Nassau Coliseum

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Coordinates: 40°43′22″N73°35′26″W / 40.72278°N 73.59056°W / 40.72278; -73.59056

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Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
NYCB Live logo.png
Nassau Coliseum Exterior.jpg
Exterior of the renovated arena (c.2018)
Full nameNYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Address1255 Hempstead Turnpike
Uniondale, NY 11553-1260
Location Long Island
Public transit Bus-logo.svg Nassau Inter-County Express : N70, N71, N72 [1]
Owner Nassau County
OperatorBrooklyn Sports & Entertainment
Executive suites32
Capacity Ice hockey: 13,917
Basketball: 14,500
Concerts: 16,800
Tennis: 6,500
Field size410,000 sq ft (38,000 m2)
ScoreboardNevco 1972–1984
Daktronics Inc. 1984–2015
Electro-Mech 2017–
Broke groundJanuary 20, 1969 (1969-01-20) [2]
OpenedFebruary 11, 1972
Expanded1976, 1983, 2017
Closed2015 (renovations)
ReopenedMarch 31, 2017 (renovations)
Construction costUS$32 million
($219 million in 2018 dollars [3] )
Architect Welton Becket and Associates
Structural engineer Severud Associates
General contractorIrwin Schlef [2]
New York Islanders (NHL) (1972–2015, 2018–present)
New York Nets (ABA/NBA) (1972–77)
New York Sets/Apples (WTT) (1974–77)
Long Island Tomahawks (NLL) (1975)
New York Arrows (MISL) (1978–84)
New York Express (MISL) (1986–87)
New York Saints (NLL) (1989–2003)
Long Island Jawz (RHI) (1996)
New York Dragons (AFL) (2001–08)
New York Titans (NLL) (2007)
Long Island Nets (NBA G League) (2017–present)
New York Open (ATP) (2018–present)
New York Riptide (NLL) (2019-present)
Venue Website
View of the Coliseum's seating during an Islanders game NVMC 5.jpg
View of the Coliseum's seating during an Islanders game

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (commonly known as the Nassau Coliseum or The Coliseum) is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Uniondale, New York, east of New York City. The Coliseum is approximately 7 miles (11 km) east of the eastern limits of the Borough of Queens of New York City, and is located next to the Meadowbrook Parkway. It is branded as NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for naming rights reasons.

Uniondale, New York Hamlet and census-designated place in New York, United States

Uniondale is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP), as well as a suburb in Nassau County, New York, United States, on Long Island, in the Town of Hempstead. The ZIP Code is 11553. The population was 24,759 at the 2010 United States Census. Uniondale is home to Hofstra University's north campus.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Queens Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island. To its east is Nassau County. Queens also shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Coterminous with Queens County since 1899, the borough of Queens is the second largest in population, with an estimated 2,358,582 residents in 2017, approximately 48% of them foreign-born. Queens County also is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of New York, behind Brooklyn, which is coterminous with Kings County. Queens is the fourth most densely populated county among New York City's boroughs, as well as in the United States. If each of New York City's boroughs were an independent city, Queens would be the nation's fourth most populous, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. It is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States.

Opened in 1972, [4] the Coliseum occupies 63 acres (25 ha) of Mitchel Field, a former Army airfield, later an Air Force base. The facility is located in the Town of Hempstead, within the Uniondale 11553 ZIP code. The Coliseum is used for sporting events, concerts, large exhibitions and shows as well as trade shows—44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) at the main arena, 60,000 at the Expo Center. In 2015, the arena was temporarily closed for a major renovation which was completed in April 2017.

Mitchel Air Force Base

Mitchel Air Force Base also known as Mitchel Field, was a United States Air Force base located on the Hempstead Plains of Long Island, New York, United States. Established in 1918 as Hazelhurst Aviation Field #2, the facility was renamed later that year as Mitchel Field in honor of former New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel who was killed while training for the Air Service in Louisiana.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

The New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL) played at the Coliseum from 1972 to 2015 before moving to Brooklyn's Barclays Center. After the move proved to be commercially unsuccessful, the team began splitting its home schedule between Barclays and the renovated Coliseum in 2018, and will do so until at least 2021 after the completion of its new Belmont Park Arena. It was the former home of the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (which now plays at Barclays as the Brooklyn Nets) from 1972 to 1977. In 2017, the venue became the new home of the Brooklyn Nets' NBA G League team, the Long Island Nets.

New York Islanders hockey team of the National Hockey League

The New York Islanders are a professional ice hockey team based in the New York metropolitan area. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team splits its home games between Barclays Center in the borough of Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are one of three NHL franchises in the New York metropolitan area, along with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, and their fan base resides primarily on Long Island.

National Hockey League North American professional ice hockey league

The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.


The Coliseum originally had a capacity of 13,000 to 15,000 depending on the event, and in the early 1980s the maximum capacity was increased to around 18,000. Before closing for renovations in 2015 the Coliseum seated 16,170 for hockey, up to 18,511 for concerts and 17,686 for boxing. Those renovations resulted in drastically reduced capacities: 13,917 for hockey and 16,500 for basketball. [5]

Boxing combat sport

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

The Coliseum was home to the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association, and later the National Basketball Association, from 1972 to 1977. The first event at the Coliseum was a Nets game against the Pittsburgh Condors on February 11, 1972. [6]

American Basketball Association defunct professional basketball league in the United States, merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976

The original American Basketball Association (ABA) was a men's professional basketball league, from 1967 to 1976. The ABA ceased to exist with the American Basketball Association–National Basketball Association merger in 1976, leading to several teams joining the National Basketball Association and to the introduction of the 3-point shot in the NBA in 1979.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams. It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world.

Pittsburgh Condors professional basketball team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Condors were a professional basketball team in the original American Basketball Association. Originally called the Pittsburgh Pipers, they were a charter franchise of the ABA and captured the first league title. The team played their home games in Pittsburgh's Civic Arena.

The Nets won two ABA Championships in the Coliseum, with Hall of Famer Julius Erving headlining the team. In 1973–74 the Nets defeated the Utah Stars in five games to capture their first title. The Nets then captured the final American Basketball Association Championship in 1976, defeating the Denver Nuggets in six games. Following the 1976 season the Nets joined the National Basketball Association as part of the ABA–NBA merger. [7] After their first season in the NBA, the Nets moved to New Jersey. The New Jersey Nets played four seasons at the Rutgers Athletic Center before completion of the Meadowlands Arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. [7]

The Coliseum also hosted the New York Arrows and later the New York Express of the original Major Indoor Soccer League. The Arrows, which existed as a franchise from 1978 to 1984, won the first four MISL championships. [8] The short-lived New York Express played part of the 1986–87 season, ending operations before the All-Star break with financial troubles and a 3-23 record. [9]

In NCAA Division I men's college basketball, the Coliseum hosted the ECAC Metro Region Tournament organized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] It also has hosted first- and second-round games of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 1982, 1994, and 2001. [15] [16] [17]

The New York Sets of World Team Tennis played their first match at Nassau Coliseum on May 7, 1974, and won the WTT championships in 1976. [18] The team changed its name to the New York Apples for the 1977 season, and played 12 of its 22 home matches at Madison Square Garden and the Felt Forum, repeating as champions. [19] Prior to the 1978 season, the Apples announced that they would leave the Coliseum and play all their home matches in the Madison Square Garden complex. [20]

The New York Raiders, intended by the fledgling World Hockey Association to be their flagship franchise, was slated to play in the new Nassau Coliseum in 1972–73. However, the Nassau County government did not consider the WHA a fully professional league and wanted nothing to do with the Raiders. [21] 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. [22] On October 7, 1972, the first Islanders game in Nassau Coliseum was played as the Atlanta Flames visited the Islanders. Flames forward Morris Stefaniw scored the first NHL goal in the building at 6:56 of the first period, while Ed Westfall scored the first goal for the Islanders, as the Flames won the game 3–2. The first Islanders' home win at the arena was on October 12, 1972, where they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3–2. The Islanders' first playoff win at the arena came on April 20, 1975, where they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4–2. On April 22, 1976, the Islanders earned their first playoff series victory at the arena by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 3–2, and winning the series 4–2. [23]

On February 8, 1983, the arena hosted the 35th National Hockey League All-Star Game, during which Wayne Gretzky scored four goals in the third period and was honored as the game's most valuable player. [24]

The Islanders were 11–1 in Stanley Cup Finals games at the Coliseum. Their only loss was a 1–0 setback in Game 1 in 1984 to the Edmonton Oilers. Islanders fans nicknamed the arena "Fort Neverlose" in honor of the team's strong home record during the finals. [25]

The Coliseum was home to the New York Saints of the National Lacrosse League from 1989 to 2003. [26] 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). [27]

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 of the American Hockey League (AHL) played two "home" games at the Coliseum in the absence of NHL hockey due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout. [28] On April 17–18, 2009, the Sound Tigers played two of their home playoff games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Coliseum due to a scheduling conflict at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the team's home.

In 2000 and 2005, the Professional Bull Riders brought their Built Ford Tough Series (originally Bud Light Cup) to the Coliseum. [29]

On February 24–25, 2006, the Coliseum hosted the 44th NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships. It was just the third time the annual event has been held on Long Island. Selling 17,755 tickets over three sessions, it broke (and still holds) the NYSPHSAA wrestling tournament attendance record. [30]

On April 25, 2015, the final Islanders game at Nassau Coliseum was held, Game 6 of their first round playoff series against the Washington Capitals. The game was won by the Islanders 3-1, forcing a Game 7 in Washington. Islanders' Nikolay Kulemin scored the final NHL game-winning goal at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 10:33 of the third period, a wrist shot against Braden Holtby. The Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck scored the final NHL goal at the Coliseum, an empty net goal that put the Islanders up 3-1 at 19:07 of the 3rd period. [31] [32] However, the Islanders were denied entry into the second round of the playoffs as they lost Game 7 of the series to the Capitals in Washington two nights later, thus making Game 6 the final major-league sporting event held at the Coliseum until the Islanders return three years later. [33]

On July 19–20, 2014, the Global RallyCross Championship raced at the Nassau Coliseum parking lot. [34]

On November 5, 2015, the Nets announced their new NBA D-League team, the Long Island Nets, would play at the renovated Coliseum starting in 2017 (the team played their first season at their parent team's home, the Barclays Center). [35] [36]

On July 22, 2017, the Coliseum hosted UFC on Fox: Weidman vs. Gastelum. [37]

In February 2018, the Coliseum hosted the New York Open, an ATP 250 men's tennis tournament replacing the long-running Memphis Open. [38] [39]

Seating capacity

The seating capacity for hockey during the life of the arena has been:



Elvis Presley performed four sold-out concerts at the Nassau Coliseum on June 22, 23 & 24, 1973. His last Coliseum appearance was on July 19, 1975. Six days following Presley's death, a summer tour was scheduled to begin at the Coliseum on August 22, 1977. Tickets for the show have become collectors items. The Beach Boys performed to a sold-out audience on June 19, 1974. Their tour promoted the recently released Holland album and featured a setlist of recent songs as well as several of their early 60's hits. They were joined onstage by Elton John and Paul Simon for the encore performance. David Bowie performed a radio broadcast from there during his Isolar Tour, in support of the album Station to Station . A heavily circulated bootleg of the concert saw official release in 2010 as part of the 2010 reissue of the album, and in 2017 as a separate release, Live Nassau Coliseum '76 . Queen played at the Coliseum in February 1977 during their A Day at the Races Tour. The band used footage of their performance of "Tie Your Mother Down" in the song's promotional film. [41]

Led Zeppelin played three nights at the Nassau Coliseum on their 1975 North American Tour. [42] During the second night, February 13, Ronnie Wood of the Faces and The Rolling Stones joined the band for a rousing rendition of "Communication Breakdown." High quality soundboard recordings of the band's performances on February 13 and 14 have surfaced on bootlegs.[ citation needed ]

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. The group performed five concerts from February 24 through 28, 1980 one of which was filmed and only appeared as an underground tape. In August 1988, they recorded and filmed the Delicate Sound of Thunder over four nights at the Coliseum. They first played the venue in June 1975 on their Wish You Were Here Tour.[ citation needed ]

Live on Long Island 04-18-80 by The Marshall Tucker Band was the original lineup's final concert and the final recording of bassist and founding member Tommy Caldwell, who died just ten days later in an automobile accident. Tommy Caldwell is pictured on the album cover. The Coliseum album was the first to feature a complete concert from the original band. However, the album wasn't released until 26 years later. The band was touring in support of their album Tenth at the time, and the recording features the songs "It Takes Time" and "Cattle Drive" from that release as well as classics such as "Heard It in a Love Song", "Searchin' for a Rainbow" and "Can't You See".[ citation needed ]

Billy Joel has a "retired number" banner hanging from the rafters, along with those of Islander greats, to commemorate his many sold-out Coliseum shows. His "retired number" is 69. One of Joel's concerts from his 1982 tour at the Coliseum was recorded for a 1983 HBO concert special and VHS release, Billy Joel: Live From Long Island. [43]

Bruce Springsteen has performed at the arena numerous times, most notably during a three-night stand in December 1980. A number of songs from these shows were part of his 1986 live album, Live/1975–85 , and the show of December 31 was released in full as Nassau Coliseum, New York 1980 in 2015. [44]

Supertramp performed at the Coliseum on their final tour with Roger Hodgson in 1983 in support of their ...Famous Last Words... album. The 1986 live album Finyl Vinyl by Rainbow features a rendition of the song "Can't Happen Here" which was recorded at Nassau Coliseum in 1981. The 1987 home video Cliff 'Em All features a rendition of the song "Master of Puppets" by Metallica, filmed at Nassau Coliseum on April 28, 1986 (while the band was opening a show for Ozzy Osbourne).[ citation needed ].The Spice Girls performed 2 sold out shows on February 6 and 7, 2008 as part of their Return of the Spice Girls Tour.

Mail-ordered Grateful Dead concert tickets for their spring 1994 Nassau Coliseum run Grateful Dead tickets for Nassau Coliseum run, Spring 1994.jpg
Mail-ordered Grateful Dead concert tickets for their spring 1994 Nassau Coliseum run

Both The Grateful Dead and Phish frequently played the Coliseum, concerts yielding live albums in both cases: Go to Nassau , Wake Up to Find Out , Dick's Picks Volume 13 , Spring 1990: So Glad You Made It , Spring 1990 (album) , Spring 1990 (The Other One) by the Dead; and three installments of the Live Phish Series 4-2-98 , 4-3-98 and 2-28-03 . Genesis' performance at the Coliseum on November 29, 1981 (during the band's Abacab Tour) was recorded and filmed for the band's Three Sides Live album and concert video plus radio broadcast. Frank Zappa played his final U.S. show on March 25, 1988 [45] at the Coliseum. He was joined onstage by his son, Dweezil Zappa, for the concert's encores. Pink Floyd performed between August 19 and 23, 1988, on their A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour. In March 1990, the country supergroup The Highwaymen performed at the Coliseum. Their performance was recorded and was released on VHS in 1991. On June 11, 12 and 13, 1990, Madonna performed three sold-out shows at Nassau Coliseum on her Blond Ambition World Tour. The inside sleeve to Morrissey's 1992 album Your Arsenal was shot at a performance at the Coliseum on November 11, 1991.[ citation needed ]

Professional wrestling

Nassau has been a mainstay of WWE for over 30 years, and has hosted Raw and SmackDown many times, including the taping of a SmackDown episode where professional wrestler Droz suffered a (untelevised) career-ending injury in 1999. On August 25, 2002, SummerSlam was hosted at the Coliseum. On April 10, 2017, the renovated Coliseum hosted its first episode of Raw. [46] In October 2018, the Coliseum hosted Evolution, the promotion's first all-women's pay-per-view event. [47]

The Coliseum hosted the opening leg of WrestleMania 2 on April 7, 1986. As part of an ambitious plan to have Wrestlemania from three separate venues (also used were the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena), 16,585 fans saw 4 live matches at the Coliseum with the rest of the event shown to the audience by closed-circuit television. The main event at the Nassau leg was actually a boxing match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and tough-guy actor Mr. T. [48]

The Nassau Coliseum also hosted several editions of now-defunct WCW's Monday Nitro , as the Coliseum was the only Tri-State area venue the Southern-based WCW was allowed to hold events.

In film

Scenes for the 2007 movie Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore were filmed at the arena. [49]


The Coliseum was the second-oldest arena in active use by a National Hockey League team (after nearby Madison Square Garden), and until the return of the Winnipeg Jets to the league at the 15,004 seat MTS Centre in Winnipeg, was the smallest arena in the NHL by total seating capacity. [50] The arena had been considered obsolete for many years, and various Islanders owners tried to replace it.

The Lighthouse Project

Team and county officials announced in 2004 a plan called The Lighthouse Project to renovate the Coliseum. The project's centerpiece was a 60-story tower that would look like a lighthouse. Other plans included new housing, 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. [51]

On August 14, 2007, Islanders owner Charles Wang and the Lighthouse Development Group partnered with Rexcorp to create a new plan. The 60-story "lighthouse" evolved into two 31-story buildings connected by a footbridge at the top. The project was transformed from a simple renovation of the Coliseum property into a 150-acre (0.61 km2) transformation of surrounding properties. Plans called for more 2,000 residential units (20% 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 next to the renovated Coliseum. The overall project was slated to cost roughly $3.75 billion. [52]

Construction was not planned to begin until at least mid-2009. Nassau County approved the Lighthouse Project in 2006 on a 16–2 vote, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was completed after a state-mandated environmental review. [52] The Lighthouse Project was then expected to go before the Town of Hempstead for approval on a change in land zoning. [53] However, the approval was never granted. After the October 2009 deadline passed, the Long Island Press reported the Lighthouse Project's cancellation. [54] Wang has denied the report. [55]

In May 2010, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon had discussions with Wang about constructing an arena for the Islanders near Citi Field. Wilpon has also discussed buying the Islanders. [56] In June 2010, the FanHouse website reported Jeff and Fred Wilpon, the owner of the Mets, began working with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (who also worked on Madison Square Garden's latest renovation) on a feasibility study of a new Islanders arena in Queens. [57] However, a source from Newsday indicated the FanHouse report was not true. [58] There were also reports businessman Nelson Peltz wanted to buy the Islanders and move them to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. [59]

2011 proposal to replace arena

On July 12, 2010, Town Supervisor Kate Murray (R-Hempstead) announced an "alternate zone" for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum property that downsized the Lighthouse Project to half its proposed size and made the project, according to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the developers, "economically unviable for both the developer and owner of the site." As a result, Wang, Mangano and the developers decided they would no longer pursue the project. [60]

On May 11, 2011, the Islanders and Nassau County executives announced that county residents would vote on a referendum for approval of a $400 million public bond issue for a new plan to replace the Coliseum. The plan, including the construction of a new $350 million arena as well as a $50 million minor league baseball ballpark nearby, was presented by Wang as a last-ditch effort to keep the Islanders on Long Island. [61] However, voters in Nassau County rejected a proposal by a 57% to 43% margin on August 1, 2011.

On October 24, 2012, the Islanders announced the team would move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after their lease expired at the end of the 2014–2015 season. [62] The Islanders played their final game at the Coliseum on April 25, 2015, beating the Washington Capitals 3-1 in game 6 of the first round of the playoffs against the Washington Capitals forcing a Game 7, held in and won by Washington, ending the Isles' run at the Coliseum; in Game 6 Cal Clutterbuck of the Islanders scored the final NHL goal in the building, an empty netter at 19:07 of the third period. [32]


Not long after the Islanders announced their move to Brooklyn, Forest City Enterprises, the owner of Barclays Center, was chosen to perform a study on development possibilities for the Nassau Coliseum site. [63] A request for proposal was issued as a result of this study to transform the arena into a smaller sized venue and its surrounding parking lot into an entertainment hub with theaters, sports bars, and retail.

Four competing proposals were submitted in May 2013, [64] and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano selected two finalists in July 2013, including one from a group led by Forest City Ratner. Ratner's proposal called for a reduction of the Coliseum's capacity to 13,000 seats and a revamp of the arena's interior and concrete facade designed by SHoP Architects, the firm which designed the Barclays Center, which would cost the group approximately $89 million. As part of his bid, the Islanders would play 6 games per season in the arena, the Brooklyn Nets would play one exhibition game, and a minor league hockey team would call the arena home. [65] [66]

On August 15, 2013, Nassau County announced Forest City had won the bid for the renovation of the Nassau Coliseum and the surrounding property, pending approval from the Nassau legislature and zoning changes from the Hempstead town government. [67] [68] The Nassau County legislature unanimously approved the bid on September 24, 2013. [69]

Billy Joel performed the arena's final pre-renovation concert on August 4, 2015. [70]

On April 5, 2017, a Billy Joel concert was the arena's first post-renovation event. Other acts that performed during the new Coliseum's opening week include Stevie Nicks, The Pretenders, Idina Menzel, Lionel Richie, Mariah Carey, and Marc Anthony. [71]

On November 4, 2016, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment had reached a naming rights deal with New York Community Bank. The deal with the county mandates the inclusion of "Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum" in the arena's name. The cost of the naming rights and the agreement's length were not disclosed. [72]

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus performed their final show at Nassau Coliseum on May 21, 2017. [73]

The Islanders played a preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers on September 17, 2017, their first appearance at the renovated Coliseum. [74]

Belmont Park arena and Islanders temporary return

In late January 2017, Bloomberg News reported via internal sources that Barclays Center was considering dropping the Islanders due to poor attendance and their effects on the venue's profits. The venue has received a poor reception as a hockey arena due to poor sight lines and ice conditions, as Barclays was primarily designed as a basketball arena. Newsday reported that Nassau County executive Edward Mangano had met with Ledecky, and he told the paper the Islanders could return to the renovated Nassau Coliseum. [35] [36] These reports were further elaborated by Long Island Association president Kevin Law in April 2017, who stated that Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (who manages both venues) was preparing to offer a relocation plan to the team. Law felt that the alternate option of seeking a new arena in Belmont Park was redundant to the renovated Coliseum. [75] The Islanders played a preseason game at the renovated Coliseum on September 17, 2017. [76]

The renovation project reduced the capacity of the arena to 13,900, a level which was believed to be unsustainable for an NHL team; in comparison, the Islanders' average attendance at Barclays is 12,059, the lowest in the NHL (Barclays Center is the second-smallest arena in the NHL based on seating capacity at 15,795, which is around 400 seats fewer than the Coliseum pre-renovation). [77] [78] [76] As such, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman felt that returning wasn't a "viable option" for the Islanders, but noted that the team was "in the process of evaluating what makes the most sense for the franchise and particularly for their fans." [76]

In December 2017, New York Arena Partners (a venture of the Islanders, Oak View Group, and Sterling Equities) won a bid to construct a new, 18,000-seat arena and mixed-used district at Belmont Park, beating a competing proposal by New York City FC for a new soccer stadium. The new arena is projected to be completed in time for the 2021-22 season. [79] [80]

In January 2018, Islanders owner Jon Ledecky revealed on WFAN's Boomer and Gio that he had toured the renovated Coliseum with Bettman and other senior NHL officials. They assessed that the Islanders could play a limited schedule of home games at the Coliseum, but that it wouldn't be sustainable as a full-time venue because of its capacity and diminished amenities (such as few corporate suites) over other newly-built arenas. [81] On January 23, 2018, it was reported that Barclays Center was pushing for a short-term lease under which the Islanders would split their home games between Barclays Center and the Nassau Coliseum until the Belmont Park arena is completed, with the number of games at the Coliseum steadily increasing for each year of the arrangement. [78]

On June 21, 2018, it was announced that the Islanders would play a portion of their home schedule at the Coliseum until the completion of the new arena, with 12 games moved in the 2018-19 season. [82] The number of games during the 2018–19 season at the Coliseum was later increased to 20. [83]

The Islanders used the Coliseum as its home rink during the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, but moved back to the Barclays Center for the second round. [84]

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