Buffalo News reporter Mike Harrington had the unfortunate experience of getting locked inside the home of the New York Islanders last weekend.
Roughly 90 minutes after wrapping up interviews, the Buffalo Sabres beat reporter was ready to take off and head to John F. Kennedy airport, only to realize that the arena was practically empty.
“I’m pretty certain vendors, cleaners etc. were all in a hurry to go watch the Jets game because my whole situation began in the 7:30 range. Only about 90 minutes or so after finishing interviews, I was done with two stories and ready to head to JFK Airport.
Each gate around the concourse has a series of glass doors that exits outside to a plaza which leads to the acres of parking lots. I started walking the concourse and noticed every door was padlocked. And I mean every one. I finally found a couple open and they led to a vestibule in front of some will call windows. Through the vestibule were the doors to the parking lot leading to the Long Island Marriott, which is right across the street (and is where the visiting teams stay).
So I thought I had struck paydirt. How wrong I was. Went into the vestibule and the 20 or so doors leading to the parking lot were not padlocked but they were all locked. OK, so I turned around to go back into the concourse and see if there were any other open doors. Uh-oh. Here’s where the problem began.
The doors back into the concourse locked behind me. The doors to the parking lot were locked. I was stuck in the vestibule. Picture an area roughly the width of the gate area inside the HSBC Arena pavilion. So I started banging on the doors leading back inside and yelling. No one around. Not a soul. There’s a stairway leading downstairs by a couple restaurants and the MSG studio. No one around. Not a soul.
My flight from JFK was in the 10 p.m. range so that wasn’t an issue — unless I spent hours inside. And how was I getting out? I had no choice. I dialed 911.”
After Harrington called 911, he spotted a janitor who let him back in. If that wasn’t bad enough, the parking lot was pitch black and he needed 15 minutes to find the one exit that was open.
Just your average night in Uniondale, N.Y.