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Nassau County legislators ask to turn Coliseum into vaccination site

Nassau County Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) suggested using the Nassau Coliseum as a coronavirus vaccination site to increase the number of Long Island residents receiving inoculations.

Nicolello brought up the proposal, which seemed to receive bipartisan support in the County Legislature, during a public hearing on Thursday morning. While the Legislature touted the work of Nassau County Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein, legislators were critical of the state’s allotment of vaccines to Long Island compared with New York City.

“Long Island has the highest positivity rate in New York and we need our local leaders to advocate more strongly for an increase in vaccine doses and to open a mass vaccination site at the Nassau Coliseum,” Nicolello said.

According to state figures, Long Island health care providers had received 345,505 vaccine doses, administering 274,566 as of Monday, the most in the state after New York City.  New York City had received more than 1.2 million vaccine doses, administering 924,213, according to state figures.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the eligibility list for the coronavirus vaccine in New York to taxi drivers, restaurant workers and residents in facilities for those with disabilities.  Cuomo announced in late January that the vaccinations provided to the state would increase by 20 percent for the next three weeks. Private pharmacies, he said, would receive an additional 10 percent, or roughly 30,000 more doses, from the federal government.

County Legislator John Ferretti (R-Levittown) also pointed out that city facilities, including Yankee Stadium, are only available to New York City residents, but Nassau County facilities are available for anyone to use.  Ferretti said the Legislature recently released a joint statement to state officials imploring them to allow Nassau residents to use New York City facilities.

Jack Sterne, a Cuomo spokesperson, said the legislators needed to look at the facts and “stop misleading” Nassau residents.

“The reality is Long Island has received the most vaccines in the state after New York City, we’ve launched two mass vaccination sites on Long Island, and we’ve deployed seven community vaccine hubs to the region, with more in the works,” Sterne said. (Source:

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Nassau Coliseum to be shuttered indefinitely

The Nassau Coliseum, NYCB Live will close its doors indefinitely as the operator billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is seeking investors to take over the lease and assume the $ 100 million remaining debt.
The decision of Prokhorov raises questions about the future development of the Nassau Hub of $ 1.5 billion and is expected to return the Islanders to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn instead of playing their last season on Long Island prior to the opening of their new arena at Belmont Park.
A spokesman for Prokhorov, said on Tuesday in a press release that “the enormous economic value in the long term at the Coliseum and its surrounding property could be best performed by other parties.” She said that Onexim Sports and Entertainment has engaged with the county of Nassau, other important stakeholders and potential investors to find the good parts in order to resume the operations of the Coliseum.

Tuesday’s announcement came three months after the Coliseum closed its doors to operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. As an entertainment company, Onexim makes a significant portion of its revenue from live events, most of which were cancelled this year. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to arenas across the country, and our Coliseum is no exception without hockey to anchor the venue,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement Tuesday. “Nassau County is encouraged that Onexim is speaking to their lenders and other potential investors.”

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