first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Thanks to a just-announced overhaul plan, LaGuardia International Airport could be transformed from Third World to first rate. The impacts of this massively ambitious project could resonate well beyond Queens and those 680 worn-out acres between Flushing and Bowery Bays, because it marks the welcome return of large-scale thinking to our region.LaGuardia is notorious to travelers who have had the misfortune of navigating its cramped hallways and crowded gates. Speaking last Monday at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan where the plan was unveiled, Gov. Andrew Cuomo repeated the obvious when he said the airport “is a terrible front-door entranceway to New York. It is a lost opportunity.”For what it’s worth, LaGuardia has the distinction of being voted as the worst airport in the nation by Travel & Leisure, which wrote:“The airport has the dubious honor of ranking the worst for the check-in and security process, the worst for baggage handling, the worst when it comes to providing Wi-Fi, the worst at staff communication, and the worst design and cleanliness. If there was a ray of hope, its location, which ranked 16th, was considered superior to six other airports.”According to The New York Times, the airport is one of the busiest and tardiest for its size, having a 70 percent on-time departure rate, which ranks last out of the 29 largest American airports. Yet despite its many, many shortcomings, the airport is still an economic juggernaut. The current airport employs 11,000 workers and contributes more than $15.6 billion to our region’s economy.“Praise” of the airport reached its zenith last year when Vice President Joseph R. Biden remarked that a blindfolded passenger at LaGuardia might think he’d landed in “some Third World country,” as the Times reported in February 2014.Since then, it seems like the Vice President and the Governor have inspired private developers and the Port Authority of NY & NJ to create a workable plan that seeks to demolish the present Central Terminal Building and start anew. Instead of the four separate terminals today, a rebuilt airport would feature a unified passenger facility that is much closer to the Grand Central Parkway allowing for two miles of new taxiways to help clear up some of LaGuardia’s notorious congestion issues.The project also would improve access to LaGuardia, which is too heavily auto-centric. Talk of an AirTrain extension from Willets Point, finally linking the airport to New York City Transit and the Long Island Rail Road, is also being revisited, as is launching high-speed ferry service from the Marine Air Terminal to Manhattan. Also on the table is additional investment in John F. Kennedy International Airport: the T.W.A. Flight Center, a historic landmark considered by many to be the architectural embodiment of the spirit of air travel (and where the Beatles landed in America for their first tour here), is poised to become a first-class hotel.There is no doubt that Biden’s involvement helped usher the project past the many logistical and financial hurdles that normally hold back something of this scale and cost. It seems that once again large-scale capital investment is coming to New York – and it couldn’t have come soon enough.As a general rule of thumb in the planning world, a city that moves is a city that grows. Whether it be roads, rails or runways, any investment in New York’s decrepit infrastructure should be celebrated. Each day, our old, deteriorating systems bear additional burdens they simply weren’t designed for. Yet, to our shame, they’ve been neglected for decades. LaGuardia is currently providing a level of service that is well out of sync with the region’s needs.After the LaGuardia project was announced, many critics cried foul that the airport is the site of billions of dollars’ worth of new capital investment, citing the sorry state of the rail network.Although they are correct, that doesn’t mean investment shouldn’t be made in other vital components of the region’s transportation system, especially when a new airport is just as critical, if not more so, in driving economic activity for New York City and the tri-state area as a whole. And that certainly includes Long Island.Vice President Joe Biden previously compared LaGuardia International Airport to one you’d see in a “third-world country.”While transit advocates argue that the money should be put toward the city’s rail and subway systems, which are getting worse by the day, the fact of the matter is that if the state has the ability to rebuild LaGuardia, it is wise to pounce.The price of this ambitious project was first announced to be $4 billion, but shortly after the fanfare died down, analysts realistically assessed that figure to be $8 billion. They also cast doubt about the Governor’s target for completion in the year 2021, saying that 2026 is a more manageable timeframe for a project of this magnitude. The financing is to be sourced from a public-private partnership among the state, private developers and Delta Airlines. The costs are huge, but so is the project’s scope. Essentially, we’re poised to place a brand new airport a mere eight miles from Midtown Manhattan, one of the most expensive places in the world.The benefits of a new LaGuardia are likely to include much more than just adding to the convenience of tourists as some have claimed. The airport served 27 million passengers last year, and when the overhaul is finally completed, that number will definitely increase. And it will include millions of people doing business here as well as seeing the sights.On Long Island, the Town of Islip will come under even more pressure to attract flyers to its struggling Long Island MacArthur Airport. A reorientation may be in order so MacArthur doesn’t try to compete with LaGuardia, but rather complement its services. Both Nassau and Suffolk counties should actively step up their tourism campaigns to make our assets more attractive to visitors and draw additional economic activity that the new LaGuardia will surely bring.Our political leaders should lobby to streamline the LIRR’s operations to Willets Point so Long Islanders can easily get from points east to the eventual AirTrain. Policymakers and planners should also conduct an analysis of how increased transit ridership to LaGuardia might further justify the need for the LIRR’s proposed double-track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma, and its triple track from Floral Park to Hicksville.This is the time for thinking big like Robert Moses did, and who better to put that notion into words than Robert A. Caro, his Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, who wrote The Power Broker about the master builder. Caro made a rare public comment about the creation of a new LaGuardia in the Governor’s press release on the overhaul project, which nicely sums up how much of a big deal the new airport will be upon completion.“To say we’re going to take it from being a ‘third-world airport’ to being one of the greatest and newest airports, if you think about it, that’s quite a heroic vision,” Caro said. “It’s not an improvement; it’s a transformation – and it’s a transformation that, of course, New York needs. Just as the first LaGuardia airport took New York into the modern age of the 1930s and ’40s, now we have this new airport which will take New York into the 21st century.”Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more


first_imgJoe Schmidt offered a nod of sympathy to predecessor Declan Kidney after being appointed Ireland head coach until 2016. Kidney was told last month that his contract would not be renewed in response to a poor RBS 6 Nations that saw the team finish fifth, their worst championship performance since 1999. However, his final six months in charge were undermined by an appalling injury list that bordered on the farcical at times. Schmidt, who will oversee the remainder of double-chasing Leinster’s season, acknowledges the challenging landscape in which Kidney was forced to operate, and he said: “I certainly sympathise with the recent Irish performances and the results that didn’t go their way can be mitigated by the number of key players who were missing.” Press Associationcenter_img He added: “It’s been the same at Leinster this season. If you have injuries you’re compromised and have to fight your way through those periods. “Look at the way Munster have recharged themselves recently following the return of key players. I hope that with Ireland we’ll have less injuries and give the performances that will meet the expectations of our supporters.” Schmidt guided Leinster to consecutive Heineken Cup crowns in 2011 and 12 and it was that success that identified him as the outstanding candidate for the Ireland job. The 52-year-old New Zealander will officially begin work on July 1 with Les Kiss – the attack coach under Kidney – overseeing the summer tour to the USA and Canada. “When I came to Leinster in 2010 I didn’t really want to be a head coach, but I’ve really enjoyed the experience since,” he said. “I’m really motivated by challenge and this is a super but intimidating one. “If you’re going to find out what you can bring to a group, what better way than to take on one of the big jobs in world rugby. “I’ve had a good look at a lot of Ireland’s players and when we get our collective together, we’ll try to improve performance and make us as competitive as possible.” last_img read more


first_img Related Articles Canadian sports entertainment group Gaming Nation has confirmed that it has acquired UK-based in-stadia marketing specialist BD Sport Group (BD Sport) for a total consideration of £11 million.Updating the market, TSX-listed Gaming Nation detailed that it had agreed to acquire BD Sport assets outright for £8.8 million, with the acquiring firm adding a further £2.2 million in performance-related provisions.Lancashire-based BD Sport is the UK’s leading provider of in-stadia advertising, with the marketing firm having established match-day advertising partnerships with the majority of UK football clubs.Further to its in-stadia advertising services, BD Sport has additional sport agency division which caters for sponsorship deal brokerage and creating football partnerships. BD Sport has worked with the majority of UK licensed bookmakers on football related deals.Moving forward, Gaming Nation is set to takeover all BD Sport existing partnerships and contracts. Completing the acquisition, Gaming Nation management stated that the deal would directly open a new profitable service for its portfolio.Gaming Nation President/CEO Scott Secord commented on the completed acquisition “We are excited to have closed the acquisition of BD Sport Group and look forward to integrating the infrastructure and management expertise into our operations. The combined synergies of 5050 Central and BD Sport will provide a platform for growth in both companies in an aggressive and profitable fashion.” Share StumbleUpon Submit Federal or provincial… Canada stuck at regulatory crossroads July 15, 2020 Share Masse pushes for third Canadian Single Sports Betting Bill February 26, 2020 Canada’s sports betting hearings threatened by Trudeau’s ’emergency recess’  August 24, 2020last_img read more


first_imgAll five Power Five conferences have canceled their basketball tournaments, putting the NCAA Tournament in doubt.The Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Pac-12 conferences were all preparing to play games in large arenas across the country, but with few people in the buildings.The NCAA had announced Wednesday that it planned to play its men’s and women’s tournament games that start next week with restricted access for the general public. The NCAA said only essential staff and limited family members would be allowed to attend the games.The men’s NCAA Tournament is one of the most popular events on the American sports calendar. March Madness draws hundreds of thousands of fans to arenas from coast to coast.last_img read more