At the renovated Nassau Coliseum, the hallway that runs from the floor seats to the backstage area may be the crossroads of the entire arena.
On one side are framed photos of legendary artists who have performed there in chronological order — from Three Dog Night in 1972 to Billy Joel in 2015, and everyone from U2 to The Who in between. The walls of the other side of the hallway are blank — ready, the arena’s management says, to be filled with new memories. A space has already been saved for a photo from Joel’s show on Wednesday, April 5, the start of the next chapter in the Coliseum’s history.
Both Nassau County leaders and the companies responsible for the arena’s $165 million renovation were eager to show off the new Coliseum Friday to the media and local dignitaries with tours of the wood-beamed and terrazzo-floored public spaces and the redesigned backstage areas, including that main hallway, which the public rarely gets to see.
Backstage was re-imagined with input from an advisory board that included Charlie Walk, president of Republic Records Group, and Scooter Braun, whose talent roster includes Justin Bieber. They recommended areas that make artists feel at home, leading to comfortable couches set in front of functioning fireplaces in the main dressing rooms and a dining area complete with induction cooktops and a soft-serve ice cream machine.
The sports side of the building is also ready for its new future.
The carpet bearing the logo of the Long Island Nets — the basketball Development League team that will call the Coliseum home — was so new visitors couldn’t walk on it, but the stylish new wood-paneled lockers players will get to use were on display. It’s all a far cry from the grungy quarters that visiting hockey teams used to complain about when they played the Islanders.
Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the company that now manages the Coliseum, says plenty of world class events are already planned, including a music superstar that he declined to name set for a concert this fall. Yes, there’s a place in the hallway saved for that artist, too.