Letters: Islanders' move is a great loss

The New York Islanders and Nassau Coliseum's management

The New York Islanders and Nassau Coliseum's management company, SMG, owe Nassau County as much as $3.8 million in unpaid rent, utilities and other expenses for the Coliseum dating back to at least 2011, records show. (Oct. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Well, it's finally happened. The New York Islanders are leaving the Nassau Coliseum for Brooklyn. No one can honestly say this comes as a surprise; and now it's a harsh reality.

The loss of NHL hockey cannot be permitted to lead to further losses of other events and attractions at the Coliseum, and the concomitant jobs and revenue. Any plan for the Coliseum has to include a comprehensive scheme for its neighboring institutions, services and roadways.

Public-private partnerships need to be fully explored. The Coliseum tract's most notable neighbors include hotels, office buildings, and, of course, Nassau Community College and Hofstra University. In my opinion, Hofstra is an intriguing possibility, with its new school of medicine and its planned school of engineering. Some consultation with the Coliseum's most visible neighbor is an imperative.

No one expects a single entity to be the great savior of the Coliseum. But a combination of interested parties and the resources each can bring to the table, working pursuant to a plan, can save the Coliseum from a future that is both literally and figuratively dark. The Islanders' move forces all concerned to focus, as never before, on the future of the Coliseum. Otherwise, the Coliseum will not be the only thing going dark; so will Nassau's future.

Anthony Michael Sabino, Mineola

Editor's note: The writer is a law professor at St. John's University's Tobin College of Business.

As a lifelong resident of Suffolk County and an Islander fan, I hate to see the team leave Nassau. A new arena there or even in Suffolk would have been the ideal.

That said, I am truly happy for the Islanders and their new deal with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Nassau County and Town of Hempstead officials have no one to blame but themselves for the team leaving.

For me, taking the Long Island Rail Road from Ronkonkoma to Jamaica, then changing to the Atlantic Terminal line and being let off right in front of the new arena in Brooklyn is no hardship at all. Hopefully all the Islander fans will feel the same way.

Geographically, Brooklyn is still part of Long Island.

Lloyd E. Simonsen, Ronkonkoma

All the NIMBYs in Nassau County and Hempstead Town will say, "How come we don't have jobs? How come our taxes keep going up?"

And the Hub will be known as the Parking Lot. And their answers will all be in their bathroom mirrors.

Bill Shultz, Coram

Once again, Long Island lost on a project that was truly visionary: The Lighthouse Project. Here was a forward-thinking private citizen, Charles Wang, who wanted to move Nassau County into the 21st century and beyond.

Sure, he would have made money on the deal, but he would have used his money to do it. Long Island could have had a decade of construction jobs, housing, shopping, parks, business space, convention space and a new Coliseum. One of the ugliest pieces of real estate in Nassau could have been transformed into creative, tax-generating structures that could have put Nassau back on the top of suburban life.

Paul Wenger, Hicksville

Even though Charles Wang is moving his team from Uniondale to Brooklyn, he says it'll still be called the Islanders. Makes perfect sense. After all, the Giants and Jets play in New Jersey, but they're still referred to as New York teams!

Bob Buscavage, Moriches

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I served on the Lighthouse steering committee, and almost from the start I saw a process that was going nowhere. I heard things privately like, people come to live on Long Island for white picket fences, not density. That's true if we were in the 1950s.

I heard privately that too many Democrats will move in if there are apartments. I can't even comment on that one. I heard privately that some people in parts of Nassau County were scared that there would be trains passing by their backyards.

The Lighthouse project is just one example of how our community couldn't find the courage politically or civically to bring Nassau County into the 21st century. Nassau County, working with Suffolk County and Queens, needs to create a 20-year plan -- in some ways, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did in bidding on the 2012 Olympics. Although that bid fell through, he at least had a blueprint and new zoning laws to transform the city.

Todd Richman, Roslyn Heights

Don't blame Charles Wang for moving his team. The Islanders deserve better. Blame Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano for not seeing what Long Islanders really deserve.

Don't despair, however. Nassau County can rent out the Coliseum for Halloween. The cobwebs are already starting to get pretty thick.

Philip A Boscia, Syosset

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and her little army of bureaucrats should all relocate to Brooklyn. We would all be better off.

Bill Bendel, Carle Place


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