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Ribbon Cutting Day For UBS Arena, New Home Of New York Islanders

ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The official ribbon cutting was held Friday at the new UBS Arena on Long Island.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports, after decades of wandering, the New York Islanders and their fans finally have a permanent place to call home.

"Hello Islander nation, your new home is here," said Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky.

"When the Islanders decided to go into Brooklyn, we felt like part of our heart left," one fan said.

The UBS Arena at Belmont Park is state of the art.

"Really good experience to come right down the block and enjoy the Islanders," a fan said.

"You are witnessing the miracle on ice right here because you got it done in two years during a pandemic," said Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The arena's grand opening is Saturday night. The game is sold out.

"I can't wait for tomorrow night to get the festivities on the way," said Clark Gillies.

Old time Islanders Stanley Cup heroes will have their numbers raised.

"This building is just so fabulous, and you know, it's their home now," said Bob Nystrom.

McLogan saw final touches on the vast open spaces for socializing, eating and drinking. There's shops for memorabilia, walls of fame, a hotel and retail village to follow.

"Jobs, economic excitement, $1.5 billion of private investment right here in Nassau Ccounty," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

It's the second ribbon-cutting in mere days: The first LIRR station to be built in 50 years - Elmont - opened amid fanfare to serve the UBS Arena and the surrounding.

"This train station's gonna raise property values in the community," said Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages.

But the trains that stop at Elmont go only eastbound until next summer.

"The westbound platform for the Long Island Rail Road is not built yet," said Charlton D'Souza of Passengers United.

So, until next summer, trams will shuttle fans, bringing worries about clogged streets. With traffic and parking challenges, residents say officials must be attentive to community concerns and ready to fix what doesn't work, McLogan reported.

Business owner Sheila Phelan is raising the flag, with fingers crossed.

"We didn't like Barclays Center, but as a business owner, I'm hoping that after the pandemic, it will give me a big boost," Phelan said.

Fans say they've gone from the outhouse to the penthouse.

For now, it's a moment to celebrate.

The demand for the UBS Arena grand opening is, predictably, having an effect on the cost of tickets, averaging more than $300 a seat for Saturday night's Islanders game against the Calgary Flames.

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