The New York Islanders have been in arena limbo for a while, but it seemed like there was light at the end of the tunnel when the Islanders had their future home approved at Belmont Park. As an Islander fan, I was excited to see that this organization would finally get the best arena possible for the next generations of fans. Sadly, it does not seem like this will be the case, but there’s still time for New York Arena Partners to get this right.
Current Plan for Belmont Development:
My biggest issue with Belmont Arena is the retail village at point B. The village will take up most of the space of this project with it’s 350,000 square foot outdoor mall. In comparison to the Americana Manhasset, the village at Belmont Park is almost 60% larger. Based on my own estimates on Google Earth, Belmont Arena will be approximately 150,000 square feet, less than half the size of the retail village.
The parking at Belmont Park is a major problem. Parking for the arena will be located at points C, D, and E. Lots C and D are around .6 miles away and will require fans to take a tram to-and-from their cars. Belmont is planning on having approx 5,000 parking spots for their 19,000 seat arena. As a point of comparison the Coliseum has 7,000 spots for a 13,900 seat arena. New York Arena Partners are anticipating that many people will access Belmont Park with the new LIRR train station, but this station will be completed at the earliest 2023 (two years after Belmont Arena is open). The estimation of 2023 goes under the anticipation that there will be no delays, but trust me, there will be. What happens in the meantime?
What I Think Belmont Park Should Look Like:
I am not an architect, but this is what Belmont Arena should look like. I moved most of the parking to within walking distance from the arena, converted what was lot C to a mixed use space, and turned lot E into the retail village that New York Arena Partners covets. If NYAP decide to turn the mixed use space into more shopping, so be it, but this new proposal gives each area the proper space it needs. Ideally, the arena should be placed on the northern area of location B with parking surrounding it. The retail village, albeit much smaller should be placed at location E next to the hotel and close enough to the arena.
The current plan has the arena an appetizer to the village when it should be the other way around. Belmont Arena is the headliner of this project, it deserves to be treated as such. Honestly, I think my plan for the revival of Belmont Park makes much more sense than the one that NYAP came up with. What do you think?