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UBS Arena does not have enough accessible parking, complaint says

Charles Razenson, 68, of Hicksville, the Islanders season

Charles Razenson, 68, of Hicksville, the Islanders season ticket holder who filed the complaint, stands outside UBS Arena on Wednesday in Elmont.  Credit: Howard Schnapp

An Islanders season ticket holder has filed a complaint with state authorities saying that the new UBS Arena in Elmont does not provide enough accessible parking, while Islanders officials said they plan to release full plans before the arena opens next week.

Charles Razenson, 68, of Hicksville, said both he and his wife have disabilities stemming from a car wreck and were told they would have to park at the emerald parking lot, nearly a mile away from the arena on the opposite end of the Belmont racetrack, and then take a shuttle to the arena.

He was told during the tour of the arena for season ticket holders last month that the premiere diamond lots at the front of the arena were reserved for suite ticket holders. There's a very limited number of accessible spots in those lots, he said.

He filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights and Nassau County Consumer Affairs on Tuesday. He announced the complaint Wednesday at his attorney Kenneth Mollins' office in Hauppauge.

"The appropriate parking was not there," Razenson said. "I asked at that point, 'Where are we going to park?' They said there will be trams to take you to the appropriate spot. I said, 'That’s not what the law says.' This is a big inconvenience."

A spokesman for the Islanders and UBS Arena said any plans for parking were preliminary before the arena is set to open Nov. 20 for the Islanders' first home game.

"The Islanders and UBS Arena take ADA and accessibility very seriously. We will share a detailed ADA plan in advance of our grand opening next weekend," a spokesman for the arena and the Islanders said.

That plan will detail the number of accessible spots at the arena, he added.

Representatives of the state Division of Human Rights and Nassau County did not immediately return requests for comment.

Advocates said the Americans with Disabilities Act is clear that parking must be provided at the closest entrances.

Jimmy Gorman, 57, of Levittown, who has a disability, said he is waiting to buy his season pass for the lots until he hears the plans for accessible parking.

"I’m waiting for them to tell me what they’re going to do. I have to walk a far distance or wait for a tram. It shouldn’t be the rich people parking around the building and putting us disabled people in the back lots," Gorman said.

Chris Rosa, the incoming CEO of the Alberston-based Viscardi Center to empower people with disabilities, said not yet releasing the plan for accessibility was "a missed opportunity."

"Releasing an ADA plan earlier would have signaled to the fan base and guests that, as we launch this new chapter in Islanders history and open this state-of-the-art venue on Long Island, the access needs for people with disabilities are top-of-mind," Rosa said.

Therese Brzezinski, director of planning and public policy with the Long Island Center of Independent Living in Levittown, said people with disabilities should not be treated differently than the general public.

"It should raise a red flag if there is parking provided for the general public and not the disabled parking for the nearest accessible route to the entrances," she said. "Disabled parking should be provided at the front of the building."

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