New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday will announce plans to build a new Long Island Rail Road train station to serve the New York Islanders’ proposed new arena at Belmont Park, according to a report from Long Island Business News.
The development is not completely unexpected, as there had been rumblings and allusions to the possibility. But this is good news for confidence that the new arena, which is supposed to have groundbreaking this summer, is actually going to happen.
The station itself would help address, though perhaps not fully resolve, some concerns about commuting to the arena via rail. Among those: It’s not like the train drops you off right at the arena.
Rail riders to the arena will board shuttles at the new station that will also serve those who drive to the property and park in the north and east lots. The proposed station would be more than half a mile from the arena site near the west entrance of the racetrack’s grandstand.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also working on improving the switching and other infrastructure to allow for smoother operation of two daily trains to and from the existing Belmont Park LIRR station. Those trains were promised for event days in Empire State Development’s draft environmental impact statement on the arena project. The existing station at Belmont, used on Belmont Stakes day, is only accessible from the west.
Access only from the west meant a longer rail commute — and switching trains — for many Islanders fans who would come from the east on Long Island. But arena cheerleaders have pledged to address that. Based on the description and graphic in the LIBN story placing the station on the mainline rather than the existing spur, it looks like the new station would do that. But we’ll know more after Monday’s announcement.
Your mileage may vary. Training to a game can be an experience in itself, though tailgating, a cherished tradition at Nassau Coliseum not feasible at Barclays Center, should once again be possible with the arena in Elmont.
Regardless, everyone will have to adjust their gameday ritual one way or another. That’s part of moving into a new home you can finally call your very own.