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Restaurants Upset Over Islanders Future Move to Brooklyn

Diner owner says departure of hockey team will 'hurt all of us in the area.'

George Strifas, owner of the Colony Diner, has long campaigned for a new arena at Nassau Coliseum and news of the Islanders' relocation to the Barclays Center Brooklyn is personally upsetting.

"It's a quality of life issue," he said. "No more concerts here, no more circus for my kids, no more home shows, boat show, which are great. I can't see an arena staying there without a full-time tenant."

As far as his Hempstead Turnpike diner is concerned, Strifas says it's definitely going to take a financial toll on all nearby eateries.

"As a business owner, it hurts all of us in the area, he said. "It's jobs in the area -- you get employees of the arena coming in well after a game, 12 a.m. ... You see 20 to 30 tables of Islander fans going to the game. On top of that, it brought Islander fans from Suffolk County or parts of Nassau County that never knew we were here. It created regular customers for us."

Frank Borrelli, owner of Borrelli's on Hempstead Turnpike said taxpayers who voted down last year's referendum are to blame for the Islanders moving out of the Nassau Coliseum in 2015.

"The taxpayers got their wish to not build a a new coliseum when the Islanders said they were leaving and the coliseum may fold," Borrelli said. "We could have built a state-of-the-art facility like Barclays, but the county chased out one of our strongest clients that provide major revenue for Nassau."

Despite the news, Borrelli says his loyal customer base should carry him through.

"We have a lot of loyal customers so business is strong," he said. "But the Islanders and the Coliseum events do help me pay the high taxes that I have to pay in Nassau County. We have been here 57 years before the Islanders and I am sure we will be here when they leave. When one door closes another one opens."

Hooters closed its doors after being in East Meadow for more than 10 years. Edward McCabe, an attorney for Strix Restaurant Group, which owns the franchise rights to Hooters locations on Long Island and Queens, said that the Nassau Coliseum was the main reason that the eatery was brought to East Meadow.

"The store was built because of the Nassau Coliseum, but now there are not as many shows there and the Islanders are not playing there anymore," he said. "That really hurt business."

With reporting by Danielle DeSouza and Matthew Hogan

Hannah October 25, 2012 at 04:23 AM
wait until your taxes go up because this revenue won't be coming in like it was for so many years. Francesa said it today "nassau got their wish, and will have too live with the consequences". We can absolutely blame the tax payers .. just because politicians had ruined it for years or whatever you may say.. we had one last chance... and didn't come through to save it. DONT FORGET THAT!
danny October 25, 2012 at 04:29 AM
I believe us taxpayers DID have a chance to save this coliseum and one of our main sources of revenue in the county. Hope all of you who voted no will be happy when you drive by an empty lot in about 5 years when it could have been a state of the art facility like proposed. Everyone would've seen that money back within a short period of time just like they proposed. Not only is kate murray and all those who destroyed the plans in the beginning to blame, but we, who had a last shot at it, are to blame as well. so theres nothing comical about this steve.
Jay October 25, 2012 at 04:49 AM
So many to blame here for losing our Islanders... it should have never came to a vote BUT unfortunately it did, and I'm not quite sure how everyone didnt vote YES,So yes, us the taxpayers and citizens of Nassau are also to blame... it saddens me to see them go but they had no choice and i dont blame the islanders for leaving, we dont deserve them here. and no way the coliseum will survive, sad sad nassau county
Tom N Merrick October 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
The taxpayers were worried about their taxes going up $13 a year!!! Don't you know that your taxes will go up regardless?? At least with the new arena, you would know where your money went. Closed minded people! You voted down major tax income, jobs and a beautiful complex with an arena, a pro hockey team and a minor league baseball stadium. Now we'll have acres of weeds and barren land for the next 10 years or so. Hope our children know what they missed out on.
joe October 28, 2012 at 10:50 AM
huge failure. leaders are there to lead and that means taking responsability for failures like this...period. all i can do is vote

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