life in and around NYC is insane
Friday, April 14, 2017
The Nassau Coliseum, built in the 1970's, is a sports arena and concert venue. It was the original home of the NY Nets, back when they played in the ABA, before they joined the NBA.
And it was the home of the NY Islanders. I was a student at Hofstra University, just down the road from the Coliseum, back in the day of the Stanley Cup Dynasty, and you could feel the excitement in the air.
And Billy Joel a/k/a Mr. Long Island did so many concerts at the Coliseum that they symbolically retired his "number" -- a banner up in the rafters, along with all the Islanders' banners, read "Billy Joel 69". (Can't deny Long Islanders have a sense of humor....)
When the building got old, there was considerable political squabbling about how to renovate the facility (it's owned by Nassau County) and how much redevelopment should be done in the area around the facility to create an entertainment hub. When the owner of the Islanders didn't get his way, the Islanders opted to leave Long Island and go play at the Barclays Center in godforsaken Brooklyn. It was, as they say in Yiddish, a shondah, an embarrassment of colossal proportions. That abandonment killed the career of one local politician (ding, dong the witch is dead) and will likely kill the career of another, if he doesn't get indicted for bribery first. (I guess you kind of figured out I'm not a fan ...)
Billy Joel did the last concert at the Coliseum before it closed in 2015, and last week he did the very first concert in the newly renovated Coliseum. (I wasn't able to get tickets for either concert, they sold out in a New York minute, and the prices on StubHub were astronomical.)
The reason I'm giving you a history of the Coliseum is because the county, and the local banking organization which now has the "naming rights" to the venue, decided to hold an open house last Saturday to show off the renovations. A limited number of free tickets were distributed, and Drew and I were lucky enough to snag two tickets.
It was a fun afternoon. We got to sample some of the foods available at the venue, got a lot of swag from the corporate sponsors, and even got a brief backstage tour.
The building now looks like a giant spaceship:
The main floor is now set up for the Long Island Nets, a D League team.
My first "swag bag" of the day, a travel mug:
Free lunch! Everyone got a voucher coupon, which could be redeemed for certain food items:
Two chicken fingers and a handful of fries.Very tasty.
Drew opted for a hot dog. Nathan's hot dogs, the best Long Island has to offer.
The best restaurants appear to be Roast (a sandwich shop, I frequent their location in Melville, it's near my office), Smokin' Al's (the best BBQ on Long Island), and GreeKrave.
Inside the dressing rooms:
A locker room
The "green room"
Celebrities who have performed in the new arena are asked to sign the wall.
Who is that couple?
Billy still has a banner, albeit not as risque:
A pedometer from the Hospital For Special Surgery.
A beach ball:
In January 2017, the management of the Barclays Center announced that they were looking to evict the Islanders due to poor attendance. Well, duh, the fan base for the Islanders is on Long Island....
So the rumors are flying that the Islanders might actually come home to the Coliseum....
That would be nice.
You can read more about the Coliseum here.
Posted by songbird's crazy world at 7:30 AM
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