Last week, following the announcement that Forest City Ratner was awarded the proposal to redo the Nassau Coliseum and surrounding area, the praise started flowing in for Ed Mangano and company and it could be seen on their faces at the press conference on Friday from the Coliseum.
Some of the praise came from quite an unlikely source in that of former senator and long time coliseum development opponent Al D'Amato through a piece in the LI Herald. If you recall, D'Amato was a staunch opponent of the Lighthouse Project because Charles Wang refused to hire his brother Armand into the Lighthouse Development Group. D'Amato starts his piece in the LI Herald off with the line "Finally, we have made progress and are closer to ending the nearly two-decade-long debate on the outdated Nassau Coliseum."
What he fails to realize that if not for him and people like him that progress would've been made long ago. Insiders have said that along with Joe Mondello the GOP head the pair quietly made sure Town of Hempstead officials didn't take kindly to the Lighthouse. Rumor was that they were afraid young democratic voters would move into the housing element of the Lighthouse which would jeopardize an arena that has been a strong hold for the GOP for a really long time. By this time, if the Lighthouse had been approved the arena would've been finished and the Islanders would be on their way to many seasons in Uniondale. Instead, the farewell party for the team is slowly starting as they prepare for their move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015.
At the end of his piece D'Amato touches on the politics by saying, "Now we must hope that the redevelopment plan receives the bipartisan support it needs instead of being the subject of political bickering, which would only hold the project back and be detrimental to its success." Well, since D'Amato has no issues with this proposal, it has certainly cleared one major hurdle on the way to success.
Don't get me wrong, I am as happy as the next guy about a proposal being chosen for the Nassau Coliseum. I'm especially happy that they made the right decision by choosing Ratner over MSG. But, what exactly is Nassau County being praised for? They have had a team in one of the four major sports call this area home for over 40 years. After sitting on their thumbs and being given ample opportunity to secure the teams future for years to come they let the team leave and hope to replace them with a minor league facility. What about that is worthy of praise?