Skip to main content

Nassau Coliseum redevelopment and relationship with Ratner a flash point in tight race for county executive

Tom Suozzi, Democratic candidate for Nassau County executive, was on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show yesterday, and took the opportunity to slam incumbent Ed Mangano's record regarding the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum.

It suggested that, should Suozzi win, he'd have a more tense relationship with developer Forest City Ratner, already selected to rework the arena, but may be unable to re-open the deal.

"We haven't had success here," asserted Suozzi, who formerly held the job. "The Coliseum project he's proposed--it's just to build a smaller Coliseum than we have now, and leave 77 acres of parking."

As Newsday reported, Suozzi had proposed a 77-acre project years ago, but the Town of Hempstead opposed it, and separately county voters shot down a referendum for a new Coliseum.

"Are you critical of smaller Nassau Coliseum," asked Lehrer. "Is the current size sustainable?"

"I'm critical of the fact that he went to Mr. [Bruce]  Ratner, who built the Barclays Center and stole the Islanders from Nassau County and said to him, What do you think?" Suozzi continued. "He said, Well, you should make it smaller. Could it be that he doesn't want to compete against a nearby facility?"

Or, perhaps, Ratner recognized that the arena would have to be a destination for concerts, not major league sports.

The D'Amato connection?

"He put it out to bid and he gave it to Ratner," Suozzi continued. "The fact that's he's represented by [Republican] Sen. Alfonse D'Amato may be just a coincidence

Newsday reported 10/29/13:
D'Amato, who attended the debate, said Suozzi misrepresented his role in the process. D'Amato said he helped arrange meetings between the developer and members of the county Legislature only after Nassau awarded Mangano [sic; actually Ratner] the contract.
Suozzi continued, "He now has control of both the Islanders in Brooklyn and the Nassau Coliseum. If he wants both facilities to succeed, as he says he does, then why not bring the Islanders back to Nassau County?"

Maybe because the Brooklyn arena has luxury suites and the other main revenue stream is a television contract.

Islanders in Brooklyn

Lehrer pointed out that the Islander would play six games at the Coliseum.

"That's been a pledge by Ratner and Mangano that has to be approved by the NHL, I can't imagine the Rangers going along with that. And all of this stuff is still just a promise," Suozzi continued. "They don't have financing in place. We've seen Mr. Ratner promise things in the past and not deliver them in totality. Listen, I'll work with Ratner, I want to get something done here, but it's got to be much more ambitious.. it should be the main destination point... we're entitled to a world-class facility and a world-class operation out here."

Mangano on the radio

When Mangano was on the air, he was asked about the chorus of endorsements for Suozzi.

"Newsday's conflicted," Mangano said of the endorsement. "First of all, they're [owner Cablevision and associates] bankrolling his campaign with a $275,000 contribution. They failed to say that, when the taxpayers fired Tom Suozzi  they hired Tom Suozzi [to work on a high school channel, MSG Varsity]."

"The biggest joke, he's running around criticizing Ratner, while I achieved a 100% privately financed Coliseum, they [rival MSG]  lost," Mangano said. "His former employer lost, they had the worst economic deal for the taxpayers... They're very bitter, because they lost the bid to Ratner, who is producing a world-class Coliseum here, an iconic coliseum, and an entertainment district."

Lehrer noted that Suozzi asked why contract with Ratner after he took the Islanders to Brooklyn?

"Because Tom Suozzi's employer was trying to give the taxpayers a raw deal," Mangano said. "Ratner had the best economic deal.. this is the best public-private partnership in the nation... $4.4 million guaranteed," while MSG merely wanted to add a surcharge to tickets.


Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in January 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.

As …

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).


Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…