There aren't many like Herman Badillo
by Anthony Stasi
Dec 17, 2014 | 7495 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Herman Badillo died two weeks ago, his legacy of being the first Puerto Rican-born borough president of the Bronx was remembered fondly. But Badillo was more than just first in doing things by way of his ethnicity. He was symbolic of a turning point in New York City.

In 1993, Badillo ran alongside Rudy Giuliani in what was a fusion ticket. Badillo was seeking the comptroller spot with Giuliani running for mayor. Badillo lost his race, but was later appointed by Governor George Pataki to oversee improving the CUNY college system, which he did well.

In the time of New York’s rebirth, Herman Badillo did what many of the old machine politicians did not do: he became part of the solution. He was a pragmatist in a party that does not always honor its pragmatic side. He sided with problem-solving over idealism.

Badillo’s accomplishments in the House of Representatives, city government, and the borough president’s office are important. But more to the point, he played a part in rescuing this city. He was not elected in 1993, and he lost a final mayoral bid in 2001, but he was still involved with the city’s development.

There is a split in both parties between the realists and the idealists. New York City does not have many Democrats like Badillo anymore. The city should do something to remember this man, because these types of politicians are becoming rare.

Task for the Islanders

Can the Islanders really make a splash in Brooklyn next year? They are moving at the right time, when they are one of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League.

Brooklyn has never been a hockey town, however, and you wonder if the Islanders can get traction with the local fans. Introducing a new sport is not always bad. After all, if Phoenix can have a professional hockey team, why not Brooklyn?

The Islanders have suffered for longer than any team with such a storied history should have suffered, and it was due to front office missteps. This is changing.

When the Islanders make the Barclays Center their new home next season, they should mark off a few games where they give students a break on prices. Let the high school and college kids in Brooklyn see a hockey game. It only took me one game – on November 8 in 1983 - to get me hooked on a sport and a team that I still love.

The Islanders can be what the Rangers can't, a neighborhood team.

Unlike the Nets, the Islanders do not have a stable of Russian names to match up with some of the population in Brooklyn, but they do not need an ethnic connection.

They need to show Brooklyn that they want to be there, and they are not moving solely because the Nassau County voters refused to pay for a new arena.

People say that the Barclays Center is not built for hockey. One big season, and that attitude changes quickly. The Barclays Center was good for the Nets, and it will be good for the Islanders. But they are going to have to introduce themselves to this town and not rely solely on Long Islanders trekking to Brooklyn.

Many Brooklyn kids do not know the sport because it’s just too expensive to play, but they will like it if management makes Islanders games accessible.

The Islanders are a good match for Brooklyn. They are only now experiencing a renaissance, like the borough itself. But can they still be the Islanders?

If the Lakers can leave Minnesota and still carry their name, the Islanders can keep their name without the awkwardness. Keeping the name is also a way to flirt with Nassau County and the possibility of a return to Long Island if all goes wrong.

But all will not go wrong, because for the first time in a long time this team has timed something right. They are coming to town as a hot item. They are – for now anyway – the best sports franchise in New York.

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