Officials from the New York Islanders and the Long Island Rail Road celebrate the opening of the new Elmont Station at UBS Arena, the rail line’s first new stop in 50 years. (Courtesy team)
UBS Arena features a standard amenity that stands apart from most arenas in New York — ample on-site parking.
It’s a basic feature in the venue world but in New York’s five boroughs, it’s a rare sight and comes at a premium.
For the Islanders and arena developer Oak View Group, it’s critical to get it right. Parking and the navigation of traffic tied to sports and entertainment facilities is typically top of mind for the ticket-buying public.
If parking becomes a big headache for those customers, teams and venue operators will hear about it.
At Belmont Park, a five-level, 1,500-space elevated parking structure is under construction across the street from the arena on property owned by the New York Racing Association, which runs the horse racing track next door.
For Islanders games, it’s reserved for season-ticket holders.
Those patrons will use a surface lot next to the parking structure until it is completed, said Mike Sciortino, UBS Arena’s senior vice president of operations and assistant general manager.
Elsewhere, there are four parking lots reserved for arena events, the biggest of which is Emerald Parking with 2,600 spaces on the north side of the track. Some lots are across the Hempstead Turnpike with walkways to the arena.
Shuttle buses will run from the Emerald lot. For those hoofing it from that lot, it’s a bit of a walk, Sciortino said, but they’re protected by a covered walkway, which stretches 30 feet wide.
All told, there are about 5,500 parking spaces, most within walking distance of the building. It’s roughly the same number of spots at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, where the Islanders played for 40-plus years.
A check of Ticketmaster, where parking can be purchased, showed that the fee was $45 excluding convenience charges, for the Harry Styles concert on Nov. 28, the arena’s first live music event.
For concerts, parking is $5 more than for Islanders games, according to the UBS Arena website.
For many event goers, public transportation may be the best option. Arena officials estimate up to 3,000 people plan to use trains and buses to get to the facility depending on the event and day of the week, Sciortino said.
In addition, a new Elmont station along the Long Island Railroad near the arena opened on Nov. 16. It’s the first new stop for that line in 50 years. A second station close by, Queens Village, will be operational in 2022.
“The beauty of this arena is that you’re in an urban setting with adequate land and public transportation and ride share, all in one,” said Peter Luukko, chairman of OVG Facilities. “It’s the best of both worlds, which is unique among New York arenas.”