It was October 2015 when Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum closed, with two years of renovations to come. As of April 5, 2017, the now-named NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum will once again open to the public — and there are some things you might not have known or will get a chance to see. Here are some views and tidbits of information about the local arena whose return is not just big news, but a moment in Long Island history.
Before Billy Joel
The announcement that rock icon and Long Island native Billy Joel would officially open NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 is common knowledge, but he'll not be the first act in the new Coliseum. During a media event on Friday, March 31, 2017, the Uniondale High School band and the school's show choir Rhythm of The Knight performed.
Eight seats, forever empty
NYCB LIVE, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, will honor those who have served the country with its name, but the new Coliseum will also pay tribute with eight seats that will remain unused at all times. Four are located on the east side of the venue, four on the west--and each seat is marked with a patch and a plaque as designation, like this one for the Air Force. The seven other seats will pay homage to the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as prisoners of war, those missing in action and the more than 500 Long Islanders who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
A rare view in the Nassau Coliseum
Not everyone gets a chance to sit or stand directly underneath the center ceiling scoreboard in the Coliseum, much less get very close to the massive multi-screen device. During a media event Friday, March 31, 2017, the high-definition LED scoreboard was lowered close to the floor. Here's a direct look at the bottom of the board, from about three feet away.
104 top to bottom
Getting front-row seats is not always easy to achieve, and if your seat is at the top, in the highest row, you'll need to climb 56 steps from the mezzanine-level entrance. However, should you happen to score the seats closest to the floor, you'll need to descend 48 steps.
A view from the top
It's a question asked about most concert venues and sports arenas: "How's the view from the nosebleed seats?' Instead of just trusting the opinions of friends, family and otherwise, here's the view from a seat in Section 204, in the top row.
About the shiny face-lift
The look of the new Coliseum is a radical departure from the venue's former stone walls, pillars and banners. It is now encircled by vertical fins of natural aluminum installed by the New York City-based SHoP architecture firm, which says there are 4,700 fins in total. The swooping and lined pattern is inspired by the look of Long Island's beaches (especially sand dunes and beach grass), and although the metallic aspect is nothing like the original Coliseum look, the pillars used to build the arena the first time remain in place, under the new aluminum grill.
The Tunnel IS there, but...
It's been a well-circulated urban rumor that a tunnel exists between the Coliseum and its neighbor, the Long Island Marriott hotel at 101 James Doolittle Blvd. in Uniondale. Its existence has always been debated, but a Coliseum representative has confirmed that it does exist, and was used to move performers staying at the hotel to and from the Coliseum. The representative was unable to confirm if it will once again serve as a passageway for performers, or if it will end up an underground relic.
The backstage section of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has been revamped to help make the moments for performers before and after shows comfortable. The quartet of suites, known as the Artists Quarters, feature plush furniture, TVs, fireplaces and dressing space. The largest of the four spaces even has a kitchen equipped with a soft serve ice cream machine.
A “high water” mark
According to Coliseum representatives, NBA regulations stipulate that an arena's locker room showers must be nine feet tall, due to the above-average height of the average National Basketball Association player. The new Coliseum meets this requirement, as well as placing the knobs four feet above the floor. Should an NBA franchise ever play in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the personal cleansing facilities are legally ready to go.
Imagine how many brushstrokes it took
Painting an arena such as the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is no easy feat. It took 10,000 gallons of paint to get the job done, according to a Coliseum news release. This photo is from Sept. 14, 2016, during construction.
The Islanders’ logo: a map to the Coliseum
The Islanders may no longer play at the Nassau Coliseum, but the venue's legacy remains connected to the hockey team's classic -- and current -- logo. When looking at the team's symbol, note where the letter "I" points: its top is directed toward Uniondale and the location of the Coliseum. The rendering of Long Island in the Islanders' emblem only includes Nassau and Suffolk counties, and although Brooklyn is geographically on LI, the logo was not updated to include the Barclays Center, where the Islanders currently play. (As it turns out, much of Montauk is also cut off the logo.)