UNIONDALE NY Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders... but for how much longer? (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Today is August 1st, 2011. It's a day that will live in infamy upon the narrow strip of land known as Long Island, New York, for the ages... At least hockey fans.
Today, Nassau County votes on funding for a new arena to replace Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, one of the oldest and smallest venues in the National Hockey League. This has been a project that Isles owner Charles Wang has attempted to undertake since 2005, and Long Island residents have been lukewarm to the idea of major development in their perpetual suburb.
The Not In My Backyard (NIMBy) sentiment regarding major development reminds me a lot of Tampa Bay, where the population is sprawled out in subdivisions and bedroom communities with a sore lack of cohesion... except in our pro sports, though our allegiances vary. The politics of a big-ticket investment riles the population up in the for-and-against factions, but it tends to come down to "What's in it for me? Will I ever use it?"
And that's the question Nassau County residents will ask themselves today before voting. It'll gauge the value to residents of past triumph and future-promise of the New York Islander organization as compared to personal financial difficulties and social hardships that come with the times.