The renovated Nassau Coliseum is catching heat about its new parking fees.
Attendees at Wednesday’s opening night Billy Joel concert were surprised to be charged $40 to park their vehicles.
An official for the company that runs the Coliseum and sets the parking fees says that price will only be charged at “premium” events, but concertgoers can expect fees of $30 for many shows, with lower prices for family and sporting events.
“When you pay $300 for a pair of tickets and then you are charged $40 to park your car, it’s criminal,” says Dale Pomeranz of Massapequa Park. “There’s no excuse. The last time, I paid $10 to park when I went to see Neil Diamond a few years ago. I don’t understand it.”
When he heard the parking price, Richie Day, 64, of Inwood, said he wanted to ask the parking attendant collecting the fees: “ ‘Does that include a drink?’ This is the first event. I guess we are the guinea pigs.”
Barry Rosen, a longtime Islanders season ticket holder who grew up in Roslyn, went to the Joel show but refused to pay the fee and sought alternative parking.
“Forty dollars is an outrageous amount to charge. I used to pay $15 when I went to an Islander game,” says Rosen, 63. “Dollars are tight. I don’t think people are going to be happy to pay those kind of prices.”
After hearing about the new fees, Tommy Gregoretti, 54, of Oceanside says he won’t attend events at the arena, now called NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“That’s absurd,” he says. “For me, it’s just not worth it, especially how hard I have to work for that money.”
The $40 rate is “premium events only, such as opening night and New Year’s Eve,” said Mandy Gutmann, senior communications director for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the Coliseum’s operator. Some patrons can get a discount by purchasing parking online in advance, which also allows entry into the lot via a designated lane. “There will always be 2,000 parking passes priced at $20 or less for every event available online,” Gutmann said.
That covers roughly a third of the available 5,800 spaces in the lot and also comes with a processing fee. For the rest, concerts such as Thursday’s Stevie Nicks show and Sunday’s Marc Anthony performance will carry $30 fees. Family entertainment — WWE wrestling, monster truck shows, the Harlem Globetrotters and the circus — will cost $15 for parking, while Long Island Nets basketball will charge $5.
The high parking fees are causing concern in some quarters. Legis. Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), who joined the Nassau County Legislature this year, called on County Executive Edward Mangano Thursday to renegotiate the lease to “better protect Nassau residents” from high parking fees. (The legislature unanimously approved Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner’s lease to redevelop the Coliseum in 2015.)
“This is unfair to Nassau taxpayers and is simply price gouging, in my opinion, at our residents’ expense,” Drucker said. “No resident should be priced out of enjoying the Coliseum by an inflated parking fee.”
Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) did not respond to a request for comment on the parking fees.
Brian Nevin, a spokesman for Mangano, said, “We are contacting the operator regarding concerns over the cost of parking.”
STANDARD PARKING FEES AT OTHER AREA VENUES
NYCB Theatre at Westbury: Free
Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
(formerly Nikon at Jones Beach Theater): Free
Yankee Stadium: $30-$40
MetLife Stadium: $30 (non-NFL events)