TODAY'S PAPER
53° Good Evening
53° Good Evening
Opinion

Horse race

An artist's rendering imagines what buildings and streets

An artist's rendering imagines what buildings and streets could look like if the area around the Nassau Coliseum were developed as an innovation district. Credit: Long Island Index

Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!

Daily Point

Dubb’s races on and off the track

Already a big winner in his latest development project in Plainview, Michael Dubb will look for the same success in Kentucky on Friday when his horse, 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl, goes off as the 2-1 morning line favorite at Churchill Downs.

But Dubb is as careful with his horse’s “favorite” tag in Kentucky as he is with community activists, health departments and zoning boards on Long Island.

Dubb’s latest project, Country Pointe at Plainview, includes retail shops and 750 apartments and town houses, and they're selling as fast as Dubb can offer them.

“People are just moving in now, but this has been six years of meeting with every imaginable stakeholder and addressing every potential concern before we moved forward, and before we had problems,” Dubb said.

“And I think that approach is the only way to operate successfully,” he said about community acceptance, the Holy Grail for Long Island developers.

As for Monomoy Girl, Dubb is cautiously optimistic. The filly has won five of her six races lifetime, but drew the 14 post, a difficult spot all the way on the outside for a horse that always tries to run from the lead. That, plus the fact that he has saddled the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks on three occasions and never won.

“There’s always a little pressure being the favorite, but we either have a killer horse or we don’t, and we’ll find out this afternoon,” he said.

Speaking of racing and dashed hopes rekindled, Dubb is also on the board of the New York Racing Association and is closely associated with efforts to reinvigorate Belmont Park in combination with the $1 billion plan to construct an arena for the New York Islanders, along with a hotel, retail businesses and additional train service. The process of redeveloping Belmont has endured fits and starts for years, but now seems to be moving.

“I think it can be very complementary,” Dubb said of the state’s plan. “Belmont is an extremely underutilized 400 acres. Adding retail and a hotel, the arena, the crowds, can help a lot. That goes hand in hand with an experience, like Gulfstream in Florida or Yankee Stadium and Citi Field here, that attracts and entertains and feeds people in a very different way than old-style racetracks did.”

Will Dubb’s patience will pay off at Churchill Downs — and at Belmont, too?

Lane Filler

Pointing Out

Captain Cuomo

Call him the admiral.

At a morning news conference Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo again asked the Trump administration to exclude New York from the Interior Department’s plans to allow drilling for oil and gas in North Atlantic waters. He also unveiled a proposed state law that would prohibit the federal government from issuing leases for fossil fuel exploration along the state’s coastline.

And he reinforced his threat of a lawsuit with a classic Cuomo bit:

“The federal government should hear my message. There is no how, no way we will ever allow offshore drilling. We’re going to advocate, we’ll pass the law, we’ll go to court.

“If that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a page out of the book of Winston Churchill and Dunkirk. What Winston Churchill did — they were all alone, England, they were isolated. Their 300,000 troops stranded on the French shoreline. The navy of the English fleet was down. He charged citizens with pleasure crafts to go across the English Channel and rescue the 300,000 stranded soldiers. Eight hundred citizen craft went across the English Channel and rescued 300,000 of the English soldiers.”

Well, did Cuomo — who has put money where his mouth is when it comes to funding for Long Island water quality — really mean it? Chief of staff Melissa DeRosa tweeted, “not kidding.”

So exactly how would the governor take to the waves with a makeshift flotilla?

Perhaps, the 57-foot yacht of his BFF Billy Joel named the Vendetta? That fits the M.O. Since Joel owns a boat building operation in Sag Harbor, he could actually outfit the entire navy.

What about brother Chris Cuomo’s center-console fishing boat that the two pilot out of the Hamptons?

We asked the press office exactly how the governor would lead the charge.

“Really?” we were asked.

Yes, really.

As The Point badgered away, we finally got some answers.

Since the governor often jokes that his brother’s boat is too small, it wouldn’t be that one. And it turns out the governor has an outboard cruiser pleasure craft docked on Long Island.

But Greenpeace-like activism would seem to defeat Cuomo’s reason for taking to the sea.

In 2016, Beach magazine published a Q&A in which Cuomo interviewed Joel.

Cuomo: “Why do you find spending time on your boat so enjoyable?”

Joel: “I find that when I am on my boat I am — I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m just another schmuck with a boat out on the water. There is nothing particularly ‘celebrity’ about it; I become somewhat anonymous, and I find that it’s basically me and the elements, which I quite enjoy.”

Cuomo: “I understand what you mean — it is nice to be anonymous once and a while. My boat does the same for me.”

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Three weeks to Hub answers

Over the years, the Nassau Hub has seen its share of deadlines come — and go.

The latest deadline is May 21.

That’s the expiration date for the current lease on the land around Nassau Coliseum, one that’s already been extended numerous times. Its future is unclear.

In part, that’s because the players have changed. There’s a new county executive, who wasn’t involved when the original lease was signed in 2013. And the county’s tenant is officially still Nassau Events Center Plaza, an entity originally headed by developer Bruce Ratner. But Ratner is no longer involved, and an out-of-court settlement gives developer Ed Blumenfeld the right to propose development for the site.

Nassau County officials say there are four possible outcomes, some more likely than others:

1. Nassau could let the lease expire. That’s a decision County Executive Laura Curran has sole authority to make.

2. Nassau could assign the lease to Blumenfeld officially and renegotiate its terms. That lease would require legislative approval.

3. Nassau could extend the lease yet again. County officials said it would be more likely if something substantial changes before May 21, such as a new biotechnology employer approaching Nassau; that would require officials to delay a decision or revisit their options.

4. The lease could expire, but Blumenfeld would still have a 30-day window in which to start construction. This is the least likely scenario, since there’s really no way Blumenfeld could put a shovel in the ground by June.

Blumenfeld presented his plan for the Hub to the county legislature Wednesday night, but officials made it clear that all options are on the table — not just Blumenfeld’s plan.

Evelyn Tsimis, deputy county executive for economic development, told the legislature that the county is trying to “take a pause.”

“It is sort of like a yellow, and then we’re hoping to go to green very quickly at the light,” Tsimis said. “This is not a red stop. We absolutely want to move.”

The light could change, it seems, within the next three weeks.

Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

Climbing

More Matt Bodkin cartoons

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Columns