Friday, March 29, 2013

1154  The Bay Shack

(Moote Pointe, NY) -- You know what a bay shack is... it’s a little house near enough to the water for storms far milder than Sandy to damage.  Usually, they look unpainted because salt water and wind have a way of skinning vertical surfaces.  This particular bay shack is named in the inflated self-important language of bumbling and bankrupt Nauseous County, New York.  It is called The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located just north of Moote Pointe in Uniondale. (No one quite knows why they spell it that way.  Maybe it’s because it fits the signs better than colosseum.)

It is a ramshackle mess with a storied early history and an equally storied present.

It once was home to the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association when Dr. J., Julius Erving of Roosevelt, now 63, was the guy everyone wanted to be. It was home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League in those glory years when no opponent could get a puck past goalie Billy Smith, now 62, and guys like Potvin, and Bossy and Trottier were household names.

Well, the Nets got absorbed by the NBA and moved first to New Jersey and then to Brooklyn.

The Islanders haven’t won a game in the last 75 years and are about to join the Nets in Brooklyn.

And the Coliseum?  It was ramshackle from day one, and you couldn’t get there except by car and you had to pay for parking, but who cared... it was the Nets and the Islanders.  Glory!

Isles owner Charles Wang, now 68, and rich from a company of iffy reputation, Computer Associates, has been the ping pong ball in a game of “who can be stupider,” the Town of Hempstead or Nassau County in efforts to redevelop the land.  Granted, some of his proposals bordered on the looney and all of them required public funding.  A 61 story building and a new arena?  C’mon.  Okay, then two 30 story buildings and a new arena?  You crazy, or what? But some redevelopment was necessary, even the dumbest of the dummies in government conceded.

So, Wang picks up his sorry puck and heads for Brooklyn, where they have fans and subways.  And the crumbling Coliseum, less colossal by the day, is left to drift with such exciting attractions as the NYPD/NYFD charity hockey game, Romeo Santos (who?) New Kids on the Block and Mickey’s (Disney) Music festival.

Of course, the Isles are stuck there for a season or two more.  

The latest bedragglement?  A lawsuit charging workers have been exposed to asbestos.  It took three years to build the place starting in 1969 and EVERYTHING back then had asbestos, which generally doesn’t bother anyone unless they start stirring it up.  So NOW they sue?  Talk about beating a dead horse.


--Chinese lesson.  Wang’s name is pronounced “Wong” and the name Wong also is pronounced “Wong.”  But the names have different meanings with the former written 王 and the latter written 皇, a slight difference in sound not normally picked up by American ears.  The “a” is the same as the a in “amen” and the o is the same as the o in soap.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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