7:05 pm: The majority of seats in the 100 level of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and the mechanism that enables the sections to slide in and out based on the event, are a disaster. Hundreds of seats are damaged, broken beyond repair and unsafe.
The roof of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which has been patched up with temporary sealants and tape since before Ziggy Palffy came to play, has a whole new batch of leaks. As a result, seating areas and aisles continue to be dangerous.
The refrigeration system that creates the playing surface for New York Islanders hockey games at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is barely functional, and can break down on any given day. According to a league source, the Coliseum ice was rated by NHL players the last two seasons among the three worst – despite the Islanders recently spending more than $500,000 in repairs. Not good for player safety.
There are other problems, too, which is why the Islanders submitted a request last month to Nassau County for $4 million. On Monday, the Rules Committee of the Nassau County Legislature will review a Capital Projects amendment for “emergency repairs” to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Since the Coliseum is County-owned, this is how the process works under the team’s lease and has for decades. When the Islanders require areas of the building to be fixed or replaced, the team must notify the County and submit a document. The County then reviews the request and pays for what it approves or – in these bankruptcy days for Nassau – puts off what it can. It should also be noted that Islanders owner Charles Wang on several occasions over the last decade has spent his own money on repairs and improvements to the Coliseum.
The timing of the Islanders’ request, of course, is somewhat controversial. Exactly three weeks before the Aug. 1 public referendum for $350 million for a new Coliseum, the Islanders are asking the fiscally-devastated county for $4 million in repairs. Do the Islanders and the legislators need this distraction? Should the Islanders really be asking for $4 million from the County right now? Surely, the club has considered the ramifications.
Then again, maybe the Islanders are trying to make a few points:
- The Coliseum is a hellhole.
- The Coliseum is unsafe for visitors, employees, athletes and performers.
- The team has no guarantee of ever getting approval on a new arena in Nassau, so it must operate on a business-as-usual basis.
- And oh, by the way – no matter what happens with the referendum and the on-going attempts to finalize a deal for a new arena in Nassau – the Islanders will be playing at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the next four NHL seasons.
Not counting concerts, family shows and other events, that’s at least 164 times citizens will be coming to the final days of the Coliseum.
The Legislature’s Rules Committee could vote to approve the $4 million request for repairs on Monday, or put it off for another day.
This story was first reported by Point Blank via Twitter on Friday.
A Note to Point Blank Readers: With the whirlwind of the NHL Draft and unrestricted free agency period largely over, and with our editorial staff working on other media and PR projects, Point Blank will be primarily focused for the rest of this month on the Islanders’ battle for a new arena. Since the site is not credentialed by the team, you’ll want to regularly check Katie Strang’s blog, the official site and the Blog Boxers for coverage this week of Islanders prospect camp and talk about it at Islandermania or your message board of choice.
Certainly nothing is more important right now than the Islanders’ fight for survival in Nassau County, and Point Blank continues to be committed to bringing exclusives, SNY interviews, updates and columns on the Coliseum issue all the way through the vital Aug. 1 referendum. Of course, if the Islanders make a roster move, we will do our best to provide a timely update and opinion.
Thank you so much for your continued support of Point Blank for almost three years. Incredibly – and this says everything about the underrated and misunderstood passions that run throughout Islanders Country – PB readership is at an all-time high in 2011. As always, if there is ever anything you’d like to discuss or share offline, please email me at email@example.com. I hope you are enjoying a fun and safe summer with your families…CB