The LIRR's Atlantic Terminal, which sits across from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was packed as Islanders fans arrived to see the first hockey game at the new arena between their team and the Devils. The atmosphere in the building with 14,689 in attendance was more electric than the usual preseason game.
"This is exciting because it's definitely history in the making," said Michael Gordon of Valley Stream. "But I'm still disappointed that they're going to be leaving. I'm excited that we still have two more years left."
The preseason game against the Devils was the beginning of the journey that will take the Islanders from Nassau Coliseum -- the team's home throughout its history -- to its new home in Brooklyn starting in 2015.
East Meadow resident Brian Herring lives only 10 minutes from the Coliseum, but he is thrilled to see the Islanders getting a new home. "Having visitors come to the Coliseum and make fun of it is kind of embarrassing," he said.
Gordon, who attended the game with his family, already had attended an event at Barclays Center and was impressed with what he saw.
"You can't compare it [to the Coliseum] because it's a brand-new building, but when we came here, it was great," he said.
The downside for fans who have stuck with the Islanders through the tough times after the team's four consecutive Stanley Cups in the '80s? It's leaving behind the memories.
"The Coliseum still has its history and its charm, and it always will for me because I grew up with the Islanders," Gordon said.
Jeremy Pinquist of Valley Stream had a similar outlook. "I think it's terrible [they are leaving], but this is the best alternative," he said. "It still would have been better if they stuck around."
Despite that, Pinquist said he lives within walking distance of an LIRR train station and works in the city during the season, meaning the commute to Brooklyn is not difficult.
"So far, so good," said Peter Kefalas of Hicksville. "There's a lot more room to walk and you don't have to wait as long [for the bathroom]. It's a much better arena -- outside and inside."
"I was there when they won the last Stanley Cup," Gordon said. "That was great, just being part of Stanley Cup history. We're really hoping the team is going to go out with a bang in the next two years."