But some disabled fans claim their health and safety was forgotten amid the hoopla, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.
Charles Razenson of Hicksville is a huge Islanders fan, a season ticket holder for 20 years. Since he and his wife, Helen, were in a major car accident, they use handicapped-compliant parking spots.
“You’ve got people in wheelchairs and walkers that have to get on to a tram,” Razenson said.
The excitement they felt for the opening this month of the state-of-the-art $1.5 billion UBS Arena was short lived when they came for a tour and were shown a map of where they will park — in a lot three-quarters of a mile away — and be shuttled by a tram.
There are 400 handicapped Islanders season ticket holders, but so far just 10 spots have been set aside for the disabled in the lot closest to the arena, and those are designated for suite owners.
“This is all Diamond parking out here for suite owners,” Razenson said, adding when asked if he can afford that, “Heck no.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York Human Rights Law guarantee special access to public accommodations. Razenson has since filed a complaint.
“The Islanders and the UBS are violating the intent and integrity of the law,” attorney Kenneth Mollins said.
Razenson and his wife say their vulnerabilities have them worried that when they are out in the elements being shuttled by a tram, supplied by the arena, they haven’t yet seen.
“They are skating on thin ice because the trams are currently on a ship in the Pacific,” Mollins said.
The arena called the complaint premature, saying in a statement, “The Islanders and UBS Arena take ADA and accessibility very seriously. We will share a detailed ADA plan in advance of our grand opening next weekend.”
“It’s simple. They asked me what’s the fix for it and I said a lot of blue paint and a lot of people who are suite owners have to be disappointed,” Razenson said.
Razenson said enforcing the accessibility law may mean taking away the promised premiere spots for the high-end ticket holders.
Some say Nassau Coliseum provided ample handicapped parking. They added they are holding off buying season tickets at UBS until the parking plan for them is disclosed.