Islanders owner says Belmont arena would need full-time train service, gives no price tag

New York Islanders co-owner Jonathan Ledecky and his would-be development partner Peter Luukko of Oak View Group have revealed exactly where their planned new arena next to Belmont Park racetrack would be, and it’s … next to Belmont Park racetrack, does anyone really care exactly which parcel it is?

More interesting is this:

A full-time LIRR stop at Belmont would be necessary to meet the number of people who would be coming regularly to the arena, Luukko said. Currently, the Belmont LIRR station is used only when horse racing is taking place…

Ledecky said he isn’t concerned about the LIRR’s ability to accommodate such a plan, saying it has been amenable to adding extra trains after games at Barclays Center in response to the crush of people leaving Islanders games at the same time. He also noted how ridership increases on game nights…

LIRR and MTA officials have said as recently as last spring there were no plans to add full service to Belmont.

So, should the cost of adding full-time rail service to a new stadium be counted as a public subsidy? On the one hand, running trains for the public to get where they need to go is exactly what the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is set up to do, and presumably any development on the Belmont site would require increased service. On the other, it’s going to be at least a little bit galling to city transit riders putting up with abysmal service if the Islanders get to jump the line for new expenses just because they want to move from a place that already has tons of public transit to a place that doesn’t.

We’re still really early in the negotiating process, and of course we still have no clue what the financial details of the arena plan will be. This whole train cost thing is something to keep an eye on, though, once we have enough info to start building a cost-benefit spreadsheet.


16 comments on “Islanders owner says Belmont arena would need full-time train service, gives no price tag

  1. Long time Islander dan herebut screw this management and what they want. Until these asses commit to a winning team I wouldn’t give them rink time at the local high school rink. Go play on a frozen pond you bumbs.

  2. Is there any reason the as-needed service couldn’t just be expanded to be when horse racing OR hockey were taking place? Why would it immediately have to jump to being full-time when there would be full weeks in-season when the Islanders weren’t playing at home plus a huge offseason with no games at all?

    • Concerts, supposedly. America’s music stars better be taking their vitamins, because New York is going to have an awful lot of dates to fill.

    • Is Belmont likely to be a concert destination though?

      I know it’s a different area, but NY/NJ has already had one arena close because of ‘lack of events’… so adding another new one would seem to put the proposed Belmont arena at the bottom of the heap.

      Is there any upside to putting an arena there that would draw attractions away from the other venues?

      • It could draw some, yeah. I’ve gone to a few concerts at Nassau Coliseum in my day, and Belmont is way easier to get to from the city than that.

        If anything, I think this would potentiallyput the Coliseum in deep, deep trouble as the odd arena out. Not that Ledecky and OVG care about that.

        • NVMC renovation was a joke, making it a minor league facility. Big acts will stay away. Minor leagues draw nothing there (ever see attendance at LI Nets games) Belmont arena would put LI back into the big leagues, big acts.

    • Perhaps someone knows more than me but doesn’t the train service to Belmont runs only from the city? Much of the dwindled Islander fan base is east in Nassau and Suffolk county.

      Belmont also has plenty of parking space for those types who like tailgating and take up three spaces doing so.

      But I wonder about their clams of getting other events. Right now they are ridiculing the rebuilt-but-mostly-unimproved Nassau Coliseum for not having enough events. Will they be able to outbid other arenas for the inevitable Spinal Tap “Give me your money farewell tour IV”?

      • I believe that’s correct about trains only running from the city. But Belmont is far enough out that a lot of fans on the island would probably drive; if they’re going on the way back from work and commute via train, I guess they’d park-and-ride in the morning?

        There’s a lot that will only make sense when and if we see the actual proposal.

  3. What?

    Bettman: Professional sports teams can revitalize a city

  4. Have they asked for OTB in the arena? Might as well generate a little parimutuel income between periods.

  5. Don’t think RiHanna (or insert your favorite “artist”) would play NJ, MSG, Barclay’s, and Belmont in a tour….Probably a multi-night home stand at one venue. I would think a cow palace in Belmont better be pretty fancy digs if she’s going to commute from the Waldorf-Astoria hotel every night instead of hoping in a limo to MSG.

    • The Prudential Center in Newark has done okay for concerts, and it’s not much closer to Manhattan in terms of travel time than Belmont. I think artists will play wherever their tour managers get the best deal, but that doesn’t bode well for five arenas surviving when they’re having to outbid each other for talent.

      • Coliseum has zero major league events
        -move Isles to Belmont and Barclays would have 40+ dates (Nets)
        -Prudential-40+ dates
        Only MSG would have more