Randi F. Marshall’s column is well written, but I believe building an arena for the New York Islanders at Belmont Park would be a mistake — or Brooklyn Part II [“Without Belmont, goodbye Isles,” Opinion, Feb. 22].
Yes, the Nassau Coliseum, as it is, is not an NHL-caliber arena, but as they say in real estate, location, location, location. I am a fan since the days when the Long Island Ducks hockey team played in the original barn, the Long Island Arena in Commack.
What bothers Long Island fans the most is the trek to Brooklyn, not Barclays Center itself. Most Islanders fans are from Nassau and Suffolk counties. We drive to get around. To drive to Belmont via the Cross Island parking lot — uh, Parkway — would be a nightmare on game days. And taking the train is less comfortable and less convenient than driving. That’s the problem with Brooklyn!
Update the Coliseum or follow Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s plan for an arena in Ronkonkoma. Those are the best options for Islanders fans.
Former Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray is running for town clerk [“GOP tabs candidates for Hempstead posts,” News, Feb. 20].
There’s lots of irony here. After Murray and town officials denied the Islanders’ plan to improve the Coliseum and build around it, the team survived being run out of town to Brooklyn. Now that the team is playing part time at the old arena, there are sellouts nearly every game.
Musings on LIRR rider misbehavior
The Feb. 18 news story “Bad behavior and the ‘share’ option,” about the Long Island Rail Road, rang my bell.
Stop focusing on rider behavior. I am offended! I ride the train perhaps once a month from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station. Seats are too small to be comfortable, fares are too high when you compare shared costs in carpooling, and service needs expansion, such as the Mastic train, which needs to run more frequently.
In addition, parking can be difficult. For example, my wife and I tried to park at the Ronkonkoma station around 11 a.m. on Feb. 13, but the garage was full and one lot was closed, so we drove to the city instead.
As for your list of misbehaviors, LIRR conditions bring out the “bad” in riders. Focus instead on LIRR administration (and Amtrak management of Penn Station), which is not in touch with reality.
This is what happens when there is a monopoly for a service or product, private or public. The LIRR and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have shown for years that they are incapable of sustaining affordable quality rail service in a high-demand area. Competition might alleviate this. They should consider leasing out rail lines and stations to a few private companies willing to invest in and deliver service. Utility companies lease out infrastructure. Why not the MTA and LIRR?
The MTA says higher fares are needed because of “unprecedented levels of investment in the system” and rising labor costs [“Twice as much to ride LIRR,” News, Feb. 11]. But this obscures the most basic issue: inefficient ticket collection. The LIRR says it loses $20 million a year in uncollected fares — and the figure might be much higher. As a commuter, I’m astounded by how often tickets are uncollected. Before fares go up, the LIRR should grab the low-hanging fruit. Here are two solutions:
- Modernize stations so riders board trains only after activating a ticket, as the subway does. This would reduce missed fares while jolting revenue. Conductors could monitor platforms for abuse.
- Or tie conductor pay to ticket collection. Create standards for each branch so inefficiencies are identified quickly, with minimum standards for ticket collection on each train (considering variables such as weather). Performance failures could affect conductor pay.
Trump’s firing of Comey still at issue
I must object to a letter that defended President Donald Trump for firing FBI Director Jim Comey [“Wrong to probe Trump after Comey firing,” Feb. 21]. The reader says Trump has the constitutional right to fire Comey. But the president told NBC’s Lester Holt that, regardless of an FBI probe into the Trump campaign and Russia, he fired Comey because “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story; it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” He did not win the election “fair and square,” as the reader claims. Russia helped.
This president has ignored the Constitution like no other. He has declared a national emergency where there is none to satisfy his ego and placate followers. He has denigrated institutions, including the FBI and CIA, that keep this country safe. He has praised despots like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and defended Saudi Arabia after it killed a journalist. He has disparaged war heroes who have been captured and equated white nationalists with patriotic Americans.
This president is following the lead of his dictatorial friends. I believe he wants to turn our country into an authoritarian state to further enrich him and his friends.