Queens Would Welcome Islanders

I apologize for the lack of Rangers news, but blame them for not making much of it. We’re definitely into the boring time of the summer. The calm before the storm that is training camp followed by the regular season in just over two months. Luckily, other teams are still wheeling-and-dealing and making headlines. 

It appears the borough of Queens (my home borough) would welcome the New York Islanders with open arms if team owner Charles Wang and Nassau County can’t reach an agreement in the coming months.

According to Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank, Jack Friedman, Executive Director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said Queens would be a great home for Long Island’s team, and would allow current Islanders fans to continue attending games even after a relocation occurs.“Now that the voters have spoken and before Wang considers other locations and possibilities, I hope he looks no further than Queens as the perfect place for his development,” said Friedman in an email to Botta.

Friedman lists five reasons as to why the location adjacent to Citi Field and the U.S. Tennis Center would be an ideal area for the Islanders to build a new arena. He said the 61 acres of open space is a perfect size for an arena, as well as its access to the subway, Long Island railroad, highways and airport will help bring fans in from every location, including potential fans flying in to catch a game? Not sure about that, but we know what he means.

The biggest point Friedman makes is the land has already received appropriate zoning by the New York City government, as well as the environmental review process, meaning a major hurdle Wang faced in Nassau County has already been approved.

Friedman said the next step to bringing the Islanders to Queens is discussing how to build the arena the same way Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium was erected? He questioned whether a joint private-public partnership could be formed to meet both sides’ needs.

Lastly, he said the biggest difference between Nassau County and Queens is Queens’ long history of supporting projects that “bring jobs, incremental tax revenue and opportunities for local businesses,” he said. Friedman also said the borough has been wanting a multi-use arena would be greatly beneficial to Queens.

I personally think Queens is the best option for Wang and the Islanders. It’s going to be difficult for Wang to work with Nassau, especially in such a tight time period. After several of Wang’s proposals have been rejected by both the local legislature and now the residents of Nassau, it could very well be time to look elsewhere.

Queens would be ideal, especially because of its location and mass transit options. Simply put, it is a bitch to drive to Nassau County, especially on nights against the Rangers when the arena is filled to capacity. Giving fans the option of attending games using the Long Island Railroad and subway system would make life for Islanders fans a lot easier.

Finally, Queens is just 20 to 25 minutes away from Nassau Coliseum, making the “relocation” pretty harmless.

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