Aw... a Long Island team owner/developer isn't getting the cooperation from Nassau County like he expected (the chick interviewed at the end of this clip should run for Queens Borough President instead)...
Sure enough, the borough that brought you Donald Manes and Bernie Madoff decided to step up to the plate...
The early plans for Willets Point area, Friedman said, include a 400,000-square foot convention center that could, if Wang wanted, be turned into a new arena to house the Islanders.
"So the footprint is already there," he said. "There's also many of the things Charles Wang wanted in his Lighthouse project - hotels, family entertainment centers, restaurants. So it would be a wonderful, wonderful area for Charles Wang to bid on and build his Lighthouse project here in Queens."
Friedman believes a potential new home for the Islanders would fit perfectly as a centerpiece in the city's plans for the Willets Point area. The project is still in the early stages; Friedman said ground-breaking probably won't take place for another four or five years.
4 or 5 years? Heh... you get the feeling that the city doesn't know what the hell it wants to do at Willets Point because no developers can afford to take on the project? Hello, recession! Let's continue to humor ourselves...
The first place to officially throw its hat into the ring is Queens. The executive vice president of the borough's Chamber of Commerce is pitching Willets Point, right next to Citi Field, as the perfect location for the Islanders.
The problem is that there's no place for them to play. Queens has big plans to develop the area. They already plan to use eminent domain and vaguely Stalinist-sounding business relocation programs to clear the land so that they can build a variety of residential, commercial and public spaces. The arena is just gilding the lily. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because of the years-long Atlantic Yards boondoggle in Brooklyn which, for all its bold plans, will either fail or wind up using government intervention to hand choice real estate to a Russian oligarch at below market value.
There are already community groups lining up against the Willets Point project, but we'll just focus on the arena part of the equation since the plan is in motion with or without the Islanders playing a role. The city does not need another arena to play host to a sports team on 40-odd dates a year. Between Madison Square Garden, the two baseball stadiums, the arena and stadium at the Meadowlands, the Prudential Arena in Newark and the proposed Brooklyn arena, there's already too much competition for the non-sporting events that can actually keep these arenas from doing more than sucking down municipal money and staying empty. And that's before taking into account the zillions of other places for concerts, special events and the like in the metropolitan area.