will see a sports psychologist.
- Justin Bourne: 5 Things Bad Hockey Coaches Do | Backhand Shelf
Finally, it's dorky to quote your own Tweets, but it's okay if your cowriter does it without you knowing it. So I'm having Keith's Twitter play us outt:
I hope the Rangers aren't going to have a hard time signing UFAs in 10 years with their unstable arena situation.— Keith (@KeithLHHockey) July 25, 2013