Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rant #831: They Done Did It

The NHL's New York Islanders have announced that they will be moving to Brooklyn in 2015, playing their games at the brand new Barclay Center.

They will be abandoning Long Island's Nassau Coliseum for better digs, much like the Nets left the Coliseum in the 1970s.

The Islanders will now join the Nets at the new venue, leaving the Nassau Coliseum with nothing.

And I do mean nothing.

The Coliseum has no professional sports teams in its roster. It has become a maybe third-rate venue for the circus, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the WWE, but with the Barlclay Center as its new rival, it will have a hard time attracting even tractor pulling at this juncture.

I just knew this was going to happen.

I wrote about this some time ago here. The Nassau Hub, including the Nassau Coliseum, has been a political football for years.

The Islanders first brought up the need for a new venue more than 20 years ago, and ironically, what happened there happened in Brooklyn--and Manhattan--in the 1950s, when New York City turned a deaf ear on the Dodgers and Giants' desire for their own new digs.

Nothing happened then, and the teams left.

Nothing happened now, and the Islanders left.

And as usual, you can blame the politicians, who would rather carve out their own political agendas rather than do something that we all can be proud of.

And you can blame Islander ownership, who thought too big, couldn't answer certain questions, and tried to cover up their inadequacies by laying it all on Nassau County taxpayers.

Well, with the Islanders gone, what do you do with this area? Do you make it into a mixed-use haven for housing and technology and retail, do you retain some aspect of an arena as part of the plan?

What do you do?

Supposedly, we will all find out next week, as we have been told that a master developer will be named for the area.

My thought is that the area will be zoned for mixed use, and there will be some type of arena at the site, or at least some type of sports and entertainment-related venue there..

Whether it can viably compete with not just the Barclay Center, but also Madison Square Garden, is doubtful.

What you need is a developer with a vision for something totally different for that venue, something that the other two sites do not offer.

I was thinking of an outdoor stadium with not only a retractable roof, but also a retractable field. I believe there is one such place in existence, in Hawaii. There was talk for such a stadium for the Mets before CitiField was conceived.

Make it a smaller venue, like the minor league Ducks play in in Central Islip. It can be used for both outdoor and indoor events, including concerts.

Why not? Think outside the box ...

Something all those involved in this fiasco didn't do.

And ironically, the Nets, the former Coliseum tenants, played the Knicks in a preseason game there last night.

The Nets wore their throwback 1970s Julius Erving-style jerseys, because the Knicks refused to wear their home jerseys.

And to add insult to injury, the Nets were designated the home team for last night's game.

Yes, yesterday was a dark day for Long Island, and it had nothing to do with the Nets' new black and white logo and motif.

The whole situation stinks, but when you get politicians involved, this is what you get.

And when they do announce what they are doing with the Nassau Hub, unless it's something really special that includes some type of arena, I can guarantee that you will hear a collective yawn coming from all those who remember the Coliseum as something of a special place.

Brooklyn, here were come ... ?

(And to add insult to injury, I just received my occasional "Coliseum Connection" email--heralding the Islanders move to Brooklyn! Do you believe that they have the nerve to send something like this out--and with all the information about Brooklyn yet. Talk about sticking the knife in and turning it!)

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