Less than two days after Charles Wang said he is ready to explore all his options, the executive vice president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce said Wang's search should begin in his borough.
"Option number 1 should be Queens," Jack Friedman said. "We are ready for him."
Friedman believes a potential new home for the Islanders would fit perfectly as a centerpiece in the city's plans for the Willets Point area. The project is still in the early stages; Friedman said ground-breaking probably won't take place for another four or five years.
But the Islanders' lease with Nassau County stipulates that they must play their homes games through 2015, so the team is still six seasons from a potential move, anyway.
If Wang is interested in the Willets Point area, Friedman said the first step in the process would be for him to meet with representatives of the city's Economic Development Corporation, which oversees all new development projects within the city limits.
A message left with the EDC's press office was not immediately returned, but Friedman said it's his understanding that they are "absolutely" interested in bringing Wang aboard.
Really? Well, Jack old boy, Wang would need to submit an application in response to a request for proposal. Hey - wasn't the developer supposed to be chosen by now? What happened? Things not quite going as planned? NBC is telling you it's a bad idea:
There are already community groups lining up against the Willets Point project, but we'll just focus on the arena part of the equation since the plan is in motion with or without the Islanders playing a role. The city does not need another arena to play host to a sports team on 40-odd dates a year. Between Madison Square Garden, the two baseball stadiums, the arena and stadium at the Meadowlands, the Prudential Arena in Newark and the proposed Brooklyn arena, there's already too much competition for the non-sporting events that can actually keep these arenas from doing more than sucking down municipal money and staying empty. And that's before taking into account the zillions of other places for concerts, special events and the like in the metropolitan area.
Once you throw in the fact that all but MSG and the arena at the Meadowlands are in their infancy, it becomes clear that there's neither a need nor a justification for another new building. If the Islanders want to play within the five boroughs, let them share space with the Nets in Brooklyn because if we're going to get a building we don't need we might as well keep it full for as much of the year as possible.