Brooklyn 2015, In Your Words

The following is a collection of unedited feedback we received from Islander Country following Wednesday’s announcement. We weren’t able to include everyone who wrote in but thank you to all who submitted your story.

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Today is a day filled with mixed emotions.  While our loyal fan base will always remember that Nassau Coliseum was our home for over 40 years, we all know that the building has come to serve as a microcosm of Nassau County’s political, provincial, and short-sighted agenda.  Beginning in the 2015-16 season, players, fans, and management will no longer be ridiculed that their arena should be called the “Mausoleum.”  There will be no more cloud of uncertainty as to “Where will we play?”, no more Coliseum invasions by jilted Quebec Nordiques’ fans, and no more concerns that our future is in the hands of NIFA, Kate Murray, Wayne Wink, and others.  I will not miss the facilities at the Coliseum, nor should anyone.  I will, however, miss the convenience of the short car ride to Uniondale and back, the car horns honking the “Let’s Go Islanders!” chant, and the passion and roar of the crowd during those fleeting moments of success over the past 20 years.  This is a new start.  It is a new opportunity.  Today, we continue to keep the Drive for Five Alive.  Here’s to the future success of the Islanders.  Your resilient fans are behind you.

- Jacob R.

I have mixed opinions. On one point ill miss the 5 minute commute to a game. On the other hand I’m happy the arena situation is done with and I can go back to enjoying the Islanders knowing they will be staying in New York. There is no excuse for not bringing in free agents and spending above the floor. We have the building blocks to be succesful again and now the arena will not be an excuse anymore.

- Brett C.

As a Suffolk County resident, it will undoubtedly be a touch less convenient to attend games. Instead of a 35-40 minute car ride, it’s an hour plus investment via the LIRR. But you know where it would have bee a lot more inconvenient to get to games? Quebec. Or Seattle. Or Kansas City.

I’ve seen some members of the media presenting this as a Nassau vs. Brooklyn thing. Sophisticated fans know that’s a false choice. It was never between Nassau and Brooklyn. It was always Brooklyn or bust, and bust was an out-of-state relocation.
So to know that I will be able to raise my kids on New York Islanders hockey for at least the next 28 years? That’s priceless to me. And the knowledge that this franchise will now benefit from the full exposure of the New York City market, play in a state-of-the-art facility, and become infinitely more attractive to impending free agents? Well, that’s all the better.
I truly believe this will be a day we’ll all remember as we watch JT hoist the Cup over his head on a float going down Atlantic Avenue.
- Brian E.

I could not be happier with this move. As an Islanders fan who has since moved from NY, it will be great to be able to get back to Brooklyn to see the Islanders in a state of the art building and I have no doubt that the residents of Brooklyn will embrace this team. I could not be happier for my father, who was lucky enough to have experienced the dynasty years. I cannot imagine what he would have done if the Islanders have left New York. Is this situation perfect? No, but it is far better than our current situation and infinately better then KC, Quebec etc…Thank you Charles Wang and GO ISLANDERS!

- Jonathan M.

Huge fan of the blog since the Botta days.  Love what you’re doing over there.  I’m 24… been watching the Isles since I was 2.  I live in Suffolk.  It’s a sad day that they are moving for sure, but for the first time in a long time, they finally have some clarity and direction with the future base of the franchise, and that excites me the most.  No more having to hear rumors of them leaving the area and going to Canada, or KC or Seattle.  Now they have a sticking point and a sales pitch.  They move to a great arena, and bring a whole new sector of fanbase into the equation, and they become a hugely attractive place to play for players around the league.  I think the positives of the move for the future stability of the organization out-way the negatives.  Thanks for letting me give my input, and Go Isles!

- James H.

I don’t know how to feel. As a 19 year old, I have no memories from the 80s or 90s but of the 2000s. The Coliseum was old and decrepit but loud and beautiful. I could sit in 315 or 112 and enjoy the same high quality views, sometimes 315 was better for the experience. But the writing was on the wall and it’s better Brooklyn than anywhere else so credit goes to Wang. I will miss the Old Barn as much as anyone but I look forward to a fresh start in the best arena in the city. 

PS Memo to Markowitz- “The Stanley Cup is not in New York. It’s on Long Island”-Billy Smith
- Christian A.
I have mixed emotions about the move but at the end of the day it is really exciting. I currently live in Nassau but will be moving to Western Suffolk so the commute will not be ideal, but you can’t commute at all to Kansas City, Seattle or Quebec. I think the players and us fans deserve better and now we are going to get it. While not in our backyards anymore they will still be the New York Islanders and I will continue to cheer for this team until the day I die.
- Daniel L.

As a resident of Nassau County, I am upset about the hole this will blow in the Nassau County’s tax revenue. I wonder what fees County Executive Mangano will raise (if he is still in office) so he can continue to say that he did not raise property taxes?

As an Islanders fan, I am sad that they are leaving their historical home. I have had half or full season tickets for the last 5 years. There is no way I will continue to do that when they are in Brooklyn. It will be a weekend plan at best starting in 2015-2016. Though, it will be nice to go to a building that is not as old as I am.

- Brian from Massapequa

As a former resident of Nassau County who grew up 15 minutes from the Coliseum during the glory years I admit there there is a part of me that is sorry to see the Isles leave.  For my generation they helped to forge an identity for Long Island when they won the cups.  However given the franchise’s trajectory and the inept/corrupt political scene on Long Island (and Hempstead in particular), the move to Brooklyn is the best thing that could happen to the Isles.  The team moves into first class facilities, the potential fanbase goes up astronomically, and they become a magnet for free agents with their solid core of young talent.  I no longer live in the area so I won’t comment on getting to the arena, but it’s always more exciting to watch a game with people actually in the seats.  

Thanks to Charles Wang for putting up with the mess he bought into, and for keeping the team in the area.  Now its time to build a team that contends for the cup on an annual basis, and makes the Rag$ look like the pathetic franchise that they truly are.
- Tim from St. Paul, MN
I’m thrilled! As a longtime season ticketholder who has been schlepping from Brooklyn on the LIRR for years, This is great pwrsonally. But more importantly, it’s a great move for the team.  It keeps the team on Long Island – remember that Brooklyn and Queens are part of Long Island.
- Faye from Brooklyn

As a lifelong fan who grew up in Bethpage off of Hemp. Tpke, played travel hockey and even got to play a few HS games at the Coliseum and who currently lives in Manhattan I could not be happier about this move.

It is sad that it is now official that Nassau will never be home to the Isles again but we knew that the dream was dead when the referendum failed. This is the only way the Isles would stay in the area and hey we still get to say we’re on Long Island.

Living and working in Manhattan I only got to 3-5 games a year, now I plan on buying season tickets so this is nothing but the best outcome for me personally.Big Picture this is will make the Isles relevant again, with the cache that comes from playing in Brooklyn, the prospects of young talented Isles team in a sparkling new arena, I mean the sky is the limit to how far this will take them in terms of new fans an being recognized as a true NY team.

I am sad the coliseum will be torn down and Kate Murray will look to build a Target and maybe the Source II and the loss this will all have on the local economy, but Nassau has no one else to blame than themselves.

Wang is no angel but I thank him for keeping the NY ISLANDERS alive and well!!

- Mike C.
Had season tix personally over a decade, old man had them before me since the mid ’70′s.  Ecstatic the team is staying in NY, hate losing the island/suburb identity.  Hate becoming the big money corporate sports entity even though we all know its the only way the team survives.  Hate even more that I must give up my tix, moreso for my kids who have become big fans over the last 5 or so years.  I hate that when I was 12 I was celebrating a cup win on Hempstead tpke., and my son at 12 will be watching as the old barn is falling apart, knowing that there are only 3 yrs left til “our” team becomes less personal.  What was a 4 1/2 hour night coming from suffolk just turned into a 7 hour night, and we all know prices are going up, let alone the train costs.  Good for team, crappy for those of us who have stuck with it for so long will no longer be able to attend.
- J.C.

As a former season ticket holder (from New Jersey) and Islander fan since 1975, this is a great move.  But I’m being selfish.  The presence of mass transit makes this a great buy, especially during the week and most especially if you work in Manhattan. 

Let me take this opportunity to address how and why (in my opinion) the Islanders’ attendance has eroded over the last 25 years. It’s not just the mediocre or bad teams. It’s the move from 8:00pm weeknight starts to 7:00.  Commentators forget how many Islanders’ fans work in “the city” and must contend with the LIE going eastbound at rush hour.  I remember seeing fans routinely arrive at weeknight games during the second period!  Prior management played to its “fan base” and I guess that works…if you work in Jericho and live in Merrick. Many other longtime fans felt the inconvenience, and guess what? Over the years, they stayed away. They’ve had no shortage of reasons.

The move to Brooklyn will immediately make the Islanders “major league” in the eyes of the overall metropolitan area media, in the exact same way the Nets’ move to Brooklyn and even the Devils’ move to Newark changed how they were perceived almost from the date their moves were announced.  The Islanders are not covered by any of the big three city dailies, and in a move reminiscent of minor-league teams, rely on a college radio station for their game broadcasts. They will get more fans, more advertisers, more sponsors, and they will sign up quickly in advance of the actual move.  It’s a win-win for the franchise, the NHL and for fans living west of the Queens/Nassau border.

On the other hand, Suffolk County fans will essentially lose their team.  This is a 30-to-45-minute move west, even in the best of circumstances.  For them, this will be almost as bad as the Jets moving from Shea Stadium to Giants Stadium.

Now, if we can only get a real coach…

- Eric D.
It’s a bittersweet feeling; 20% bitter, 80% sweet. The Islanders I know are Long Island’s team. They play, not necessarily at the Coliseum, but in the heart of Long Island. As a fan since 1992, when I was 7-years-old, their woes have helped ingrain the Islanders, in my mind, as our little secret. Hockey fans, as a whole, are a bit of a secret society in the States. The Islanders, due in part to their storied history, their arena, their woes, and their geography gave Long Islanders an underdog status the face of bigger, more popular destinations and teams in the area. It’s an underdog status that helps build an identity, and our identity as Long Islanders included the New York Islanders. It remains to be seen how much of that will be lost. Still it is bitter to hear Mayor Bloomberg speak of a celebration down the Canyon of Heroes and not Hempstead Turnpike. It’s bitter to hear Marty Markowitz speak of the Islanders as if they are Brooklyn’s own  as if it were an expansion team. Brooklyn may be only twenty or so miles away geographically, but our New York Islanders are now lightyears closer to the heartbeat of the world. Our secret… it’s out.
 

Yet it’s sweet, so sweet, to hear of talk of a celebration in New York at all. And it’s wonderful to hear about how the impact of more fans, more corporate sponsorships and above all, certainty will positively impact this franchise. It is sweet to know that positive impact will be effected close to its original home. It’s easy for people to get bogged down in fantasy, such as plight to keep the team in Nassau County or relocate to a barren Suffolk. As Islander fans, as Long Islanders, reality has become all too real a spectre in the last 10 years, a negative reality.  This new reality, one of a propsperous and certain future for our beloved team, and for it to remain ours, is the best news we could have hoped for.

- Josh J.

Good for Wang and the organization, the Nassau County is a mismanaged entity and has zero business sense. Glad I left that hole 13 years ago. Great people, disgusting politicians. Hope the taxpayers enjoy their Molly Hatchett and Zebra concerts.

- Tom

 

I have some conflicting feelings about the Islanders move to Brooklyn.

On the one hand, I’m thrilled/relieved that the team has finally extricated itself from “The Old Barn”, an arena everyone loathed and the owner couldn’t make any money from.  Charles Wang has (presumably) moved himself into a situation where he can actually turn a profit from hockey operation, a propsect that should encourage him to invest more money into his team.  That’s the Islanders fans’ hope: with a new home, Charles Wang opens his wallet once again and lets Garth Snow sign some premier free agents.  From a competitive standpoint, the Islanders’ future appears brighter than it’s been in years (maybe even decades).

At the same time, though, I must confess to being dejected over the fact that Long Island is losing its only professional sports team.  I grew up on Long Island.  I have spent nearly all of my 43 years living on Long Island.  I plan on dying on Long Island.  The fact that the Islanders’ address will soon have a New York City zip code depresses me.  So much more so because I won’t be able to remain a full season ticket holder.  I live east of Port Jefferson.  Getting to the Nassau Coliseum was enough of a hike as it is.  To get to Brooklyn from where I live, I need to spend two hours on the Long Island Rail Road.  That makes remaining a full season ticket holder is out of the question for me.  I’ll have to look into buying a weekend game package.  It’s not the same thing as being a full season ticket holder though.  Other subscribers will know what I’m talking about when I say it’s a point of pride to have tickets to an ENTIRE season worth of games.  (And let’s not forget that Islanders season tickets are VERY affordable.  I fear how expensive they might become in Brooklyn.)

But in the end, I have to understand that Jay Jacobs and Kate Murray made it impossible for the Islanders to remain in Nassau County, and I am comforted by the fact that Charles Wang kept the team in the vicinity.  He didn’t move them to Seattle or Quebec City or Hamilton.  He kept them within a two hour train ride from my house.  I’ll manage it.  The commute will be tolerable for a winning team.

Let’s Go Islanders!

- Keith D.

I’m thrilled!  Nassau County, and Hempstead in particular no longer deserve a major league franchise. They have tried to drive the Islanders away and now they have succeeded. Kate Murray can enjoy her weed-filled lot in Uniondale while I watch the Isles on TV Like so many other things in Nassau County, I grew up there, but I left for better living and opportunities in Nevada.

I think I’m a Nets fan now!  (I’m in the Kings DMA).

- John K.

I’ve been an Islander fan all my life, and am ecstatic to learn that my nightmares of this team moving to Kansas City or Quebec City will never be realized. At the same time, I’ll be leaving for college next year, and am not effected by the team moving from a few minute drive to a marginally more expensive and lengthy time-wise train ride. I’m sadden that younger friends and family of mine won’t be able to as easily take advantage of student seating that was more than affordable to me and several friends for more than half of home games. What troubles me is the ever fleeting reasons to remain in Nassau County. Aside from my family residing here and my favorite team playing only a few minutes away, there is little reason for me to return to the Town of Hempstead. Why should I stay here when I could live in Brooklyn or even Manhattan and have quicker access to the city and just as fast (if not faster) transportation to the Barclay’s Center? I’m more than sure my parents will move out of their overly-priced neighborhood with the Islanders gone once I venture off into life. I also worry for local businesses around the Uniondale area, and how much they will suffer without generating revenue that surrounds the team. A small part of me does feel satisfied that this should lead to a slight decrease in tax revenue for the town; a last little “FU” to Kate Murray as Charles and Garth hop onto the LIRR and get as far away from her and Mangano as possible. 

- Ethan T.

For me, today can only be described as bittersweet.

Bitter because the Isles will no longer truly be Long Island’s team; bitter because it illustrates in stark relief the truly dysfunctional nature of Nassau politics; bitter because in just a few more years, the old barn where I saw my first hockey game, fell in love with the team, and got to know like the back of my hand, will see hockey no more; bitter because all of the memories made there can never truly be relocated to a new arena…

But, it is also very sweet.  Sweet because we know our beloved team will stay (somewhat) local; sweet because we will finally have a new arena; sweet because now our owner and general manager have no excuses when it comes to signing free agents (other than a general unwillingness to spend); and sweet because the years full of “what ifs?” and “what will happen?” are finally over.

But when all is said and done, all I–all anyone–should really say is this:  LET’S GO ISLANDERS!

- Chris M.

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