- Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Nassau Coliseum, The Coliseum, The Mausoleum, The Ol' Barn on Hempstead Turnpike, Garden East
Location 1255 Hempstead Turnpike (State Route 24), Uniondale, New York 11553, United States Coordinates Coordinates: Broke ground 1969 Opened February 11, 1972 Owner Nassau County, New York Operator SMG Construction cost $31 million (USD)
($163 million in 2011 dollars)
Architect Welton Becket and Associates Project Manager Irwin Schlef Capacity Ice Hockey: 16,250
Tenants New York Islanders (NHL) (1972–present)
New York Nets (ABA/NBA) (1972–1977)
New York Arrows (MISL) (1978–1984)
New York Express (MISL) (1986–1987)
Long Island Jawz (RHI) (1996)
New York Saints (NLL) (1989–2003)
New York Dragons (AFL) (2001–2008)
New York Titans (NLL) (2007)
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, commonly known as Nassau Coliseum or simply The Coliseum, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Uniondale, New York, United States. Home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League, the Coliseum is located approximately 19 miles (31 km) east of New York City on Long Island. Opened in 1972, the Coliseum occupies 63 acres (250,000 m2) of Mitchel Field, site of a former Army and Air Force base. The facility is located in an unincorporated area of the Town of Hempstead, within the Uniondale 11553 ZIP code. The Coliseum is also used for concerts, large exhibitions and shows of various kinds, as well as trade shows — 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) at the main arena, 60,000 at the Expo Center.
The Coliseum originally had a capacity of 13,000 to 15,000 depending on the event, but in the early 1980s the maximum capacity was increased to around 18,000. It currently seats 16,250 for hockey, up to 18,100 for concerts and 17,686 for boxing and professional wrestling. The arena has hosted many live wrestling events, most notably the first part of the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania 2 in 1986. In addition, it played host to WWE's SummerSlam in August 2002, The Great American Bash in July 2008, and WWE Fatal 4-Way on June 20, 2010. The Coliseum has also hosted several WWE television shows including RAW, SmackDown!, HEAT, Velocity, Superstars of Wrestling, and Saturday Night's Main Event, as well as non-televised "house shows".
Earlier, the Coliseum had hosted the New York Arrows and later the New York Express of the original Major Indoor Soccer League. Before that, the Coliseum had been home to the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association, and later the National Basketball Association, from 1972–1977. The first event held at the Coliseum was a Nets game against the Pittsburgh Condors on February 11, 1972. The Coliseum has also hosted first and second round games of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 1982, 1994 and 2001.
The New York Sets of the World Team Tennis league played their first game at Nassau Coliseum on May 17, 1974 and won championships in 1976 and 1977. The team changed its name to the New York Apples in 1976 and began playing some of its games at Madison Square Garden.
The New York Raiders, intended by the fledgling World Hockey Association to be their flagship franchise, was initially slated to play in the brand-new Nassau Coliseum. However, Nassau County didn't consider the WHA a professional league and wanted nothing to do with the Raiders. Nassau County retained William Shea to get an NHL team to play in the new building. The NHL responded by hastily awarding a franchise to Long Island -- the New York Islanders -- which forced the Raiders to play in Madison Square Garden, in the shadow of the New York Rangers. On February 8, 1983, the arena hosted the NHL All Star Game, during which Wayne Gretzky scored four goals in the third period and was honored as the game's most valuable player.
The Coliseum was home to the New York Saints of the National Lacrosse League from 1989–2003, but the Saints became an inactive team in 2004. In 2007, it was home to four of the New York Titans National Lacrosse League team's eight home games (along with Madison Square Garden). In 2008, the Titans moved all of their home games to Madison Square Garden.
The Nassau Coliseum hosted minor league hockey prior to the awarding of the Islanders franchise, an event that was brought back in 2005, when the Islanders-affiliated Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) played two "home games" at the Coliseum in the absence of NHL hockey due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout. On April 17–18, 2009, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, played two of their home playoff games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Coliseum due to a scheduling conflict at the Sound Tigers' regular home, the Arena at Harbor Yard. In 2000 and 2005, the Professional Bull Riders brought their Built Ford Tough Series (originally Bud Light Cup) to the Coliseum.
In December 2010, over a thousand Quebec residents referring to themselves as the "Nordiques Nation" attended a New York Islanders game to draw attention to their efforts to bring a NHL franchise to Quebec City.
Music and film history
David Bowie performed in the Coliseum during his 1976 Station to Station Tour. The concert was broadcast on radio, it and had been heavily circulated as a bootleg by fans. The full concert saw official release in 2010 as part of the Station To Station Deluxe Box Set.
In February 1977, Queen played at the Coliseum during their headlining US tour, and video footage of the band's performance of "Tie Your Mother Down" at the venue is recorded in the song's promotional film.
The Coliseum was one of only two venues in the United States where Pink Floyd mounted their limited run of shows for The Wall Tour in February 1980. Five concerts were performed from February 24 through 28, one of which was filmed and later traded as a bootleg by fans for years. In August 1988, they recorded and filmed the Delicate Sound of Thunder over four nights at the Coliseum.
Certain songs from Bruce Springsteen's New Year's Eve concert in 1980 were used on his 1986 live album, Live/1975–85. Both The Grateful Dead and Phish frequently played the Coliseum, concerts yielding live albums in both cases: Go to Nassau by the Dead; and three installments of the Live Phish Series — 4-2-98, 4-3-98 and 2-28-03.
Scenes for the 2007 movie Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore were filmed at the arena. The following year, on February 6 and 7, 2008, The Spice Girls performed two sold-out shows during their Return of the Spice Girls World Tour. It was their first performance in the New York area as a five-piece act. During the summer of their Spiceworld Tour in 1998, the girls had played the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, PNC Bank Arts Center, and Madison Square Garden as part of their New York dates, but Geri Halliwell had left the group right before the American leg of the tour.
As of 2010, the Coliseum is the second-oldest arena in active use by an NHL team (after nearby Madison Square Garden), and was the smallest capacity of all arenas in the NHL until the Atlanta Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets and began play in the MTS Centre that seats 15,015. The arena has been considered obsolete for many years, and various Islanders owners have been trying to replace the arena for over 10 years. Team and county officials announced in 2004 a plan called The Lighthouse Project to renovate the Coliseum. The centerpiece of the project was a 60-story tower (since removed from the plans) designed to look like a lighthouse. Other plans include new housing (including affordable housing units), athletic facilities, a minor league baseball stadium, restaurants, and a hotel. The project would also add trees, water and other natural elements to the area. On August 14, 2007, Islanders owner Charles Wang and the Lighthouse Development Group partnered with Rexcorp to create a new plan, changing the overall project scale. The 60-story "lighthouse" evolved into two 31-story buildings connected with a footbridge at the top. The project as a whole has transformed from a simple renovation of the Coliseum property into a 150-acre (0.61 km2) transformation of surrounding properties. Plans call for more 2,000 residential units (20 percent affordable housing), a hotel, a convention center, a sports technology center, 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of retail space, and a sports complex adjacent to the renovated Coliseum. The overall project is slated to cost roughly $3.75 billion.
Construction was not planned to begin until at least mid-2009, and had not begun as of October 2011. Nassau County approved the entire Lighthouse Project in 2006 on a 16-2 vote, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was completed after a state-mandated environmental review. The Lighthouse Project then went before the Town of Hempstead for approval on a change in land zoning.
On August 1, 2011, voters in Nassau County rejected a proposal for a new arena to replace the Nassau Coliseum. The future of the Islanders in Nassau County is now uncertain.
The inside of the Coliseum before The Great American Bash (2008)
The New York Islanders' retired numbers and other banners raised inside the coliseum.
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- ^ Young, Monte R. (September 28, 2004). "Visions of $200M renovation". Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/longisland/ny-licoli283987656sep28,0,1458075.story?coll=ny-linews-print.
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- ^ Caldwell, Dave (August 2, 2011). "Nassau Voters Reject Proposal to Fix Coliseum". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/nyregion/nassau-voters-reject-proposal-to-overhaul-coliseum.html. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
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