Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

On the passing of Islanders' owner, the genesis of Belmont (just after Barclays started) and some "ironclad" amnesia

Upon the passing of former New York Islanders owner Charles Wang yesterday, at 74, we learned a few things. Newsday's Jim Baumbach reported that Wang fought for years to keep Islanders on LI, even if it meant a Brooklyn detour, detailing not just his unsuccessful effort to win a referendum for a new arena in 2011 but the genesis of the now-planned Belmont arena:
New York Racing Association board member Michael Dubb, who partnered with Wang on a previous business deal, said he brought the idea of an Islanders arena at Belmont to Wang toward the end of 2015, around the time the Islanders were playing their first official games in Brooklyn.
“He always felt the team was a Long Island team and belonged here,” Dubb said Sunday. "Charles deserves all the credit. The Islanders don’t come back to Long Island without Charles.”
Wang was immediately intrigued with the idea, Dubb said. So on a December day they went to Belmont together in Wang’s car — Wang picked Dubb up at his office — to look around.
The Islanders were two months into the team's first season in Brooklyn at the time, but Wang wasn't deterred despite the 25-year lease deal with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
"He still felt they belonged on Long Island," Dubb said.
In other words, the move was in the works before most of the problems with the Islanders at Barclays had surfaced: the first year attendance was pretty strong, but the off-center scoreboard and limited-view seats were already obvious.

The secret three-year opt-out

From the article:
On the day Wang announced the move to Brooklyn, he called the agreement with Brooklyn "ironclad." He also said it was a “bittersweet” day for him because it signalled the end of his quest to replace Nassau Coliseum with a “beautiful” home like Barclays Center. What wasn’t revealed that day, however, was that the agreement Wang negotiated with Bruce Ratner, who controlled the Brooklyn arena at the time, included language that would allow either side to exit the deal after only a few years.
"What wasn't revealed" is a rather gentle way to say that Wang and the others involved in the deal misled the public.

Newsday editorial board member Randi Marshall, in an appreciative column headlined Charles Wang never stopped dreaming, described Wang as always arguing for his case, but also "gracious and honest, never hesitating to tell me what he thought."

Cordially laying out Wang's achievements, as well as things complicating his legacy like the Islanders' losses and an accounting scandal that plagued his firm, again omitted is that three-year opt-out.

They could've been a little tougher, as in the past.

Comments